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Perfectly Classical


I’ve always loved watching black and white movies. There is just something about them, the actors, the sets, the attention to detail that seems to get lost in movies today because of all the spectacular graphics and fast pace. As a child,  a few of my favorites were the Shirley Temple movies, The Little Rascals and The Three Stooges. Then as I grew up it was Tarzan, those old westerns and of course The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock.

Now our house has to be practically empty for me to catch one of those classics on TV. So imagine my excitement when I learned Casablanca was going to be showing at one of the local theaters here in town for the 70 anniversary of its release. This is a movie I’ve always wanted to see, but for one reason or another just never have. A big “Thank you” goes out to Will Simon for the heads up and setting up a movie date for our little crew that meets up at Drew’s Pastry Place on Friday mornings.

Life always has a way of changing the best made plans. But three of us were able to go despite those pesky unplanned happenings. Will and another good friend, Stacey Purcell, met up at the theater for a 2:00 afternoon showing this past Wednesday. I felt so naughty. It was daylight. The kids were in school. Someone else was going to have to pick up my son. Shame on me. LOL

But it was well worth it. I wasn’t disappointed. The movie was all I expected and more. It started with a brief history of the movie and I loved hearing facts about how it all came together despite some really important missing pieces. Like the ending. Yep, when filming started, no one knew how the movie was going to end. I believe there were three different endings written. And to top that off, the script was being written and rewritten along the way each day. But you’d never guess this by watching the movie. The flow was perfect. The set magical. And the casting spot on.  A movie filled with mystery, intrigue, love, heartbreak and the ultimate sacrifice.

Getting to see it on the big screen like that was so awesome. It felt like I’d gone back in time somehow. LOL  And sharing the experience with great friends who I know enjoyed it as much as I did was priceless.

A few surprising discoveries:

No one really says this line I’ve heard associated with the movie a million times. – “Play it again, Sam.”

Bogart does say, “Here’s looking at you kid.” About three or four times if my memory is correct.

And not every mystery presented is cleared up at the end. We are never told why Rick can’t return to America. Or exactly why he needed to leave Paris before the Germans arrived. (This last one is probably something I just missed because I was so caught up in the story.)

But all of these make the movie more intriguing to me.  These details are ones that will stick with me for a long time. Keep me thinking about the movie and the great characters and dying to see it again to catch things I’m sure I missed the first time.  🙂

 Do you like those old black and white movies? Have you seen Casablanca? What were some of your favorites?

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11 Responses

  1. I used to be more into the classics–my mother’s influence. I think The Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby were my favorites.

    Sounds like you guys had s great time! You deserve outings like that in the middle of the day! 🙂

  2. Melissa, so glad you enjoyed it! There’s just something magical about a dark theater and a big screen.

    You didn’t miss a thing. Major Strasser tells Rick they know why he left Paris, but the audience doesn’t get to learn that. Rick doesn’t care what the Germans know or don’t know:

    Rick: (after flipping through the German’s dossier on him) Are my eyes really brown?

    Part of the allure and legend of CASABLANCA are the UN-answered questions:

    Captain Renault: I’ve often speculated why you don’t return to America. Did you abscond with the church funds? Run off with a senator’s wife? I like to think you killed a man. It’s the Romantic in me.

    Rick: It was a combination of all three.

    Embezzlement, a romance with the wrong woman, possibly a murder. We can guess all kinds of scenarios as to why Rick left America. Then again, is Rick telling the truth, or is he simply indulging his friend’s flights of fancy? If that’s the case, we’ll never know for sure… and our imaginations can go down all kinds of roads.

    I’m keeping an eye on the “Fathom Special Events” stuff now. Maybe they’ll do the same thing with THE MALTESE FALCON. Or THE THIN MAN. Or REBECCA. Or CAPTAIN BLOOD. Or…. sheesh, the list is endless….:)

  3. YES! This is one of those movies I need to watch, but it never fails when it comes on my classic movie channel there’s something else going on and I don’t get it done. The African Queen is another, since it’s used so often as an example of great storytelling.

  4. It’s so funny that the topic of your blog post was old movies. A friend and I were talking about older movies (from the 80’s & 90’s) that were movies we couldn’t pass up if they were on TV.

    Some of the ones mentioned were Top Gun, Breakfast Club, Grease, Dirty Dancing and Footloose then newer ones such as How to Lose a Guy in 10 days and National Treasure.

    It all started because I was watching Top Gun at 3:00am Sunday morning.

    Daughter loves the older films and Gone with the Wind is her absolute favorite. She also owns a copy of Cassablanca I bought her several years ago.

    Great post, glad you enjoyed your afternoon out. We all need those every once in awhile.

    • Love Casablanca! I’ve seen it so many times. I miss watching the old B&W movies from that time period. Sorry Heather, but those movies from the 80’s and 90’s don’t begin to compare with these. The old Charlie Chan movies…The Maltese Falcon…Back Street (Cried my eyes out on that one too many times)…The Enchanted Cottage…The Ghost and Mrs. Muir…

      Wow…don’t make movies like these any more. Today’s movies are all flash and special effect. That’s what makes the movies. The story telling has been lost to the loud explosions!

      Good topic, Melissa! Stirred up some good memories.

  5. How wonderfully cool!!!!

  6. I always list Casablanca as one of my favorite movies. I’ve never seen it on the big screen, so I’m jealous of your afternoon. Dr. Zhivago holds my highest number of viewings though at 26:-)
    I love the old romantic comedies with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. I’m also a fan of Sandra Dee with the Tammy and Gidget movies and anything with Cary Grant.
    Oooohhh, and An Affair to Remember … Madam X … too many good ones to count!

  7. We truly do need to treat ourselves, ladies. You too Will :). I tend to forget this important little detail with all the craziness around our house. It was really a blast! Now, I can’t wait for the next one! LOL

  8. I’m not the biggest Casablanca nut, though I did see it on the big screen. I love Doris Day, though her vehicles weren’t always on par with her talent (Calamity Jane is worth seeing, though, even though it starts to drive me crazy near the end–why didn’t anybody see that she totally rocked the way she was?!). Double Indemnity is always cool and creepy, if you’re going B&W. I love Rear Window, The Young Girls of Rochefort, and Funny Face, too, though those are in color. I guarantee I’m forgetting some movies I adore, too…grrr!

  9. I haven’t seen many b/w. I know I’ve seen a couple, cause I later saw them in color and it was a completely different movie.

    I want to see The Artist! it’ll be a day time movie while the kid is at school thing for me.

  10. I’m not a big black and white fan, but it is cool to go back and see old movies on the big screen. Sad how it feels like playing hooky when you do something for yourself, isn’t it? Glad you had fun!

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