Living in Newport Beach California in the late 70’s there was a revival house that played old and art house movies every evening. They would each run for two or three nights and gave me a chance to see quite a few films that I had missed. The Balboa Cinema. Near the ferry and the Island. I saw on the bill that they were going to play Casablanca the coming weekend. So I made plans to go and see it, having never seen it before.
My entire exposure to Casablanca had come from another movie. Woody Allen’s “Play it Again Sam”. Where Woody’s character tried to model his life after the Bogart character in Casablanca. Watching the movie over and over. And “reliving” the final scene himself in his own life . A very funny movie.
So I sat in the theatre looking forward to finally seeing it. The lights started to go down. People settled in. And the movie started. And next came….
I was transported to another time. I immediately cared for these people. With a underlieing danger from the Nazi’s added to it. Bogart was AMAZING as Rick the Club Owner. Ingrid Bergman who “of all the gin places had to walk into this one”. Paul Henreid in a thankless role he made into his own. And Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault ” Here sir are your winnings”.
A movie that the studio didn’t expect much from. Written by the Epstein Brothers, Who didn’t have an end till the last-minute. Curious note. Max Steiner who did the music wanted to write an original song to use in the movie instead of “As Time Goes By”. But at that point Ingrid Bergman had cut her hair for her next movie and was unavailable to do the retakes on the scenes. So they left the song in.
The quotes… We will always have Paris… Here’s looking at you kid….Play it…you played it for her you will play it for me… And on and on. The whole audience was hypnotized that night . We were all taken in. The laughter was louder . The tear’s in the eyes larger. It was a magical night.
And every few months… I make the same trip to…Casablanca
A film everyone should see.