10 Things I Hate About Casablanca

Casablanca1Okay, please let me get in a few words first. Starting from the age of 12 or so–between afternoon and late late TV broadcasts, a few screenings in repertoire cinemas (Remember rep theaters? That’s where college students and urban intelligentsia would flock to watch King of Hearts, Harold and Maude, and Reefer Madness before home video essentially drove them out of business) , VHS and DVD viewings, and its once-a-month-or-so appearances on TCM–I estimate that I have seen Casablanca at least 150 times. I love the movie, it’s one of my top three all-time favorites (Marty and the 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame, thanks for asking), and Casablanca roundly deserves its three Academy Awards, its generations of fans, and the praise it’s been given since its November 1942 premiere.

That being said, it’s not a perfect movie. No work of art, however moving or skillfully executed, is without flaws (For example, did you ever notice that the Venus de Milo’s arms are missing?). And while “hate” may be an exaggeration, there are certain aspects to Casablanca–some very minor–that may puzzle, irk or even annoy me, but that I’ve learned to put up with over the years. They are (MULTIPLE SPOILER ALERTS!), in ascending order of “irksomeness”:

10. How come when Rick is standing on that rainy Paris railway platform reading the goodbye letter from Ilsa, his hat and trenchcoat are soaking wet, but the minute he climbs onto the train car steps with Sam, he’s perfectly dry (See, I told you some were very minor)?

9. In a similar vein, when Ilsa and Victor are in the Blue Parrot cafe asking Ferrari about black market visas, why does she say that she’ll miss Ferrari’s coffee when they leave Casablanca? She’d been outside talking to Rick, and never so much as picks up a demitasse!

8. The last time I checked, the city of Casablanca was on the Atlantic coast of northern Morocco. That would seem to imply that the town would have a large Arab and African population. Granted, the onset of World War II led to an influx of European refugees, but why in the whole movie does the number of Arabs with speaking roles apparently amount to three: a pair of street vendors and Abdul, the doorman at Rick’s Cafe Americain?

7. Speaking of missing characters, it seems a little odd that there seemingly were no Jewish refugees in Casablanca trying to flee German persecution. This is particularly ironic since more than a few of the film’s players (Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, S.Z. Sakall, and Curt Bois, among others) had themselves left Europe following Hitler’s rise to power, and several witnessed the Nazis’ hate campaigns firsthand .

Casablanca26. Even for a movie made in the early ’40s, it does grate a little on the nerves to hear Ilsa, on her and Victor’s first visit to Rick’s, refer to Sam as “the boy who is playing the piano.”  He’s at least 10 years her senior, and I don’t think they talked that way in Sweden.

5. And speaking of poor, loyal Sam: After helping his buddy “Mr. Rick” hightail it out of Paris ahead of the Nazis, sticking with him in the middle of French Morocco for at least a year or two, and being his devoted friend all that time, how does Rick repay him? By selling the club where he works to Ferrari and expecting Sam to stay put and pound the ivories, without so much as a “Thank you”!

4. The Spanish-singing female guitar player in Rick’s. I’ve looked up Corinna Mura, and apparently she was popular enough at the time to have her own radio program, perform three times for F.D.R., and appear on Broadway and in several movies (joining Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Lorre, and director Michael Curtiz in Casablanca’s 1944 pseudo-revamping, Passage to Marseille). That doesn’t mean I don’t find her song in this movie a drag, however.

3. The whole “Play it again, Sam” controversy, where savvy movie buffs trip up neophytes by asking what film the line comes from and then telling them it’s never said in Casablanca. Guess what, know-it-alls? It’s there, but you just don’t hear it. When Ilsa and Victor arrive at the Cafe Americain a second time and Rick tells her he’ll have Sam play “As Time Goes By,” Rick whispers something into Sam’s ear just before he starts…well, playing it again. That’s my theory, anyway.

2. Let’s put our cards on the table: Victor Lazlo is a pretty bland third member of what many call the quintessential movie love triangle. This generally is par for the course in the romance genre (look at Leslie Howard in Gone with the Wind, Andrew McCarthy in Pretty in Pink, or nearly every ’30s/’40s Ralph Bellamy character), but Paul Henreid really underplays the part here. And what’s the main thing this supposedly charismatic leader does to impress Ilsa? He leads a bunch of drunken nightclub patrons in a sing-along competition. I’ve seen half-buzzed guys in Philly bars do the same thing with a karoake machine of Supertramp tunes!

1. Finally, there is the movie’s MacGuffin, the travelling papers that everyone wants. You know, “Letters of transit,” “Cannot be rescinded, not even questioned.” There’s a debate between devotees of Casablanca as to who Ugarte says the letters are signed by, Vichy France’s national defense minister Gen. Maxime Weygand (whose authority, quite frankly, the Germans could have very easily overlooked) or Free French leader Gen. Charles DeGaulle (whose signature carried even less weight with the Third Reich). Frankly, I’ve heard Peter Lorre say the line at least 150 times and I can’t tell, but it is clear that those all-purpose papers were really just a gimmick to tie everything together.

That it did tie everything together, and that–after nearly seven decades–the movie works as well as it does and brings in new fans every year, is a tribute to the cast and crew…in spite of my petty squabbles. After all, as Rick says, “Everyone in Casablanca has problems, yours may work out.”

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  • RDinB&W

    Like you, I enjoy the movie even given its flaws. The “boy” comment, raincoat, and Corinna Mura all were irksome moments for me.

    Regarding the Letters of Transit… according to the script found at http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/Casablanca.pdf
    Ugarte’s line is: “…Letters of transit signed by General de Gaulle…”

    “See you at the movies.”

    RD-B&W

    • Bruce Reber

      Re: the letters of transit, you left out “they can’t be rescinded, not even questioned”!

  • charlie

    you’re the kind of “critic” who should keep his stupid, trivial comments to himself. if you must find fault with the small details, why did you omit an obvious one where, after Rick shoots the Nazi officer at the airport, the police arrive almost before he hits the ground, and Louie still has to tell them “round up the usual suspects” when Rick probably still has the smoking gun in his hand.

  • Steven Wells

    I have no quibble with any of your “petty squabbles;” they’re all valid enough (although I rather like Corinna Mura).

    I don’t particularly mind the “letters of transit” MacGuffin, in and of itself (for the record, I’m in the Weygand camp), but their ultimate pointlessness is exposed by the fact that, after all the hoo-ha about them – including Renault’s signature to make them “even more official” – they’re never given or shown to anyone else in authority before Ilsa and Victor waltz onto the plane.

  • russell

    IF YOU ARE GOING TO PICK THE MOVIE APART, DON’T WATCH IT. IT IS SIMPLE SA THAT.
    THOSE WERE REAL ACTORS.

  • Dave Manning

    You were right. Some of them are minor and don’t even deserve mention. The reference to Sam as “the boy” proably reflects the era in which the film was made. The audacity to call a grown man who is older a boy was commonplace in the 40s. I heard it many times growing up and akways felt it offensive. The rest of your comments are humbug. DM

  • The Colonel

    It’s my favorite movie, no doubt about it. My biggest irritation is your #2 – Paul Henreid simply does not come across as a charismatic leader. As to your #7, no Jewish refugees, I always took the Brandel couple (the girl who contemplates trading sex with Renault for the exits visas) to be Jewish refugees. But these qibbles don’t amount to a hill of beans…….

