Fine Art Tuesday

I don’t watch movies as much as I once did. I think our cultural ADHD has something to do with that, as does a lack of time to devote to them. But, on the vacation to Pigeon Forge, I was persuaded by Old Friend to “sit the hell down and watch this movie.”

Casablanca was a 1942 movie set in the city of Casablanca, shortly after the fall of France in World War II. The cast includes some of Hollywood’s biggest names of the time-Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henried, Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet. The cast’s international character is notable, especially for the time, as on 3 of the actors were American-born. I think it’s particularly notable that many of the Nazis were played by German Jews who had escaped the Nazi tyranny. It’s notable that the movie was very topical for the time, and could be thought of as war propaganda.

American expat Rick owns a bar in the city, and runs “Rick’s American Bar”, which attracts a widely varied clientele. Dancing around the edges of the law and the Nazis, Rick, a man who claims neutrality but who is actually nursing his wounds from the pre-WWII wars in Ethiopia and Spain plus a failed love affair, finds himself drawn into the drama of an old girlfriend, the subject of the failed affair, and her husband, who is on the run from the Nazis.

Subtexts upon subtexts in this movie. In case you happen to be the one living human who hasn’t see the movie, I’ll stop here to avoid spoilers.

The movie won 10 Oscars and 9 nominations (yeah, it’s that good) and is a perennial choice in various “best movie” lists.

My favorite scene is when a group of Nazis are singing Die Wacht am Rhein and Lazlo, played by Henreid, storms into the room and demands the band strike up La Marseillaise. They purely don’t make them like that anymore.

I love a national anthem that warns the government not to go gittin’ uppity.

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