Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Casablanca – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

Casablanca is a film of so many good qualities it’s almost surreal, for every moment of coming back brings me to a good time in my youth. I first saw Casablanca on television at the age of ten and the image of Humphrey Bogart was one whom I had idolized ever since. Even today, it still remains one of my favourite films and after months of not seeing it, the smallest moments are still rooted in my own memory. Casablanca truly is a film of perfectionist qualities and on every revisit, it still maintains as much as a first viewing would warrant.

Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in one of cinema’s most iconic sequences in Casablanca.

There’s so much to put into words with how perfectly everything in Casablanca is put together, from the most major details to the storytelling to the direction and the performances even to the smallest parts like the lighting and the set pieces. The very joy to a film like Casablanca is that on every viewing, there is so much to pick apart about why it is all so utterly amazing. Sure, the words have all been said before, perhaps even better than what I would ramble about in its glory, but it still hasn’t lost a shed of its power.

What’s most powerful about Casablanca is the essential feeling of going all the way down to the very bare bones of the script, so beautifully worded by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch. A script so perfect in its structure and its delivery is something so rare, but Casablanca displays what it all can be like especially when some of the finest talents come in as a means of backing everything up. Michael Curtiz lets every small bit of the finest parts of Casablanca‘s script shine on the screen in this beautiful vision and the result is something out of the ordinary, it still bites today as it did the day of its release.

The devastation that fills up the tragedy presented in Casablanca is some of the most intelligent ever crafted by Hollywood in its golden era, it is never overly glorified melodrama, but genuinely affecting. We have a tale of romance that is interrupted amidst the conflict of the war, but where Curtiz benefits is in how he shrouds the audience with the scenario and places them under the perspectives of his leads. Storytelling truly at some of the finest that film can ever offer.

If I were to write on the performances, an entire book can be formed describing the beauty to the emotion that is placed in them. Whether it be from Humphrey Bogart or Ingrid Bergman, the pairing of the two makes for a great pair of some of the most effortlessly powerful duos in all of cinematic history. Their performances are filled to the core with raw beauty inside of their emotion, from Rick Blaine’s devastation at Ilsa Lund’s arrival inside his bar, all the way down to the very last moments.

A definitive response as a means of describing the visual outlook to Casablanca is also something that cannot be perfectly captured through words. It is beautifully designed in terms of the set pieces. The cinematography is simply to die for. Every last frame is lit amazingly. Every last frame on a visual standpoint offers nothing else but sheer perfection from beginning to end, for words simply cannot describe to the bare bones the very beauty of everything to be witnessed in Casablanca.

Even a little after 70 years since its original release, Casablanca still retains the impact and power that it had in its day. It truly is a perfect film in every regard, on an emotional level, on a technical level, in just about every aspect you can put your finger on. Even months having gone without a single viewing of Casablanca my extremely fond memory of it only assures how much I love it, and when I experience it once more, it always takes me back. I feel like my younger self once again, for even then, I still retain the love for Casablanca that I have expressed in my youth. This is pure undiluted emotion in the golden era of Hollywood. There’s so much to be said that others may have said already. Yet I continue to ramble because my feelings for it let me. I can’t help it at all.


Watch the trailer right here.

All images via Warner Bros.


Directed by Michael Curtiz
Screenplay by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch
Produced by Hal B. Wallis
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Heinreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre
Release Year: 1942
Running Time: 102 minutes

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Author:

Jaime Rebanal writes film reviews regularly for Letterboxd and is also the founder of Jaime Rebanal's Film Thoughts, a blog dedicated to discussing the good and bad for the many films he views. He has written consistently for at least a year and continues to allow his content to roam free across the web, and is always open to discuss with fellow film fans.

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