Casablanca: A Poem As Film Review

November 18, 2015 at 8:08 pm (Film, Movies, Poetry) (, , , , , , )

Casablanca: A Poem As Film Review

Casablanca the film
set in early 1940s Casablanca the place
A microcosm of the world
when evil reigns
The characters in this film and place
reflect those varying examples of humanity
that populate the world in such perilous times
Ugarte (Peter Lorre) the scoundrel who trades and makes his money off people’s misery
who’s willing to sell people hope… for a huge price.
Signor Ferrari (Sydney Greenstreet) a crook but one not totally devoid of humanity
He makes his living off catering to people’s vices
but somehow is willing to let people’s souls remain their own
Major Strasser (Conrad Veight) the Nazi and representative of all who are evil for evil’s sake
who wish to control human souls and human minds and break human wills and crush human hearts so that all will succumb and bend to their own Evil Heartless Will To Power.
Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) a man not really good but then again not really evil
a man who’s willing to straddle the fence and see which way the wind is blowing
a man who’s quite simply willing to just go along
(when confronted with such a man, I can imagine in my mind, an old Southern Gospel choir singing, “Isn’t he a lot like you and me?”).
Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) a true hero… a noble soul… an extremely rare individual in today’s world
And like most noble and heroic souls is inspired by Truth and Love (in Laszlo’s case, the love and support of a beautiful and truly good woman Ilsa)
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) a noble and heroic soul but like many noble and heroic souls who have hit their head too many times against a brick wall (either of human evil or far more prevalent human indifference)
have retreated into a seemingly impenetrable hard shell of cynicism
For most souls like Rick’s the breaking point was a rejected love… a time of happiness and then inexplicably their love just simply vanished from their lives
Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) a good and beautiful woman… a gentle soul… a woman without malice… a woman who truly and absolutely through no fault of her own… finds herself in love with two men
Other people populate this microcosm of Casablanca that reflects our larger world…
Sam (Dooley Wilson) the entertainer whose mission in life is to bring laughter and song and music and above all hope into people’s lives, to, in various forms, tell “the same old story A fight for love and glory”
Yvonne (Madeleine LeBeau) a fallen woman who, one would think had forever turned her back on the nobler things in life, but when in an act of heroism, Victor Laszlo leads the band in singing La Marseillaise in the cafe to drown out Major Strasser and his Nazis singing a German militaristic song, Yvonne joins in singing La Marseillaise inspired by Laszlo’s example of true heroic courage
Annina (Joy Page) the young refugee woman who finds herself in evil times and an impossible place who must be willing to make compromises and sacrifices in order to save herself and the one she loves… even if that sacrifice means sacrificing her virtue
Jan (Helmut Dantine) who is Anna’s husband – a naive idealist who thinks somehow that luck on its own will come his way and is blind to the operations of evil and corruption in the society all around him

And so all of them are thrown together into this cocktail of good and evil, love and hate, heroism and indifference, honour and betrayal that is Casablanca
Such was the world in 1942.
And such is our world fast becoming today.
But the sad part for today’s world is that there are too many Major Strassers and too many Ugartes and far far far too many Captain Renaults
and nary a Victor Laszlo, Rick or Ilsa to be found.

-A poem written by Christopher
Monday November 9th 2015.


  1. doesitevenmatter3 said,

    VERY creative idea, Chris! Love this!
    And it is VERY relevant to today…a film/story that will always be relate-able. Yes, sadly, too many U’s and too many CR’s in our world. šŸ˜¦

    • Dracul Van Helsing said,

      Yes, when I first wrote this poem back on November 9th, little did I realize a few days later, how relevant this poem would become.

      I was thinking that when I watched the news and watched thousands of young Parisiennes flowing out of the Paris subways and into downtown Paris defiantly singing La Marsellaise only 24 hours after ISIS had so brutally attacked the area..

  2. Hyperion said,

    This makes me want to watch the movie again. Those were the days when a movie was carried by the script and the actors and not by the computer generated explosions, unfocused action, and glorification of a bad lack of good graces. We’ve changed somehow, haven’t we?

    • Dracul Van Helsing said,

      Yes, we’ve very much changed, Daniel.

      We seem to have even forgotten our history when it comes to movies.

      The past couple of months, I’ve noticed numerous entertainment news stories where young actresses have complained that Hollywood has never had good strong powerful female roles for women in the movies.

      Now that may be true of contemporary Hollywood.

      But I’ve often wondered have the women who make these statements ever watched a Norma Shearer movie?

      To say that the roles Norma Shearer played weren’t good, powerful and strong female roles, one would have to be a total airhead to say that..

      Now I’ll have to admit that I had never heard of Norma Shearer before in my life until I got cable television for the first time in my life back in 2011 and TCM (Turner Classic Movies) happened to be included in the package.

      But since that time, I have watched several Norma Shearer movies and every single time I’m always totally blown away by every single performance she gives in every movie I’ve seen her in.

      In my opinion, she’s probably the greatest American film actress of all time.

      Even greater than those classic actresses I had heard of before prior to getting cable and TCM- Bette Davis, Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford

      I’d tell any young female drama student who truly wanted to become a great actress in film- that she’d have no better teacher than to watch a Norma Shearer film and study her performances.

      • Hyperion said,

        It’s possible Norma Shearer was replaced in the strong female role by Hollywood with Catwoman, Aeon Flux, and Kim Kardashian’s powerful bootie. Not my idea of a strong female role, but I’m a wrinkly old dragon that blows soot instead of flame, what do I know?

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        I remember that wrinkly old but extremely wise dragon Kilgharrah (whose voice was played by actor John Hurt) on the TV series Merlin certainly provided wise and profound insight.

