The Oscar Project
A film with a single word title
Yesterday I chose a very recent film, and today I’m going in the way back machine for my selection. My film with a single word title is Casablanca, the Humphrey Bogart/Ingrid Bergman classic that provided some of the most memorable lines in film history.
This was actually a terrible gap in my film resume until about a year ago. I had seen bits and pieces of it over the years, catching segments when it was on television, or snippets in documentaries about films, but I had never sat down and watched the film from beginning to end. I went back and looked at the films I have rated on the movie tracking website Trakt.tv and I have reserved a 10 out of 10 rating for only about a dozen films, Casablanca being one of them. It is a truly timeless film and I think the thing that struck me most during my most recent watch was the fact that it was a film set during WWII, made shortly after the United States entered the war at the end of 1941 and premiered less than a year after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The entire film feels a bit like the story of the war up to that point. Bogart’s Rick Blaine is the stand in for the United States, staying out of the politics and making money from both sides until his hand is forced and he has to make a decision. Bergman’s Ilsa Lund is the reason Rick ends up getting involved for she begs him to help her and her husband and Czech Resistance leader, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) escape Casablanca.
One of my favorite scenes from the film comes when the Germans start singing their patriot anthem “Die Wacht am Rhein” in Rick’s bar. Laszlo urges the house band to break into “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem. The band pauses only a moment until Rick gives a nod of approval. The patrons of the bar pick up the French tune and soon drown out the Germans, but it’s Rick’s subtle nod that is the true turning point of the story. He has decided to do what is right, rather than what will provide him financial gains. It may have been, just like the United States’ own entry into the war, a bit later than the Allies would have liked, but it came just the same.
There is so much more to this film than I have space to discuss here, but I am so mad at myself that I waited so long to see it. If you are like I was and haven’t seen the entire film, please do yourself a favor and check it out. It is currently available on HBO Max and at just 102 minutes, it’s not a terribly long film.
We're finally getting to some of the big categories here with my predictions of Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Don't forget to check out the previous prediction posts in my series to see all of my predictions and look for the last few posts with the Best Actress/Actor, Best Director, and Best Picture categories on Monday.
I'm just a film buff who wants to watch great movies. Where else to find the best, than the list of those nominated by the Academy each year?