  • Old Stahsh

    “you’re the kind of “critic” who should keep his stupid, trivial comments to himself” I thought that was very rude of you. This is America and we are entitled to our own opinions. Men have died in order to have freedom of speech. There are billions of people on this earth and each mind is a universe unto itself. If yours is rudeness, I guess that is your universe.

  • Max Hare

    Hey everybody. The man says he loves the movie and it appears to me that he genuinely does because (a) like me, he’s seen it approximately 150 times and the only reason you watch a movie 150 times is if you are psychotic…or you LOVE it and (b) any movie lover worth his/her salt loves to point out the gaffes that somehow enhance rather than detract from the object of their affection. . . . As for the notion that Sam, Ilsa and Victor are the quintessential movie love triangle – to that I say, mais non! They take second place. The title belongs to Tracy Lord, CK Dexter Haven and Macaulay Connor (from a little bit of perfection that, regrettably, also shares a brief, cringe-worthy racial comment).

    • Bruce Reber

      If you want to hear a truly racist line in a movie check out Bette Davis’ “the darkies are singing!” in “Jezebel” (WB 1938). I think the epithet “darkies” can also be heard in the Marx Brothers’ “A Day At The Races” (MGM 1937), from Groucho no less!

  • CPC

    Charlie, I think you are missing the point. Louie tells his officers to round up the “usual” suspects because a murder has been committed and the police need to round up the usual suspects if someone is murdered in Casablanca. He basicly telling Rick he is not going to arrest him for the murder.

  • Derek Owen

    With a regular viewing that’s reached or passed 150 times, a few quibbles in conversation are as nothing. Everybody who watches ‘North by Northwest’ enjoys seeing Cary Grant’s wine glass move about of its’ own free will. It adds to the fun. So do the inconsistencies in ‘Casablanca’. Just don’t ask what Rick and Ilsa were doing in his office that night.

  • Richard

    Picky, Picky, Picky!!! Only #5 would take some serious thought in a discussion of the film. Claude Rains was out of his mind in this film!! Seen a lot more questionable stuff in films made today. I’ll take “Casablanca” over “Citizen Kane” or “Gone With The wind” anyday.

  • Sam Fletcher

    I enjoy the playfulness of your “pickyness” and am surprised some folks tried to flame you.

    As for the Jewish population,yes, the Brandel couple could be. (The Nazis may know what a Jew “looks like,” but it’s hard for me to pick them out from anyone else.)

    However, character actor “Cuddles” playing Rick’s head waiter and the “what watch” middle-aged refugee couple he talks with seem to me to have a Yiddish background.

    For that matter, Boris the love-sick bartender could be a Russian Jew. So could the short pickpocket–hey, Meyer Lanski was a Jew and gangster: the two are not mutually exclusive. Some of the Free French underground who connect with Victor Lazlo (who might be Jewish himself)–after all, not all Jews went to the death camps without fighting back. Since Jews look like any number of other people, the place could be packed with Jews and I’d never spot them.

    I think you do Rick an injustice about selling his gin joint out from under Sam. He tells Ferrari Sam gets a certain cut of the weekly receipts and wants that to continue as a condition of the sale. Ferrari replies he knows Sam actually gets a smaller percentage, but agrees to the increase, which is enough so that Sam is left hanging.

    As for racism, it’s hard to get too upset with Ilsa calling referring to Sam as boy when Sam himself sings a racially stereotype song, Shine (Just because my hair is curly / And just because my teeth are pearly /. . . they call me Shine). That same song was performed in full in Cabin in the Sky which had an all-black cast.

    Want to see some blatant racism, check out films like Judge Priest and some of the exchanges between Will Rogers and Stepen Fetchit. Or even a film as recent as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, when James Stewart gives a handout to the old black man and passes it off as “pork chop money.”

    • Samantha

      It’s funny you would mention Sam singing a racially charged song. Do you believe he chose to sing that song? Do you believe the all black cast also had a choice in the song they sang? One thing I hate is for someone who clearly does not understand the African American struggle to be sarcastic and try to write it off as if the actors had a choice. The actors were still segregated.

  • Lois

    Wow, picky is right. I happen to think Paul Henreid and Leslie Howard are very sexy!

  • Scott Gavin

    Okay, the only things I hate about Casablanca are the fake airplane sequences (you mean to tell me they couldn’t find or film some actual footage of airplanes taking off and landing) and the whole “When Time Goes By” song. I am as white as driven snow but the whole “My hair is curling… my teeth are purling” bit makes me cringe. As to the Play it Again, Sam controversy, maybe Rick doesn’t say those words exactly, but doesn’t he say something along the lines of “You know what I want to hear. You played it for her, you can play it for me”? It’s sort of like the E.G. Robinson “You Dirty Rat” or the actress who never really said “I vant to be alone”. The source of these misquotes is probably the myriad Bugs Bunny cartoons where these various actors and actresses were lampooned.
    Boy that scene from Liberty Valance make me cringe, too, because Stewart says “Poke Chop Money” not even dignifying the statement by saying “Pork”. Erk. Those were different times, but Hollywood still hasn’t purged itself of racism. I had “A Few Good Men” on laserdisc, which had a triple fold-out cover with lots of photos including quite a few shots of the idiot poor white trash co-defendant, who only had three or four lines in the movie, but not one single photo of the main defendant, around whom the whole drama revolved. The only reason I could see for leaving him off was that he was a black man. Like I said, I am white, and grew up an era where Little Black Sambo was socially acceptable, so if they things annoy me, I can’t imagine how minorities might feel about them.

  • Sufferincats

    Don’t always look for racism when someone was called “Boy” before the 1950’s. Boy was used often for whites as well as blacks for someone in a non professional job, like a bell boy, a paper boy, our boys in uniform, or the boy who played the piano. Back in the day most whites and blacks had a reasonable relationship, at least in the North. Words are different now. Just think about being “Gay”.

  • D

    I enjoyed your comments but I was surprised that most of the people who responded were men, I thought it would be the ladies who would be annoyed. Number 6 made me laugh the first time I heard it. I have to look out for number 10, I remember that part but never really paid attention to it. Thanks

  • Brian Workman

    The Movie Casa Blanka could use another thirty minutes more. Show the couriers getting rubbed out by Peter Lorre and give Peter Lori more screen time. There is a need of more shots of the Nazis’ runnin around town,being a pain in the a–.
    Rick needs more aggressive action on sluging it out with the bad guys on film. Love the Movie.

  • Gene Nick

    All In all, it’s a movie! Not a documentary.
    You paid your money, you bought the dream!

  • I_Fortuna

    As for Scott’s comment regarding “A Few Good Men”, the young man you speak of was Wolfgang Bodison a film location scout at the tiem of the filming of “A Few Good Men” not an “actor” per se. I doubt he even had a SAG card at the time.
    His performance, which I found outstanding for a “non-actor” speaks for itself.
    Reiner approached him for a screen test for the role of Harold Dawson to the credit of the film. His performance outshines Tom Cruise in my book.
    Since, Wolfgang has appeared in many TV roles and is currently working on three film projects. As Reiner gave him his first break as an actor, I think we can forgive the studio producers for not putting his photo along with some of the other cast members like James Marshall who had many acting credits to his name long before Wolfgang was heard of or seen.
    I doubt it was an intention racist move as you would suggest. If so, Wolfgang seems to have overcome all adversity to the tune of a decent acting career.

