On Sunday night my friend Ed and I had our inaugural classic movie night. A while ago a friend was talking about how she'd watched Funny Face a few nights earlier and Ed and I both said we'd never seen it and then realised we'd both never seen most of the old classics and some of the modern classics (Pulp Fiction). We decided a regular classic movie evening was in order and Casablanca and Gone with the Wind were the first two classics we identified that we'd both never seen. So for his birthday I got Ed Casablanca and Pulp Fiction to get the ball rolling (I was going to get Gone with the Wind but it only came in some 5 disc deluxe collector's edition set and I thought that was a bit unnecessary!).
As I said, I haven't watched many old movies and the types of ones I have seen (and watched a million times) were musicals like The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz. I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's in high school and remember wondering what all the fuss was about (it's on my list to re-watch as I feel I might appreciate it more now). So Casablanca was my first real black and white, classic old movie, and I really liked it! Sure they talk quite fast and it was hard to catch up with what was going on for the first while, all those 'letters of transit' changing hands and trying to figure out where the war would have been up to when it was set and who was invading who and why the Germans were there being all hostile but not actually doing anything even though they'd invaded France and Morocco was a French teritory (I think..I'm still a bit confused!). Anyway, all those details didn't really matter because when it came down to it it was a love story and right until the end I didn't know who was going to get the girl.
While the lead female character, Ilsa, played by Ingrid Bergman, was pretty two dimensional and actually said things to leading man Rick, Humphrey Bogart, like, 'Oh, I don't know what's right any longer. You have to think for both of us. For all of us.' She was generally not too irritating and the soft lighting on her in every scene was pretty amusing. She also had some pretty good outfits. Although now that I think about it she did let Rick decide her fate for her which is pretty annoying, but I think you just have to get past worrying about the lack of female self-determination when you watch films like this or you'll just spend the whole time being angry. And I guess she was portrayed as pretty brave and moral and loyal which are all good qualities. Can you tell one of my majors was Gender and Women's Studies?
Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa
The piano player in Rick's bar was great and generally I just enjoyed the whole thing. I was surprised Humphrey Bogart wasn't more of a looker but I guess he was the strong, stoic type and that was the attraction at the time. My favourite quote was 'If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.' I pretty much loved the whole ending from when they arrive at the airstrip (which was apparently filmed using 'midget extras and a proportionate cardboard plane'...). It was fun listening out for the classic lines, like, 'Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine' and 'Here's lookin' at you, kid.' Interestingly, we listened out for 'Play it again, Sam' but never heard it and my research tells me it is a much misquoted line. There are actually a number of times when Ilsa and Rick tell Sam to 'play it' (it being the song 'As Time Goes By') but not with those exact words.
Overall - first classic movie night and Casablanca: a success.