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.

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