  • I_Fortuna

    As for Casablanca, the only thing I did not like was the break up at the end, made me cry. All else is insignificant. And, I hope we have evolved past the use of the word “boy” in referrence to anyone who has grown to manhood.
    Where I live whites call each other “boy” all the time. It is for some a term of endearment and for others a pejorative. Eyes of the beholder.

  • MJ

    If you don’t like the older and much better movies than what is out ther today don’t watch them. I love Casablanca, and all of Bogie’s movies, also GWTW, Bettie Davis movies, and all the othern Warner Brothers movies, not to mention MGM & Paramount. The closest I have seen lately to a really good movie has beeb Nights in Rodanthe. Of course there are others out there but I just hate to read about someone trashing Casablanca

  • John Wayne Peel

    I have no problem with the author’s picky points, but the guy who credited the “You dirty rat” line to Edward G. Robinson should know that was James Cagney who probably DID say that line at least once and it was Greta Garbo who DID say “I want to be alone (in the movie “Grand Hotel”) And didn;t the great Otis Redding sing the lyrics, “six feet one weighing two hundred and ten. Long hair and pretty fair skin…” in the R&B classic “Love Man” ANd he was easily as dark as Dooley Wilson. Heck, lily white, born to privilege Joan Baez sang about being a rebel soldier in “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”

  • Mike Hipius

    Hey, I always thought Claude Rains gave the movie the extra juice it needed and never seems to get mentioned.

  • Butch Knouse

    What I hate is that I found out how it ends long before I ever had a chance to see it. The same goes for Gone With the Wind. They’re both classics, but I’ve never bother watching either one.

  • Michael Witt

    Part of the fun of being a movie buff is pointing out trivial things that don’t matter;it keeps a discussion going. Anyway, I don’t particularly like “Casablanca” even though I like the actors a lot. “The African Queen”: now there’s a movie to pick apart;it is just awful!

  • Sam Fletcher

    Sufferincats said: “Don’t always look for racism when someone was called ‘Boy’ before the 1950’s. . . . Back in the day most whites and blacks had a reasonable relationship, at least in the North.”

    I was born in 1943 in the segregated South and can testify that when a White person said “Boy,” there was no doubt who he was addressing. Race relations were likely reasonable then for southern whites, but it couldn’t have been so hot for southern blacks who had separate but seldom equal drinking fountains, public toilets, could not sit with whites a public lunch counter and in many cases could not even enter the building to buy food that was often prepared by black cooks. The term “boy” and what that word represented was such a fixture in black and white relations through the 1940s and into the 1960s that it showed up frequently in films and songs, like “Pardon me, boy / Is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo? / Yes yes track 29 / Boy, you can give me a shine . . . /”

    Back in the 1940s-1950s when trains were a major mode of travel before the US took to the air, the luggage handlers, shoeshiners and porters both in the station and on board trains were almost uniformally black and often called boy–or worse.

  • NormSneadFan1

    In defense of Mr. Cahall, I happen to remember him from the “Millionaire” game show hosted by Rebus Philbin and seem to remember he was sporting some very attractive glasses. As for Casablanca, I intend to see it real soon. But, as for the glasses, LEAVE THEM OUT OF IT!! They do him a world of good! Here’s looking at you, Gary.

  • Michael G. Novak

    I have also seen the movie countless times and love it. But I did enjoy your nit-picking observations and the very interesting tidbit about Corinna Mura. My favorite secondary character was Madeleine LeBeau (“Yvonne”), the tipsy, French, ex-girlfriend of Ricks. I thought she was much sexier than Ingrid Bergman. And my favorite line from the movie is when Lorre says to Rick, “You despise me, Rick, don’t you.” And Bogart, without raising his eyes from the solitaire chess game, replies, “I probably would if I gave you any thought.” The perfect squelch. Thanks for the memories.

  • andy g

    I hope this guy isn’t married, my wife hates watching a movie with me because I do the same thing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1442173139 Debra Starling

    I am an AVID pre-1950’s viewer!! I enjoyed your “observations” of CASABLANCA! I will make sure to watch for #10 the next time!I can tell you love the movie.The first person shouldn’t have called you stupid. Like Old Stahsh said, this is America,you have a right to your opinion.(at least for now you can voice it-dont know about the future). This very movie was made during the time our men/women were fighting for our freedom. You say not women…well, there were DEFINITELY women in the military. Take Martha Raye for example…She was a colonel that worked in the army air corps, even into the Vietnam war. I’m glad that people still love the old movies & care enough about them to discuss them with others. There are other movies that we could discuss the little oddities in but that’s another day. I hope that these old movies are continued to be shown because if you think about it, you really don’t have to worry about letting your kids watch them, the movies are WONDERFUL, & just because I LOVE THEM!!

  • John George

    I just finished watching the DVD version of Casablanca last night (only my third time, not 150) but Peter Lorre definitely says the letters of transit were signed by DeGaulle.

  • DIRK

    YOU MISSED THE MOST GLARING OF MISTAKES — When Louis and Rick are talking just outside the Club and he asks Rick “why did you come to Casablanca?” and Rick answers “I came for the waters”, Louis replies “Casablanca is in the middle of the desert” — Rick answers “I was misinformed!” If Casablance is on the Coast, he could’ve come for the waters!!!

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  • MaggieTheCat

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned the greatest mis-quote in the history of film which is Cary Grant being creadited with saying “Judy, Judy, Judy”. I get the Cary mis-quote on a daily basis since my name happens to be Judy. And, I have a “Classic” Movie Library and Film #1 is Casablanca. It’s the quirkiness of the cast and how the movie (writer/director issues) was made and yes it’s little mistakes/mishaps/and rubs that make the movie so popular so it “rubs” me a little when I read a title like “10 Things I Hate About Casablanca” and I just have to respond…

  • Steven Wells

    Following up on RDinB&W’s comment –

    The script you reference does carry a disclaimer that it’s been cobbled together from various sources, as no original shooting script seems to exist. I’m not sure how reliable it is, as, for example, it has the name of the play upon which it’s based (“Everyone Comes To Rick’s”) wrong.

    Most people do understand Ugarte to say “deGaulle,” and indeed, that’s what the English subtitles on the DVD say. But I think it’s worth noting that the French subtitles have him saying, “Weygand.” It can be assumed that French viewers would be more familiar with Maxime Weygand than American ones. Anyway, “Weygand” makes sense in historical context, whereas “deGaulle” does not.

    I’m always hesitant to add this last bit, as I have no way to document it, but 35 or so years ago, I was at an audience Q&A with Julius Epstein, who told in response to the question that Ugarte says, “Weygand.” Of that, I have nothing to offer but my personal assurance, so anyone’s free to take it or leave it.

  • jmarm

    Not “picky picky” but using powers of observation.l I recall watching a movie with the character Helen of Troy; her beautiful bare arm sporting a vaccination mark.

