Casablanca

The Z Man looks back at Casablanca, an interesting take. Yours would also be appreciated.

I was watching this episode of the Mark Steyn Show on Sunday and they made mention of Casablanca. It occurred to me that it had been so long since I watched these old movies, I no longer remember much about them. My generation was probably the last to grow up seeing these old films on television.

He now mentions two key issues:

1. The acting is the part that does not work as well today, as the old films were acted like stage plays, which required the audience to use their imaginations. Modern technology lets the audience drop into a coma while watching a film.

And:

2. Anyway, Casablanca is a classic film for a reason. The story is well done and even 70 years on, the stars are still stars. Maybe it was how they made the movies back then, but Bogart fills the screen in his scenes. Of course, Ingrid Bergman was a stunningly gorgeous woman, but even the lesser stars seemed to have a presence.

There’s something larger than life, something quite grand about them all from that era, plus the fashions are forever being emulated today. Now I’m going to write something graceless and sorry about that – in those days, actresses were just as slutty – see Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth – but oh, could they ever glide around and didn’t they have style?

Beyonce, Rihanna, Madonna – just slutty. And can you even name an actress of today who’s any good? Don’t even bother with Judy Dench or Helen Mirren, each who were of the old school anyway – the last great actress IMHO was Joan Hickson.

There is nothing really today – who was that actress from La La Land? Were it not so, were it a new great era, this blog would rave about it, make no mistake. But there is nothing, nowt, nikto, nada.

The funny thing about this movie is the plot is very simple and the imagery is a bit heavy handed. In fact, everything about it is simple and rough-hewn, but there’s a moving depth to it. Watching it, I could easily imagine a 1940’s audience, sitting in the dark theater as the movie ends.

The women would be teary eyes, maybe squeezing their man’s arm a little harder than normal. The men would be sitting stiff-backed and stony-faced, enjoying their date getting close, while imagining themselves as the honorable Rick Blaine.

Yes, yes and yes.

The point of movie making in those days was to get people to the theater. That meant making movies that appealed to the majority population, which meant the native stock. No one bothered with virtue signaling.

There was also a degree of respect for the audience. It was assumed that the people in the theater could use their imagination. They did not need a 20-minute sex scene to know that Bogart and Bergman were having a physical relationship. The audience was treated like adults, rather than teenagers.

Yes, yes, yes and yes. Lastly:

What I’m always struck by in the old movies is the maturity of the male leads. Bogart was in his 40’s when he made Casablanca and he looked like it. His character was supposed to be middle-aged. He was an adult.

Compare that with the one third boy/one third woman/one third man excuses for men today. Last real man I saw in film was Clive Owen.

Today truly is rubbish.

7 comments for “Casablanca

  1. Voice of Reason
    April 26, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Depending of how old you allow, I would highly rate actors like Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Dockery, Bruce Willis, Johnny Depp, Will Smith, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Hugh Jackman, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Lawrence, Liam Neeson, and many others.

    • April 26, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      None with that Bogey ‘presence’ though, are there?

      • Voice of Reason
        April 27, 2017 at 1:57 pm

        I don’t know. For this age perhaps. They have all had some very fine screen performances.

  2. Penseivat
    April 26, 2017 at 7:08 pm

    In Casablanca, and other films, Bogart was an anti-hero – a man you would not want to marry your sister, but whom you would admire for his sense of ethics. The majority of todays film stars are one dimensional, in that they are hard working Joes being tested by circumstances or down and out sh*ts. The nearest to Bogart and his ilk I have seen recently, was Tom Hanks as the troubled assassin in ‘Road to Perdition’.

  3. James Strong
    April 27, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    See Bogey in The Treasure of Sierra Madre.
    Dreadful.
    Impossible to believe in him as that character.
    The same in The African Queen.

    Compare him with two of the very best cinema actors of the last couple of decades,
    Kevin Spacey and Christian Bale.
    They can play a range of characters, glamorous or otherwise and always be believable.

  4. James Strong
    April 27, 2017 at 8:32 pm

    A wholly gratuitous reference to the alleged ‘slutty’ behaviour of Grace Kelly and Rita Hayworth.
    The sexual lives of them, or anyone else, is none of your damn business unless you were married to them.

  5. April 27, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Shall reply tomorrow morning – dental issues just now.

    It’s tomorrow morning – bless you, James, that’s your point of view and all power to it. I have mine.

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