Jun 16, 2008

22nd June 2008 ; Screening of Casablanca

A Film by Michael Curtiz
Year : 1942
Country : USA
Run time :102 minutes
English with English sub titles
22nd June 2008 ;5.45 pm
Ashwin Hospital Auditorium

Amazing cast, memorable dialogue, unforgettable story.

Against the electric background of a sleek cafe in a North African port, through which swirls a backwash of connivers, crooks and fleeing European refugees, the Warner Brothers are telling a rich, suave, exciting and moving tale in their film, "Casablanca,"

The story, as would be natural, has its devious convolutions of plot. But mainly it tells of a tough fellow named Rick who runs a Casablanca cafe and of what happens when there shows up in his joint one night a girl whom he had previously loved in Paris in company with a fugitive Czech patriot. The Nazis are tailing the young Czech; the Vichy officials offer only brief refuge—and Rick holds the only two sure passports which will guarantee his and the girl's escape. But Rick loves the girl very dearly, she is now married to this other man—and whenever his black pianist sits there in the dark and sings "As Time Goes By" that old, irresistible feeling consumes him in a choking, maddening wave.

Don't worry; we won't tell you how it all comes out. That would be rankest sabotage. But we will tell you that the urbane detail and the crackling dialogue which has been packed into this film by the scriptwriters, the Epstein brothers and Howard Koch, is of the best. We will tell you that Michael Curtiz has directed for slow suspense and that his camera is always conveying grim tension and uncertainty.

Download the original CASABLANCA screenplay by clicking here.

The performances of the actors are all of the first order, especially those of Mr. Bogart and Miss Bergman in the leading roles. Mr. Bogart is, as usual, the cool, cynical, efficient and super-wise guy who operates his business strictly for profit but has a core of sentiment and idealism inside. Conflict becomes his inner character, and he handles it credibly. Miss Bergman is surpassingly lovely, crisp and natural as the girl and lights the romantic passages with a warm and genuine glow.

In short, we will say that "Casablanca" is one of the most exciting and trenchant films.

Michael Curtiz

(December 24, 1886 - April 10, 1962)

Michael Curtiz was one of Hollywood's most prolific and colorful directors. Born to a well-to-do Jewish family in Budapest, he ran away from home at age 17 to join a circus, then trained for an acting career at the Royal Academy for Theater and Art. He worked as a leading man at the Hungarian Theatre before directing stage plays and then films.

His first cinematic effort was Az Utolsó Bohém (1912), which was also the first feature-length film ever made in Hungary. Curtiz soon moved on to the more progressive Danish film industry, returning to his homeland in 1914 and serving a year in the Austro-Hungarian infantry before resuming his film career.He directed 21 European pictures in a seven-year period, including the epic Sodom and Gomorrah (1923).

In 1926, Curtiz was brought to Hollywood by Warner Bros. He had a lengthy and prolific Hollywood career, with directing credits on over 100 films in many film genres..Prime examples of his work in the 1940s are The Sea Wolf (1941), Casablanca (1942) and Mildred Pierce (1945). Michael Curtiz died at the age of 73 and was almost working till the last days of his life.

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