Seventy-Six Years Ago Today, “Casablanca” Wins Best Pic Oscar
On March 2, 1944, the Warner Bros classic romantic drama, Casablanca, took home the award for Best Picture at the 16th Academy Awards held at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Casablanca, in my humble opinion, truly defines a classic movie. I've probably viewed it 30 times and could easily watch it 30 times more. The plot centers on the exploits of American expatriate Rick(Humphrey Bogart) who owns the nightclub, "Rick's Cafe Americain", which is visited by all sorts of clientele. Former flame, Ilsa Lund(Ingrid Bergman) re-enters his life, showing up at Rick's nightclub with her husband, a well-known fugitive leader of the Czech resistance, Victor Laszlo(Paul Henreid).
The husband and wife team are a after a pair of letters that will enable them to travel freely thru German-occupied Europe and to reach Portugal which is a neutral territory. It just so happens that Rick is in possession of these letters. He's in a position to help them. But will he? Will he step in to help out an ex-love? I won't divulge any more of the plot here. No spoilers, folks!
In addition to the fantastic performances of the three leads, Casablanca is blessed with one of the best supporting casts ever. Conrad Veidt as Maj. Heinrich Strasser; Claude Rains as Captain Louis Renault("Round up the usual suspects..."); Peter Lorre as Signor Ugarte("Hide me, Ricky!"); Dooley Wilson as Sam the piano player; and, Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari.
Casablanca is not only blessed with great acting and great directing(Michael Curtiz also won the Best Director Oscar), but has one of the best screenplays of all time. That's the reason why the film is so quotable. Even if you've never seen Casablanca, you're probably familiar with some of these: "We'll always have Paris." "Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time." "I remember every detail. The Germans wore grey. You wore blue." "If that plane leaves the ground and you’re not with him, you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life." "Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." "Here's looking at you, kid." “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” And there's many more. Here's a brief scene that features a couple of great quotes including one that's often misquoted:
Happy Anniversary to one of the all-time greats winning the Academy Award for Best Film, 76 years ago today. If you've never seen the film, do yourself a favor and check it out. Hopefully you'll find much to love about Casablanca.