  • http://www.facebook.com/czane1 Carla Zane

    I have few gripes about Casablanca, which I have seen about 15 times since my mother first told me I should watch it as a child. It’s one of the finest films of its era and no critic x is going to change my taste in movies, which is catholic. Dragon Sword is one of the series that was made into a movie, and since there is no place here that I can find a commentary on it, I’m using this one. James Purefoy (Marc Antony in “Rome” on HBO that ended short)the late Patrick Swayze, and Piper Perabo, as well as Joan Plowright made this moderately good movie that is certainly worth a look and taught me something interesting; the English and the Americans have collaborated on something other than hideous killing of mostly innocent civilians–we have collaborated on movies and television and we gain quality that way. Most English actors are Shakespearean-trained, although some were snatched by the Globe Theatre straight out of college because they did not need training–those are actors worth watching. Always.

  • Hockeyguy 08

    I too have seen Casablana more times than I can remeber and don’t care one bit about any minor flaws. It does not have to be perfect to be great. It is on my top ten list and probably in the top 3. I enjoy seeing it as well as Maltese Falcon in a short period of time to get a sense of the skill of Humphrey Bogart as an actor.
    This was an era of movies that today cannot touch. They made a lot of stiffs but the best are the BEST in any era.

  • BRIAN

    Theres a second version where Ilsa returns to Rick instead of going away with Victor.
    If it still exists is anybodys guess.

    • Uncle Bungo

      Yeah, but they taped over that version when they were faking the moon landing.  (P.S. There was no such version.)

  • Diane

    Casablanca is the movie I watch every night at bedtime and sometimes fall asleep before it ends. I have noticed all of the things you hate and many more. It’s because of the flaws that I love the movie so much. The movie is not perfect just as we are not perfect in our relationships. The movie works for so many because the love story is so believable. It’s a GREAT movie!!

  • BRIAN

    George Raft was the first pick to play Rick.
    Ronald Reagan(Rick)
    Ann Sheridan(Ilsa)
    Dennis Morgan(Victor)
    Im not making this up.Im glad they got their heads on right at Warner Brothers.If they used the cast listed above that would have been worse than Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes.

  • BRIAN

    Its a shame they cut Sams(Dooley Wilson)song,Thats What Noah Done.It does show up on the Soundtrack CD.

  • BRIAN

    A cut scene from Casablanca.
    Rick tells Renault he will make plans with Victor in the prison cell.Cut scene,we see Rick and Victor agreeing on a price for the letters.
    After that Victor and Illsa meets Rick at the club and senseless talking about money and a deal.

  • Mohan

    The Native American weavers have a tradition of putting a small flaw in every one of their blankets to add personality. I have seen Casablanca more times than I can count, too, and have noticed these and other flaws. But, like the blankets, I find that they further the personality of the film.

  • BRIAN

    TV Series Warner Brothers Presents Who Holds Tomorrow(Episode)
    A Cold War Version of Casablanca.Charles McGraw(The Killers,Narrow Margin,T Men,etc)is Rick.

  • BRIAN

    Did you know Conrad Veidt was the Highest Paid Actor in Casablanca?

  • BRIAN

    Conrad Veidt had one last film after Casablanca.Above Suspicion(1943)He later died that year.
    Its too bad he passed away not knowing he made a timeless classic with Casablanca.

  • bill miller

    Get A grip–it’s a movie for god’s sake–one of the most enjoyable movies ever–a lot of fun to watch…to many opimions from to many MORONS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Chazz

    Yes,yes,yes…………………there are flaws in Casablanca.And what is wrong with that? Life itself is imperfect.
    Accept this movie as what it really is. A show case for great actors giving great performances.
    A great story with a great screenplay by the Epstein brothers. Classical lines which have been mentioned earlier…………..also Rick uttering,”Are my eyes really blue or blue?” Renault exclaiming, “I am shocked”( at the gambling as he is about to receive his winnings}……..Conrad Veidt saying to Claude Rains……….”I expected no less” when Renault tells him they will have the murderer of the courriers picked up.
    This movie is a classic!!!!!

  • John

    Talk about water, when did you not see a movie when the star comes out of the water and two seconds later his barely damp,could it be the prop man is waiting for him with a towel and a change of almost dry clothes? It happens all the time. I love old movies but sometimes they could be more realistic. A glaring flub in Hang ‘em High” Clint Eastwood is beaten to a bloody pulp and put in the paddy wagon. Not long after he comes out looking he had a facial and a two week vacation on the Riveria.There must have been something in that paddy wagon.

  • Womens Nike Air Max 2009

    You were right

  • Susan Bernard

    There is ONE perfect movie (to me, at least) and that would be “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
    I can find no flaw with that movie- the casting, screenplay, music, direction and everything are perfect and it’s the BEST adaptation ever. (Despite the improvised line from Horton Foote about a compromise being “bending the law.”)

  • Chris Argianas

    For us who live through WW11,been in love Casablana is a great movie. All of those negative comments “don’t amount to a hill of beans”. Remember the one thing happens every minute of our lives is “As Time Goes By” has memories.

  • CHUCK

    As a child, Rick was my hero. Different from Gable and Flynn.Casablanca( I’ve seen this over 200 times), The Maltese Falcon(200+), To Have and Have Not(200+) are classics….plus a few more of Bogart’s.
    Hollywood did make some stinkers in the 30’s and 40’s because the public demand for escapism was great.But, as a previous writer noted the great movies they made were great in any era.
    There will always be imperfections. What’s the big deal?

  • verona

    i just ran thru all the comments and I also go to bed with it on. I however always look for the brooch that Ingred Bergman wears the first time she enters Ricks. I love that piece and can’t figure out what it is. I think its a tree but other times I think not Oh well I love this movie.
    Verona

    • Mike

      I’ve wondered what it is, too. I just saw it being worn by an actress (not Bette Davis) in “Now, Voyager.” Must be a piece of jewelry that comes out of the studio’s prop department. It looks to me like some kind of bird – a puffed up ibis or something. Almost looks like it has an ostrich body…

  • Tlynette

    “Part of the fun of being a movie buff is pointing out trivial things that don’t matter;it keeps a discussion going.”

    “I have also seen the movie countless times and love it. But I did enjoy your nit-picking observations…”

    I like these quotes! I definitely agree with the Paul Henreid comments. I mean, really, if he was supposed to be the all-that-BMOC of his resistance movement, why would the band–probably guys who supported his cause (because, of course, he’s all that!) –have to get permission from Rick to play the “Marseillaise” when he ordered them to? I mean, who is Rick compared to the legendary Lazlo?!

    I always have what I call “accent issues” with movies that are set in a specific place, and the native characters never seem to be able to at least speak their native tongue like a native–they always speak PERFECT English. It’s okay, I guess, but, geez!

    • Shadow

      !to quote the ‘crazy Russian': “Yvonne I love you, but he pays me.”

  • Grammy

    “Casablanca” was, is and always will be my favorite movie. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the movie, I wasn’t counting, and I still cry at the end. Before the end, my son always says “Well, she goes again.” I don’t care about the flaws, I just plain love the movie.!!! But, then, I love a lot of those old movies — they suare don’t make them like they used to!!!!

  • Marjorie

    OK, while I will grant you the movie has flaws like any other, I would like to rebut two of your issues.

    Just because they cast Louis Armstrong as Sam does not mean that Sam was supposed to be older and that the writer that had Ilsa refer to him as “the boy that’s playing the piano” meant it to be belittling. Casting Louis Armstrong was gravy – it might just as well have been some younger musician popular enough to draw attention.

    Whoever Sam was intended to be, it was Rick that was the secret idealist and champion of the helpless (fighting on the losing side every time, even if he was well paid) and it is more likely that he took Sam with him rather than leave him behind to fend for himself. At the very least he would have been the one with the connections.

