Saturday, 2 February 2013


CASABLANCA (Black and white, 1942)

Michael Curitz

Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, S.Z. Sakall, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Joy Page and Dooley Wilson

7 and up

In wartime Casablanca, Morocco, Rick Blaine (Bogart) opens a café in the neighbourhood where everyone goes. One day, there comes Ilsa, Rick’s old lover, together with her husband, freedom fighter Victor Laszlo (Henreid). The two were trying to go to America, but only Rick can help them. What will he do? Will he hand them over to the cops (led by Rains) or will he give him the pass that he received from customer Ugarte (Lorre)? 

From Left: Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. 

Why it’s good:
It standardly rehearses wartime disappointment and it is so classic I might not need to discuss it. But I will.

The film is marvellous and excellently huge in its own way. My father recommended this title when we talked about Morocco. Yes, it was set in Morocco. But that is not the point. The point is the romance between the stars Bogart and Bergman.

The second point is a history lesson on World War II, though evidently this whole story is not true. German Gestapos like Veidt’s character are the main villains, while you can say the captain that Rains plays is good. 

You might need to list down the things you have to cover with your child before watching this beautiful war-romance for sensitive older kids. For instance, during my first viewing, I had to know about why the tough Europeans like Lorre, Page, Henreid, Bergman and Bogart want to flee to America. Even with the corny but easy to understand map in the film’s first scenes, it is still a fog of bewilderment to me.

My second viewing was better, and I could understand it more. I could savour the tale, the romance and the drama, as well as the war.If you think now is the time for your kid to watch this, show it. Just put it on.

Parent’s guide:
Smoking and mild drinking goes on in Café Americana, Casablanca. There is also a passionate kiss told in Rick’s point of view.

Only one scene of the film was filmed outside the studio, which is the airplane scene where Rick sees Ilsa for the last time.

If you like this…:
See the "War and Action" section for more wartime films.

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