Jacob Latimore, Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett star in director Kasi Lemmons' seasonal drama.
On Film4: 17 Dec 11:00AM
With nearly every line of its script engraved on the collective unconscious, and its central performances of Bogart and Bergman defining iconic cool, Casablanca is an exultant classic.
One of Hollywood's greatest acts of alchemy saw a classic romantic thriller created from unprepossessing raw materials: a modest play with a questionable grasp of historical facts, a director with a poor command of English, and a confused cast that was due, at one stage, to be headed by Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan. But it was the film that cemented Bogart's stardom with a role perfectly suited to his new sympathetic tough-guy persona.
Though avowedly a cynic, Rick is seen consistently to be a soft-hearted romantic. Having had his heart broken some years earlier, he has set himself up as a bar-owner in Casablanca, a stop-off point for fugitives from the Nazis during the Second World War. One day his old love Ilsa (Bergman), married to an important figure in the resistance movement (Henreid), comes to his bar...
With its romantic story, the songs performed by Wilson, the supporting cast, fantastic script, the singing of 'La Marseillaise', the climactic sequence at the airport and its perfect final line, Casablanca has entered the popular consciousness, becoming utterly familiar while remaining fresh and vital.
Rightly one of the most popular - if not the most popular - films of all time.
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