    2. The MacGuffin – would you prefer the special contact lenses that get you through the check point in Barb Wire (which is the same movie with the genders reversed)?

    • Shadow

      Louis Armstrong? Sorry, Dooley Wilson played Sam. And since casting myths were mentioned, I’ve heard that both Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne were considered for the Sam role but were eliminated for fear of adding an interracial romance bugaboo to the story line! Now that would have given you something to argue about! :-)

  • John

    One by one:
    10. This is a continuity criticism that could be made about practically every film ever made with a rain or snow scene. How about the hundreds of movies where people come in from the snow only to have the flakes on their clothes never melt indoors?
    9.Who says this is their first visit to the Blue Parrot. It’s only the first time they have spoken to the owner.
    8. Oh please, this one is too ridiculous to deserve comment.
    7. The couple who have a brandy with S.Z. Sakall (What watch? Such watch?) are clearly meant to be Jewish.
    6. Ok, sign of the times, sad, but there it is.
    5. Hmmm, getting him a 150% pay raise (I happen to know he only gets 10%, but he’s worth 25) is not a bad going away present. Besides, you seem to think that the only things that happen in movies take place while the camera is running. Do you suppose Rick didn’t make other stops that day to clean up his affairs before leaving town, including talk to Sam? Of course all those scenes of him paying off his dry cleaning bill, etc. might have made for a pretty long film.
    4. A matter of taste (poor in your case). Mura has a wonderful throbbing voice and adds a tender and nostalgic moment, showing the effects of the war on so many different countries and cultures.
    3. Yikes, Play it again, Sam comes from the Woody Allen movie of the same name, blame him.
    2. The Marseillaise scene is one of the best in the movie, never fails to bring a tear to the eye, and the way Steiner weaves it into the Watch on the Rhine harmonically is a marvel.
    1. As Hitchcock says, the McGuffin is the thing the spies want and we don’t care. It is a plot device to move the action forward, and in this case a pretty damn good one. If Hitchcock doesn’t care, who are we, or you, to argue?
    This is the best Hollywood movie ever made, still just as timely and un-dated today as when it was made. Go pick nits on some other movie!

  • Camilla Bochkoros

    I have to reply to jmarm. I remember that too, and I thought it was rather remiss on the part of the director or make-up or whomever is in charge of something like that not to be aware that a vaccination mark was showing on a person when they did not even have vaccinations!

  • ironhand41

    Am I the only one to notice that Bogie miscalls the German Army 88 mm cannon a “77” when he describes fleeing Paris?

    • http://www.facebook.com/john.d.stewart1 John David Stewart

      Nope, I noticed that immediately. 57’s, 75’s,88’s, no 77’s

  • Gloee Valens

    I truly believe that Mr.Cahall was playing Devil’s Advocate in his commentary. I too have probably seen Casablanca probably 150 times or more maybe more, as I have seen many ’30’s & ’40’s movies many times, since I was a kid, I love older movies, long before it became “hip” to do so as I have noticed it recently has become…if you have time to pick apart a great movie like that..I simply say you have way too much time on your hands…eos…

  • Al Nasberg

    I agree with bill miller, above. Movies are to enjoy … not to debate. Take a break … watch a movie.

  • BadGnx2

    I’m a classic movie fan from way, back when. I am ALSO African American. And in reference to “Sufferincats” and any others, “Casablance” IS a truly great film. Personally, I’ve always liked it. However, many of the points the author of this piece brought up, I can let go since they truly are minor points. And if we truly nitpick, almost ANY film cannot stand up to scutiny or in some cases, logic.

    Unfortunately “Casablanca” DOES have racist elements. The fact that a GROWN MAN (Sam) is referred to as a “boy” and the fact that he never refers to Bogart’s character’s name of Rick without putting “Mister” on the front, EASILY illustrates this point.

    Simply put: movies (which are in many ways a reflection of the world and/or the picture’s creators) made a POINT of depicting a Class System in which the Black characters and the White ones are NEVER on the same level. Just as things are in the REAL WORLD. This is why all Black men are referred to as “Boy”. To be referred to as a “man” gives an individual a feeling of importance, accomplishment and RESPECT. The fact that Black characters in this film (and many leading up into the sixties) were NEVER shown to have ANY parity with White characters. Whenever a white character is referred to in film by the black character, the black character ALWAYS shows a LEVEL OF SUPERIORITY to the white one by using “Mr.” or “Ms” prior to using the character’s first name. Whenever two white characters interact, only on certain occasions does the white character use the formalities of “Mr.” and “Ms.”. Anyone who views classic film should take note of this because its HEAVILY PREVALENT. It does not begin nor end with “Casablanca”. “Birth Of A Nation” is generally regarded as a great film in size and scope. However it is as RACIST as the day is long.

    We can fool ourselves and make stupid excuses (as some of the writers aforementined have done) but RACISM IS RACISM.

    • Geo65

      You are certainly hung up on your one-sided view of RACISM (your shout not mine). Any one of us can agree that the character of Sam and the reference to “boy” were normal fare for the day…an unfortunate thing. I also have difficulties with the way women were depicted in movies of the same era…too, everyone lighting up a cigarette, or having a drink (in the context of Casablanca of course having a drink at Rick’s would be the expected thing). I don’t think any of it was really healthy. But the one thing most troubling about it all, to me, is that the backlash over the 60+ years since the film now has society overtly favoring Blacks over Whites (in things like employment, i.e. EEO and jobs, and women being put in primary status above men. There’s a balance that, at least I as a Christian, believe we have progressed well beyond as a society. Just one guy’s opinion. Racism is wrong…in any direction!

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  • bogart10

    HEY, IT’S THE HOLIDAYS SO TCM RAN CASABLANCA “AGAIN” AND THATS OKEY WITH ME…..CALLING THESE FILMS “ONE OF THE BEST” SEEMS VERY GENERIC TO ME…THEY ARE ALL GREAT FILMS THAT ARE WORTH WATCHING OVER…AND OVER…..AND OVER……….HAPPY HOLIDAYS…

    • Geo65

      No need to shout! We can hear you.

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  • Bill Young

    This is one of my favorite movies. I saw an interview of Ingrid Bergman where she said that while it had a script, the cast and director sort of made it up as they went along. An alternate ending was filmed in which Ilsa stays with Rick. She said it took some soul searching to pick the ending they did. So it is not surprising that glitches were made. I do agree that the airplane scenes were pretty hokey.

  • Julesburg

    I have to agree with John about the scene when the French national anthem is sung. (However you spell it!) That is truly the most moving scene in the movie, and it cannot be compared to a bunch of drunks singing for fun in a bar. They are defying the Nazis, displaying their patriotism, and it took guts to do that. In fact, that scene is the best one in the movie (along with the last one). I like the movie, and I know it’s an all time classic, but is just not one of my personal favorites.

    • Bruce Reber

      The title of the French national anthem is “La Marseillaise”. Victor Laszlo tells the band to start playing it in reaction to when the Germans (Maj. Strasser et al) begin singing, and soon the predominantly free French crowd at Rick’s is drowning Strasser and his cronies out!

