The city of Casablanca is one you would think as the perfect location for a romance to strike back up again. It’s a city surrounded by water, and by people, by beautiful architecture from the Greeks and Arabs of that time along with some of the most notably unique art in the world. It’s by far the most perfect location for a romantic film, but Casablanca introduced something greater to cinema; a concept that will forever be known as the “love triangle.”
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The Movie Review
Casablanca follows the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), an American living in Morocco in the beautiful city of Casablanca as he owns his very own night club there. This night club and gambling den is an attraction for many bad people, such as corrupt French and German officers, and refugees trying their hardest to get to the United States for safe asylum. Rick’s situation becomes confusing as his previous love Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) enters his life again, with her husband Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid).
The story takes a sour note here as she asks for Rick’s help in getting them to the United States; however, he refuses since she broke his heart. She then tells him that she still loved him, and that she had to leave because she had to save her husband from dying. This is where Rick forgives everything and decides to help Ilsa in any way that he possibly can.
Unlike other love triangles that came before, this movie featured one that had all three people involved without any of it being one-sided. Ilsa loved both Blaine and Laszlo; however, they both just wanted her. While the film does choose to focus on Blaine’s inner dilemma of choosing to help her old lover and her husband or being selfish and selling the transit papers for a lot of money. Ilsa’s dilemma on who she wishes to be with is a much harder pill to swallow, as Ingrid Bergman’s performance as the character blows my mind every single time.
Back in the 40s, you wouldn’t find performances such as this in many films. Most films used to have melodramatic performances, with characters acting either larger than life or completely in unrealistic manners. Casablanca’s portrayal of Ilsa was a selfish, yet loving and complicated one and that was just highly interesting for a viewer to watch. Blaine was more of a typical Hollywood hero though, and Henreid was a decent character by himself as well.
The real kicker in the film comes when you realize how affectionate Blaine really is towards Ilsa. This is at the very end of the film when he forces her to board the plane with Laszlo and head to Lisbon while he holds the police officer Renault (Claude Rains) back. Tears dripping down Ilsa’s face, you can tell the incredible talent that was Ingrid Bergman.
Michael Curtiz’s revolutionary take on a love story that defies the common structure which was essentially just; “meeting at first, falling in love, having complications and overcoming them” was incredibly well executed. The most interesting aspect of this film isn’t its old-timey feel, but its contemporary writing about letting love go when all you want to do is hold on. It is a film capable of changing perspectives for many people and will remain one of the best stories of unsorted love in history.