        And when Merlin and Arthur did not pay heed to Kilgharrah’s advice, that was when disaster usually prevailed in the Kingdom of Camelot.

      • Hyperion said,

        Yes, Kilgharrah was a distant relative. šŸ˜‰

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        LOL ! šŸ˜€

      • Hyperion said,

        Ok! I exaggerated a little, well…maybe a lot. LOL! šŸ˜€

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        I noticed just in the past couple of weeks a new TV commercial that has a talking sheep in it.

        But I noticed the voice of the talking sheep was the voice of John Hurt.

        And I wondered is this a subliminal message telling the world that a dragon is currently posing as a sheep? šŸ˜€

      • Hyperion said,

        Ana just provided me with historical reference that showed Vlad the Impaler was signed into the Order of the Dragon as a child. He posed as a sheep in the Sultan’s court and later used his knowledge of the Turks to defeat them. They’ve been playing both sides for some time now.

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Yes, I knew Vlad III Tepes (Vlad The Impaler) was a member of the Order of the Dragon.

        As was his father Vlad II of Wallachia.

        In fact his father Vlad II was called Dracul- which means Dragon.

        And that’s why Vlad III was called Dracula – meaning son of Dracul or son of the Dragon.

      • Hyperion said,

        I am always amazed at the depth of your knowledge and ability to recall so many things in great detail. I found the Order of the Dragon very intriguing especially since it fell away in its influence after the founder kicked the bucket. This is similar to Gengis Khan’s empire crumbling after his demise. It always means that a strong leader failed to train a replacement and that followers had no desire to do anything but follow. Unlike the Templars, who failed horribly to evolve thier brotherhood and eschewed literacy and documentation for secrecy. They did manage to indoctrinate their followers into a strong society that only failed when thier support from the crown and pope favored avarice and greed over loyalty, faith, and religion. Still, they lasted about 300 years as formidable force. The Teutonic knights were little more than a fraternity used to keep the peasantry in check and keep the crown nervous, so the fraternities faded to what they are now.

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Yes in 1307 after France’s Kng had arrested Jacques de Molay and most of the Templar leaders, many Templars fled to Scotland to seek sanctuary from Robert The Bruce.

        A few years earlier, Bruce had been excommunicated by the Pope and so Bruce was quite happy to provide refuge to these new papal enemies- the Templars.

        Later the Templars helped Bruce defeat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

        This is probably why Scottish Rite Freemasonry has so many Templar symbols and titles in their ceremonies and lodges.

        It goes back to the Templar legacy in Scotland dating back to the days of Robert The Bruce.

      • Hyperion said,

        I’m fascinated with all of this. I may have to do some kind of bizarre and pointless story on it as soon as I can get my muse to come back with a good idea. šŸ˜€

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Maybe watch the TV program America Unearthed with forensic geologist Scott whatever his last name is.

        Personally I think he’s one forensic geologist who’s over indulged on eating Sherrie’s magic mushrooms.

        He’s always going on about how the Templars travelled to America centuries before Columbus and possibly buried the Holy Grail here.

        He thinks modern day Scottish Rite Freemasons in America might possibly know where the Holy Grail is buried.

        Watching that program may serve as your muse.

        Or if that fails, you can always overindulge on eating Sherrie’s magic mushrooms yourself. šŸ˜‰

      • Hyperion said,

        I think I’ll try a few mushrooms and watch the show. It’s bound to create quite a story in my imagination. If I can remember to write it all down. šŸ™‚

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Maybe express your thoughts verbally while watching the show and have a cassette tape recorder next to you that’s turned on if you happen to own one of those antiques from our childhood- today’s teens no doubt think I’m eating magic mushrooms as I try to describe to them one of those old apparatuses.

      • Hyperion said,

        I remember we had one the size of a college biology book for about the same price. Now with a smart phone it seems impossible they could ever have existed.

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Yes, one of these days I’ll have to figure out how to record myself on my iPhone.

        And even how to save photos.

        I can take photos but I can’t seem to figure out how to save them.

        When I take them, I notice they disappear the next time I open my iPhone.

        I’m so technologically inept.

        I watched the Peter Sellers movie Being There about Chancey Gardener on TCM Classic Movies a couple of weeks ago.

        The last time I saw it was when it came out in theaters.

        It struck me how much I’m like Chancey Gardener at least as far as new technology goes.

        I remember at the end of the movie, Washington power brokers were discussing that they really should run Chancey Gardener for President as he’d be the ideal candidate.

        Maybe the real life Washington power brokers should run me for President.

        After all, Barack Obama has now paved the way for Presidents being born out of the country despite what the Constitution says.

        And I have to say in all humility (and I really do mean in all humility), I think I would be better than the entire crop of bozos they’ve got running currently.

        At least that way I won’t have to worry about paying rent for the next few years if I move into the White House.

      • Hyperion said,

        I’d vote for you, Chris! And with Renfield as VP, Amadeus as Chief of Staff, with Micelangelo as the Sec Def, how could we go wrong? There is an app on the iPhone called Photos, you should find all your pictures there, probably hundreds of them by now. šŸ™‚

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Oh yes, I check those.

        Nothing there of photos I’ve taken using the iPhone camera there.

        When I went there just now there are a few dozen screen shots I’ve taken of the menu page and some web pages that I must have inadvertently taken on those occasions where I pressed the wrong button while doing something.

        Yes, that sounds like a great cabinet right there that you’ve just mentioned. šŸ™‚

      • Hyperion said,

        That’s a real mystery, Chris. You might be blasting all of your photos to the aether world. Perhaps some porn site is bumfuzzled all to hell about those strange pictures of the Kraken, Medusa, Sherrielock, and others.

      • Dracul Van Helsing said,

        Yes, no doubt, Daniel. šŸ˜€

        LOL !

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