Casablanca (1943)

Directed by Michael Curtiz

In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Much has been made of the bizarrely efficient disorganization that uniquely helped some of the picture’s greatest moments retain their historic place. No matter how accomplished the scholar or enthusiast examining the picture, none of them pinpoint exactly why the film turned out so well, if in fact there is any reasoning behind it besides pure luck. [If anything,] too much emphasis is placed on the details of the sordid production history, which inevitably and unfortunately becomes the centerpiece in discussions about Casablanca. These stories lend an interesting background, but hardly reveal anything essential about why the end result has earned its iconic status.

Brian Eggert (Deep Focus Review)


The film has a peculiar magic to it, and because of its pace the richness of its sense of detail often goes unnoticed. Audiences make generalizations about Casablanca because of how all those little particulars add up. Film lovers discuss it with a starry look in their eyes, as if they were describing their first kiss or a lost love, because something in the film touches them, perhaps its theme of dignity and decency, of rediscovered idealism. Men seem almost instinctively drawn to Humphrey Bogart’s Rick because he’s a man of integrity, while women seem to dig him because he’s a man of mystery.

Jeremiah Kipp and Derek Smith (Slant Magazine)