Sunday, May 09, 2010

My Favorite Movie: Casablanca



I struggle sometimes with naming Casablanca as my favorite film. It's so many people's favorite that it seems like too easy a choice. Like I'm not really thinking about it. I'd much rather claim something less popular or counter-cultural.

On the other hand, it's got evil Nazis, the French Resistance, smugglers, an exotic location, dangerous underworld characters, an amoral anti-hero, an unapologetically corrupt police chief, and a beautiful woman (the beautiful woman, actually). But more importantly, it's a movie about redemption, and has the most heart-breaking romance I've ever seen. The characters in Casablanca have no easy choices and it's one of the few films that can consistently make me tear up in the same scene each time I watch it (it's that Yvonne and her "Vive le France" that get me). It's touching, it's funny, and it's exciting. Everything I want in a movie. It's perfect.

10 comments:

Wings said...

Who cares how many others love it. You love what you love. And it is a great choice!!!

snell said...

Two thumbs up in agreement. I'll occasionally waver on what I think is the best, but Casablanca's heart will always make it my favorite.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

It just is so perfect a film. The Black and White, the cast, the story that holds up right to the end. Bogey has charisma and character and you can see why every other character respects him. Ilsa is beautiful and the one woman you would NEVER forget if you knew her in real life. And Peter Lorre! Dear sweet awesome Peter Lorre. ("I hope you are more impressed with me Rick") and Claude Raines ("I am shocked, SHOCKED to find out gambling is going on in this establishment") Everyone remembers where they were when they first saw it. I can watch it anytime it comes on the satellite and I do.

Michael May said...

Wings, you're absolutely right. It's a popular favorite for a reason. :)

Snell, really excellent point about "best" and "favorite." There are certainly other movies that are better than Casablanca in one area or another; I just don't connect to them as strongly as I do this one. And I think you're right that it's the movie's heart that's responsible for that.

Cal, that Claude Rains line makes me smile every time. Especially what happens right after he says it.

Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Sometimes I feel like a film snob ranking it as my favorite, but it is indeed, the story of redemption, and how one person can over come evil that can make a difference. I've never been able to get that from "Citizen Kane", which always leaves me scratching my head wondering why in the opening we see a pair of monkeys in a cage marked "Bengal Tiger."

Aside of some great characters I'm always charmed by the snappy dialogue and sense of humor to grant such levity in the midst of a dark situation.

Not to long along I actually drew this fake movie poster to showcase the similarities between it and another one of my favorite movies, "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

http://erikjohnsonillustrator.blogspot.com/2010/04/raiders-in-casablanca.html

Michael May said...

That's awesome, Erik! Do you mind if I share that in a future Art Show post?

Teebore said...

I wouldn't call my favorite, but it's definitely ONE OF my favorites.

And hot damn, I like me some Peter Lorre.

If you haven't, check out Fritz Lang's M for Lorre as a creepy yet still sympathetic serial killer.

Michael May said...

I'm way overdue to see M. That's been on my Must See list for years.

Bang Potential said...

My fav as well, we feel bad because normally "everybody" is wrong, Casablanca however is the outlier. Sheesh, makes me shiver just now it's so good. Sweet poster also.

Michael May said...

...normally "everybody" is wrong...

Ha! I think you nailed my subconscious thought process exactly. :)

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