  • Ed Tully

    In my opinion, “Casablanca” is the perfect Hollywood back lot movie of all time, the ultimate film of the “Golden Age” of Hollywood film making – the ’30s and ’40s. Part of that is due to the “feel” of the sets and exteriors and a large part is the black and white filming and the exquisite use of shadows and reflections and the back and forth closeups of faces and expressions throughout the movie. The film score is just beautiful – there is music playing in the background throughout the film and cues the audience throughout as to what is happening or about to happen. You probably could listen to just the audio over the radio and know exactly what was going on at all times.

    So many classic scenes…so many classic lines. I can just about do the audio from beginning to end I’ve seen it so many times, the only other movie that I know the dialogue as well is the ’68 “Romeo and Juliet” And I love watching the young couple from Bulgaria in the backgrounds of so many scenes until her one on one meeting with Rick. And the scene where Rick reads the note from Ilsa as the rain drops wash away the ink from the page. Sounds corny but works beautifully. Just the best!

  • Michelle Malkin

    Some people wrote in to bellyache about others
    wanting to debate, discuss, nitpick or disagree on various points about “Casablanca”. Their opinions do not matter at all to me, since what most of what we have to say doesn’t seem to matter to them. We are all entitled to disagree about anything here dealing with movies or debate various points or simply discuss or nitpick different things about movies here. If they don’t like this, why are they here – since all these things are purposes of Movie Fanfare?

  • Hank Zangara

    Did you ever hear the urban legend theory that Casablanca is a political allegory? Supposedly, each character represents the country of their nationality, and behaves the way those countries were during the run up to WWII. Rick is isolationist America (“I stick my neck out for nobody”), Renault is France (“I go which way the wind blows, and the prevailing wind is from Vichy”), etc. And what finally gets Rick to change his outlook? Why F.D.R. of course. You don’t believe that Roosevelt is in the film? Why, “casa blanca” itself means… white house!

  • Eddie Quillen

    For more insight into the film, particularly addressing many of the myths regarding the movie that were mentioned in the comments section, read “The Making of Casablanca: Bogart, Bergman, and World War II” by Aljean Harmetz. An earlier edition of the book was released as “Round Up the Usual Suspects, The Making of Casablanca.”

    It is a wonderful book that seems, considered the definitive book about the making of the movie. It addresses many myths, like the original casting myth, and Ingrid Bergman’s famous but inaccurate comment, when interviewed, that they made it up as they went along (actually, she was just out of the loop, whereas Bogart, for example, was made aware of every thing that went on).

    It is a great book, and a fun read, easily the best of the books written about the great movie.

  • ham

    i have been one problem: is it the best movie ever? i know it is considered that and i fully understand why one would make the claim, but i am hesitant to call any movie the greatest ever made. anyway, spectacular movie, if not the best (and it very well may be)absolutly one of the best.

  • luis montero.

    10 things I hate about your Casablanca review.
    Petty, petty, petty, petty,petty,petty,petty,petty,petty and petty.
    That’s ten.
    Get a life, pal!

  • GUNNY KOON USMC Ret

    DAMN! Old Luis Montero used the line I was going to use!!!! Well as long as someone said it I’m happy.

  • Erik

    About “Boy”.
    WE all know that this film was made before political correctnes was invented.
    When Ilsa referred to Sam as “Boy”, I am sorry to say that it was a way to refer to people of African origin in general – at that time. It had nothing to do with Sam being about 10 years her senior.

  • aldanoli

    My favorite “problem” with “Casablanca” is that Dooley Wilson, who played Sam, was professionally a drummer, not a pianist. (I seem to recall Wilson himself questioning why he was chosen for the role — although he wasn’t a bad singer.) If you watch closely during, e.g., the “Knock on Wood” sequence, you can see that he’s just moving his hands back and forth on the keyboard, not pressing the keys at all!

  • Thomas A. Petillo

    Not a bad movie.
    WAY too much has been made of it, though.

  • Judy Roberts

    Just a quick comment. It is really nice to see that I’m not the only one who likes the old movies. I also enjoy watching television. I still remember our first TV and how it opened up my world. I remember listening to the old time radio stations so when TV came on the scene, I was in heaven. My father was also a big movie and television fan and all my brothers and sisters love them too. But getting back to the film, Casablanca, I always figured she was a fool to go back to husband. I would have stayed with Rick! As for “Gone With the Wind,” why would you want Leslie Howard if you could have had Clark Gable???

  • BadGnx2

    UPDATE!!!!
    I hadn’t seen “Casablanca” in years and recently watched it on TCM and I could BARELY GET THROUGH IT!!! The character of Sam (played by Dooley Wilson) was so reprehensible I COULD HARDLY GET THROUGH IT. He was like STEPIN FETCHIT with a good singing voice.
    Personally in order for me to enjoy “Casablanca”, I would have to SUBTRACT the Sam character ALTOGETHER!!!

    The Sam character hits off EVERY basic racial stereotype of African Americans that there was. I honestly don’t think that ANY African American person can look at that film and enjoy the Sam character. It AMAZES me that this film is marred by such blatant racism.

    The rest of the movie IS good. “Casablanca” is a study of how much of a movie can be made out of virtually nothing. It DOES NOT surprise me that the white populace can get lost up in the romanticism, history and sentimentality of “Casablanca” and COMPLETELY GLOSS OVER the blatant racism before them. EVERYTIME I saw Sam, it was like HARD NAILS ON A CHALKBOARD!!
    And that feeling HASN’T diminished AS TIME GOES BY.

    • Bruce Reber

      I can’t imagine anyone else but Dooley Wilson as Sam singing and playing “As Time Goes By” on his piano for Ilsa Lund – who would you have liked to have seen in that role? IMO Hoagy Carmichael would have been an excellent second choice (I don’t know if he was ever offered the role of Sam).

  • Wes R

    On “Casablanca” all the comments above seem to miss the point that the movie was not produced as a”let’s make a classic”. It was just one of many films by Bogie and intended to fit in with the times. It was basically one of the many films that Warners was cranking out. You can just as many “flaws” in other films of the era and since.It was originally a play on Broadway called ” Everybody Goes to Rick’s”. My understatnding is was that it was not very popular and soon closed. Warners picked up an option on it and as they say…”the rest is history.” It’s a great movie. STOP MAKING SUCH NITPICKING CRAP OUT OF IT. JUST SIT BACK AND ENJOY IT. In effect: “play it again & again & again.”

  • jim in providence

    If you love the film and have watched it many times it should still thrill you or make you laugh or cry or touch you in a special way. If you are picking it apart, you better stop watching it and stop calling yourself a fan of this film. Find another one to like.

  • John Z

    Dirk’s statement about Rick’s comment about his coming to Casablanca “for the waters” was a obvious tongue in cheek comment. I thought it was funny. Definitely not meant to be taken seriously.

  • Jay Albert Stockwell

    I love Casablanca. I think it is unique,though, in the fact that the film mentions its own title, “Casablanca”, in the script approximately 111 times according to my count. Probably a record of some sort. The word “Casablanca” is in practically every other line. I noticed that business about “German 77’s” too. Thank God for the movies.

