July 14, 2005

The Bastille Day post.

Over in the comments at Sheila Variations, they are discussing the ending of "Casablanca":
Sadly, I think if I was on that tarmac, I'd go with Rick Blaine. If his WORK is so important to Lazslo, then let Lazslo marry his work!! Let me have my grand passion and leave me alone!! Greater good, my ass. We only live once, and I want to gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
Then the discussion gets sidetracked to whatever anyone feels like saying about the movie or whatever (including a half-eaten grilled cheese sandwich), and someone writes:
One of my favorite moments in the movie is Bogie giving the subtle head-nod across the bar to the orchestra - for them to pick up Marseillese ... member that? Apparently, they did that shot before they knew how the scene would go - so in real life, Bogie had no idea what he was nodding to. Feckin' amazing - it is such a moving moment. Bogart, the "I stick my neck out for nobody" cynic - giving Lazslo and the orchestra permission to drown out the Nazis. But Bogart was just told "Okay, we need a shot of you nodding - So nod." Bogie, man. He blows me away.

And someone else says:
That whole scene - Henreid upping the ante on Strasser, paying the band, the bandleader looking at Rick, the nod, the whole crowd scene - is the most gloriously manipulative scene ever! I laugh and cry and sing along and wriggle with schmaltzfreude and watch it over and over...

And then:
that scene of the orchestra rising to the occasion - and the crying French woman (the one who was wasted in the first scene and had to be escorted out of the bar) - she KILLS ME!! Crying and singing along to that song with all her might.
And all this talk of the Marseillaise reminds me that it is Bastille Day and that I wanted to link to Nina's post exposing the alarming words of the French national anthem (which begins with an innocent enough call to children to come along):
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts...

Let impure blood
Water our furrows
Reveling in cutting the throats of the impure? A bit like our modern terrorist enemies, isn't it? But a national anthem can be a call to arms, and it worked brilliantly as a call to arms in "Casablanca."


Dirty Harry said...

No matter how many times I see "Casablanca" the writing never fails to blow me away. It may not be the greatest movie ever made (certainly in the top ten) but it's the greatest script ever written. The characters, dialogue, structure... It's an amazing piece of work.

EddieP said...

My citeria for great movie is: How many times have I watched it before, and do I look forward to watching it again?

Casablanca is right at the top of that list.

Scipio said...

God bless America, but that's one fine-ass scene in a great movie.

miklos rosza said...

It's funny. When I spent some time in Morocco in the 80s, I couldn't help but look forward to seeing Casablanca -- simply called "Casa" by everyone over there. But whereas Tangier lived up to any dream I may have had of it, Casablanca seemed to me ugly and sinister. A big city with donkey carts downtown, mean looks given one by young males who were in retrospect the precursors of the jihadis.

But when I saw the movie again this year it moved myself and my wife (she's here from France, had never seen it before) to tears.

lindsey said...

And it's still shocking that Hollywood managed to release that film in 1942. Only months after Pearl Harbor. Why is today so sucky compared to yesterday? Can you imagine Hollywood making a film like that only a year or two after 911?