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.
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.