  • The Ancient One

    There are SO many levels on which to enjoy a great flick like “Casablanca”, and some have been mentioned—The score; the characters and actors; perfect B/W photography, comparisions to different countries’ views during WWII (I hadn’t heard that take before, & thought it quite intriguing. Thanks!); watching for oddities and blatant mistakes; or just sitting back and going for the ride!! Therefore, this movie merits at LEAST several viewings!
    I’ve enjoyed this article and all the comments.
    All the nit-picking is fun, and shows the audience’s powers of observation. Reminds me of all of those “Nit-Pickers’ Guide to Star Trek” books. You MIGHT have enough material for your own “NPGTC” manual!!!

  • S Judy

    The only thing that bothered me enough to write about was when Ilsa told Rick he’d have to think for Both of them. Icky. I guess her point was that since she loved them both equally she couldn’t decide which man to leave with on her own. Still icky.

    Also I read that Ingrid Bergman didn’t like the picture and didn’t believe it would be popular.

  • Tamazon

    When that movie takes off, if you don’t quit nitpicking and go along for the sappy, wonderful ride, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life…

    • DDMao

      LOL………….good one !

  • Susan

    When I love a movie, i find it more fun and interesting to see the things that made it to the screen. Sometimes the details in production efforts are fascinating. Sometimes the overlooked facts make viewer feel a bit more involved in the choices that were used to bring the story to the screen. Mr. Cahill has enjoyed Casablanca so many times he can’t help but notice the same factors and flaws that most of the rest of us see. Pointing to these facts was a terrific way to ask other people if they enjoyed Casablanca as much as he did. Did others notice the same? Did you see the 1940’s attitudes jump out of the script? Can you appreciate the limitations that these incredible craftspeople used to bring this gem to the screen? Do others love the genre, the period, the story, the actors, the romance, the music and the confusion about the early days of the war as much as Mr. Cahill? I did, thanks.

  • larry clemenson

    the thing i find very strange about casablanca is that the germans search the cafe americain for the letters of transit, but fail to find them even though they are hidden in such an obvious spot. willing suspension of disbelief must rule here, i suppose.

  • joseangel

    ¿Weigand? ¿De Gaulle? It’s absurd saying that a “letter of transit” signed by Gen. De Gaulle “COULD NOT be rescinded or questioned” those years, even in a part of Unoccupied France like French Morocco was, having in mind that “Le Général” was a furious oppositor against the Vichy regime; in fact, he had been condemned for treason by a martial court, so it may be assumed that people carrying some of these letters would have a lot of chances to be chased.
    Some value -for the Germans- would have had those signed by Gen. Weigand, by those days Deputy of French Government for North Africa, who, by the way, was made prisoner by Germans in 1942 and sent to a camp until the end of the war.

    Having listened to Peter Lorre -who was a Hungarian- some times (but not 150, really) and considering I’m Spanish with a certain knowledge of English, it’s not clear for me what he really says; well, Lorre was a very good actor, but not a linguist or a historian, so his pronunciation doesn’t have to be very good, or just, good. For me, it sounds as “Degón” -I don’t know how to put this in the PC with the signs of the International Phonetic Alphabet- something like: “The Gone”.
    Not to be disregarded the fact that “UGARTE” may not really know what is written in those letters, or even, who signs then, or if he has looked at them, or something of the like. It might even be considered as an “error made on purpose”.
    In a supposed-to-be-real script of the film, it is written “De Gaulle”.

    Anyway, it adds up to a real mistake without much of importance… if you are not trying to write decent subtitles in Spanish for the film.
    In a version of the film in Spanish (in a VHS tape) that I have and which is pretty faithful to the original audio, Ugarte says “Weygand”.

    And that’s the point in which I’m stuck; I have considered “De Gaulle”, “Weygand”, “Degand” (sic) or even “Bonaparte”.

    Thanks for your post about Casablanca.
    joseangel

    • joseangel

      Weygand, Peter Lorre and Ugarte say Weygand. No doubt.

      • joseangel

        …pronounced in French.

  • dog888k

    The creepy little pickpocket was played by Curt Bois, a Jewish refugee from Berlin, who had been one of the top cabaret stars in pre-AH Berlin.  Some of his recordings are on Youtube.  The guy who played the croupier in the gambling room was a Jewish refugee from Paris (and I forgot his name). There was a whole article years ago maybe in esquire about all the Euro Jewish refugees who had ended up in Hollywood who were given small parts in Casablanca. 

  • dog888k

    After Rick walked away in the fog to go to the Free French force in Brazzaviile (which really existed) did Louie go with him?  Would have been interesting to know how Louie would have handled dealing with the Vichy French and the Americans at the end of 42 when the Yanks hit the beaches at Casablanca.  How would Louie and Patton have gotten along.

  • elginman

    Did Louie go with? as Rick and Louie walked into the fog I thought Rick say “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”Or words to that affect. Correct me if I am wrong. As to the croupier, he played the policeman in “Song of Bernadette.”

    • dog888k

      The croupier. Marcel Dalio, also played the judge in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes who was forced to watch Jane Russell do her Marilyn dance in the Paris courtroom.  Supposedly when the Occupation began in ’40 he had to flee from France when the Germans put his picture up all over Paris with the words “This is what a Jew looks like!”     

  • dog888k

    Two guys who should have met one another in north Africa were Rick (I know he was fiction) and George Orwell, who had fought for the Spanish Republic and had spent some time in Marrecech(sic)(His essay on the town is a classic of travel writing.) A play about Rick and Orwell meeting would be one to go see. And for some info on what might have happened to Victor Laszlo read the wiki article on Resistance hero Jean Moulin.

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  • Jonathan

    Apparently Hedy Lamarr turned it down. Big Mistake I Love both Ingrid and Hedy. I like Ann Sheridan OK enough but thank god She didnt do it as she was another choice….;

    • James Jensen

      You are unattractive, I mean physically ugly.

    • James Jensen

      I am sorry, that message was for Carolyn Ferrante

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carolyn-Ferrante/100000671220210 Carolyn Ferrante

    The two “things” I hate about ‘Casablanca’ are: Bogart and Bergman.

  • Stan

    My only complaint was a minor casting flaw that I wish could have been fixed. Imagine if Orson Welles got to play Victor Laslow? I want the “Third Man” type character to have played that role. Other than that its one of the few movies I can never walk away from when its on.

  • Nick Z.

    In our repressively post-postmodern society, where everything that used to be time honored has suddenly become the fodder for ridicule and criticism I can appreciate Gary Calhall’s need to trash one of the all time great achievements in American cinema. You notice I said ‘appreciate’ – not accept or understand.

    Movie are art made by a committee. Is it any wonder with so many proverbial fingers in the pie that we get flubs now and then? And those who watch any movie for the flubs are very deprived indeed, because they’re so interesting in seeing a mistake they’ve quite simply forgotten how to enjoy the movie for what it is – mass entertainment.

    In an era when studios generally cranked out 52 pictures a year, it’s a shock, a wonder and damn near a miracle that more such flubs didn’t readily crop up. But a classic is a classic. And few can compare to Casablanca. Ragging on Corrina Mura’s guitar solo as a flub, when all it really amounts to is Mr. Calhall giving his ‘personal opinion’ about not caring for it, isn’t really relevant to his argument. So, he’s already down to 9 things he should hate about Casablanca if it “not being a perfect movie” is at the crux of his argument.

