Friday, August 6, 2010

A Shot, a Beer and a Bogart Film...

...are all in order so don't pester me tonight. I got home from work at about 9:15 and by 9:25 I had eaten dinner, cracked open a cold one and poured myself a wee dram of Kirschwasser. I also saw that Casablanca was about to begin om TMC. It is not the best Bogart movie, though it comes close to the best - The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre but does not quite reach the heights of either. Nor is it near the best performance given by him, he was far better in The Caine Mutiny (even though he had throat cancer at the time and was gravely ill from it), The Maltese Falcon (the first teaming up of Bogart, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet), The African Queen (a stellar performance) and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (possibly his best character portrayal ever) and I consider the two latter two as a toss up for his best performances. Yet Casablanca is an undisputed classic and the favorite of many and it is one of the greatest films of all time even though Ingrid Bergman thought it just a regular movie and one she hoped would never again be shown after her death. It is a movie that is just fun to watch over and over again. Even though both Bogart and Bergman tried to quit the film both saying it was unbelievable, it certainly is the best love story he was ever in. Yes, as a love story, I suppose it was even better than The African Queen which was most definitely a love story in that he gave up the ship, the African Queen, for a woman. It had, by far, the best musical score of any of his films. And besides being a great thriller and suspense film it showed the absolutely right anti-tyranny message throughout.

Maybe it was its unbelievable fantasy like quality, right in the face of the Nazi takeover of much of the world in 1942, that made it such a wonderful film - one that planted the seed of hope in all who saw it, one that reminded us of the magic of love, the power of righteousness and the unfailing ability of right to triumph over wrong even when the odds were overwhelmingly against it so as to make it hopefully believable. Or maybe it was that there were so many bit actors wo played big forceful roles - the little people made a difference in this film so why not in the world too. Watch the roles of Lorre, of Greenstreet, of Henreid, of Raines, of Veldt of Sakall, that of smaller seemigly insignifcant roles that really made an impression. Those waiters and bar tenders, waitresses and even the customers singing together in force in opposition to the Germans, the parts of all the regular people were stunning and heartwrenching. Maybe that is what made this film so great, so hopeful, so believable. Maybe both Bogart and Bergman should have believed in it just a little bit because surely enough of the rest of the world has done just that since its debut.

It is only too bad that the Victor Lorre part was so, shall I say, short lived in this one. He played a great squirmy little villain.

Now that I have written that, I am going to watch the rest of it - hopefully undisturbed even by my own penchant for blogging.

All the best,