    RE: Victor Lazlo being a bland third wheel who leads drunks in a sing-a-long. Well, that’s one way of looking at it, I suppose. But I always found that particular moment a real patriot tear jerker (personal opinion of course). And Paul Henreid isn’t bland. He’s urbane European sophistication at its best. Today we tend to frown on things like national pride and the white male European, turning on, rather than to them, as the cause of all our present day woes. That sort of monolithic attack has, frankly, begun to uncouple the very fiber of our nation, and even more to the point, has been the result for a general disdain eroding America’s sense of pride in itself.

    I’ll concur with Mr. Calhill on one point – Casablanca is NOT a perfect movie. It was made by imperfect creatures – humans – under imperfect conditions (the assembly line of mass production during the studio days). But Casablanca is as close to perfection as movies come. Few rival it for its master craftsmanship or artistic integrity. Fewer still have gone on to garner renewable admiration and popularity from the masses some 70 plus years since their general release.

    And yes, as time goes by Casablanca has proven that when it comes to star-crossed lovers bittersweet romance and just plain good ol’ fashion storytelling, fewer still match Casablanca. You can play it again, and again, and again. Nit pick the hell out of it if you like. But it will always be a great film, untouchable by most any standard one would care to apply. For me, at least, that makes Casablanca “a perfect movie” – yesterday, today and for many more tomorrows yet to follow.

  • speedle24

    You are correct. You are nitpicking.

    go watch a different movie

  • jumbybird

    Just enjoy the damned movie… you’ll spoil the whole experience by concentrating on silly nitpickings.

  • Rick

    Sorry your complaints fall on deaf ears. But for arguments sake let’s review your complaints;

    10. Your right with all of the continuity errors in other films, this is negligible

    9. How long were Victor and Ilsa in Casablanca before they made it to Ricks? The story really doesn’t say. For Ugati to have set up a meeting at Rick’s they had to have at least a little time to visit the Blue Parrot one other time. No wonder modern movies are so insipid, audiences really can’t think for themselves.

    8. How many ethnocentric Europeans and Americans do you think really would have sought out more time with Arab speaking individuals? If the film were about Arabs or Arab/Euro/American relationships your complaint would be valid. As it is, again it is not note worthy.

    7. How many speaking roles do you think you have time for in a movie? As above, given the ethnocentricities of the time, it doesn’t make sense to create a character and justify its existence. Let’s remember the socio-cultural environment of both the time and place the movie was made and the time and place it was set in. Even in the US there was Antisemitism. (Some would argue that prejudice hasn’t changed much). Again your complaint isn’t noteworthy.

    6. Speaking of prejudices, if you don’t want to get a glimpse of what the world was like in 1942, don’t watch the movie.

    5. So, would you have had Rick just assume that Sam should put his own life on the line and follow him in a private war against NAZIs? It seems to me Rick was thinking about Sam. He didn’t conscript him into service but made sure Sam still had an income (and a nice raise, watch the movie again if you missed that part).

    4. Now that’s picayune.

    3. So your theory is that a non-spoken line is the most famous misquote of all time? You couldn’t infer that Ilsa may have visited the Blue Parrot as part of the story not seen, but you want to infer a line that doesn’t exist. I guess if you need to round out a top 10…

    2. So you missed the exchange between Victor and Ilsa when Victor tells her that he can get her out of Casablanca but not her. To which she notes the number of times where he could have left her behind but didn’t so since he loved her enough to stay in harms way for her, she would do the same for him. It seems to me that is how he impressed Ilsa.

    1. You’re quite right A German may have over-looked the signature of Gen Weygand but Casablanca was part of unoccupied France. There may have been several operatives of the Gestapo, Abwehr or other intelligence unit there, but the ports were operated by French citizens.

    Sorry your rant was unimpressive!

  • arguellogomez

    If you remove Ingrid Bergman from the equation, you have just another campy and highly enjoyable early ’40s film.

  • hvj

    This critic has unwittingly proved that “Familirity breeds contempt”…. Viewing a film 150 times is a bit of overkill !

  • Kevin

    You may have missed one other person of the Jewish ancestry in the audience of Ricks, Jack Benny.

  • mike48128

    Errors in other movies: In “Meet Me in St. Louis,” Lonnie’s soup bowl is empty but half-full in the very next shot. A watch alarm (or similar sound) goes off while Bill Murray is washing his hands in “Groundhog Day.” It’s on the soundtrack and seems out-of-place and is not explained. The most common error in a lot of films is bad “focus-pulling” where random shots are “soft” (out-of-focus) and should have been re-shot.

  • Hypestyles

    Sam is the unsung hero of the film.

  • Gunnar

    You are a loser

  • sneadly

    I googled “I hate Casablanca” just to see what kind of LUNATIC would hate Casablanca, and what a nice surprise to find your nicely written, fun essay. You’re absolutely right about just about everything, but I’d bet $50 Ugarte says the letters are signed by DeGaulle.

  • Zane Tyler

    There
    will always be people these days doing weird things like picking their nose and
    eating it, going outside without their clothes on, even eating poop! Is it any
    surprise to see someone doing his best to find something negative about
    Casablanca?! How about the effort he put into finding 10 whole things to
    scrutinize? It is easy to criticize anything or anyone, especially the author
    of this ridiculous article. Many movies are full of inaccuracies that are
    FICTION. If someone wants accuracy, watch a documentary. Who cares if
    there weren’t many indigenous people from Morocco in the movie?
    Or if wet clothes were suddenly dry in the next scene? I almost could not
    believe the needling I had just read! The author does have the ability to write
    shorts however. What a great job he could have done writing a complimentary
    article instead. How nice it could have been for people still alive who are
    associated with the movie, or with people in the movie, to read compliments. I can think of one lady in
    particular (Born in 1924) who is still around, that I would like to see feel good
    about comments along those lines. If she ever reads this, I want to say, I give
    the movie an A, and the movies that she and Humphrey made together, A+’s!
    (Because she was in them too) I believe that Gary wanted the attention that the
    “hate” title would bring, and I wholehearted agree with his admission that
    what he wrote is “petty squabbles”.

    Z

  • Chris t

    You would love “Top Secret” from 1984. A parody loosely based on “Casablanca”. You would be hard pressed to find anything to hate about it.

  • Niala Wesley

    I hated Casablanca. I’ve watched thousands of movies and it’s one of the few that I would give a thumbs down. I thought I was going to love it since I grew up hearing people quote it. But it turned out the only things I liked about the movie were the half dozen lines everybody quotes. If I had been warned everything to like about it could be found in the trailer, I could’ve spared myself hours of boring garbage. Why is that movie so popular and beloved to people? I’ve watched dozens of old movies and none of them made me want to stop the DVD every couple of minutes to ask myself if it was really worth it to be able to cross it off my movie watch list.

    • dodolino

      True.

  • Bruce Reber

    The one thing I have to admit I really dislike about “Casablanca” is Capt. Louis Renault and his chain smoking. Although most everyone seems to light up at one time or another (with the exception of Ilsa, Sam and a few others), it’s Renault who seems to be constantly puffing away.

  • Lora

    OY!

  • Frank Petrone

    How can anyone ‘hate’ Casablanca’ its a gem from the 1940’s with an awesome cast of actors.

  • Ran

    Nice post :) Though how can anyone ‘hate’ Casablanca did occur to me too. Came across this while googling about the film after reading a similar (though not in the same vein) post here. http://thebigindianpicture.com/2014/09/back-to-the-movies/ It’s about someone who revisited the movie (and a couple others) to see it in a new light. Thought it’d be nice to share it :)