Everyone has their own Christmas habits, age-old traditions that haven’t changed over the years.
or myself, it’s a period that revolves around the four B’s – books, baths, Bordeaux and Bogie wines.
The first three books are both easy to understand and engaging – a good one, soaking in a bubble bath with a decent red glass in hand.
The fourth and final installment of this seasonal jigsaw puzzle is one of the best movies ever made.
Released here in January 1943, Casablanca is still as engaging and enjoyable today as it was 80 years ago – a cinematic experience that has not faded with time.
The centerpiece of the film’s 1 hour 42 minute pure escape joy is Humphrey Bogart – “Bogie” – in a role that still defines him. As bar owner Rick Blaine, he was a cynical Nazi profiting Nazi and Allied hardliner, fueled by a simple, fateful mantra – “I don’t die for any cause. anyone.” His friend, local police chief Captain Renault, played by Claude Rains, calls it “a wise foreign policy”.
It’s a smart stance in a city full of spies and dangers – until the day Ingrid Bergman’s Ilsa, the love of his life, shows up with her freedom-fighting husband, just one step ahead of her. with the Gestapo in pursuit.
Bogie leads from the front – the cynical, weary mercenary who rediscovers his noble principles at the right time – all for love
“Of all the gin bars around the world, she walked into mine,” he said, bringing life to one of cinema’s most enduring lines.
And it’s not the only one. How many times have you heard or said, “This is looking at you, kid,” or perhaps “We’ll always have Paris,”?
Winning Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, Casablanca has it all – action, tension, humor and emotional punching, all too rare in cinema.
One of the standout scenes is the scene where a group of Germans swagger spontaneously singing their patriotic anthem, Die Wacht am Rhein, in Rick’s bar, only for a group of French refugees to engulf them with a challenging version of La Marseillaise. This 2022 Christmas can’t help but remember Ukraine as that sequence unfolds.
Nothing is superfluous in Casablancawith notable supporting roles – Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and of course Dooley Wilson as the immortal pianist Sam.
Bogie leads from the front – the cynical, weary mercenary who rediscovers his noble principles at the right time – all for love. What man doesn’t want to be Rick – the debonair explorer in a perfect white tuxedo.
As Captain Renault confided at one point: “If I were a woman, I should love Rick.” I hear you, brother.
To the end, Casablanca is the perfect Christmas movie – a reminder that chivalry and sacrifice never go out of style.
Or in other words – “You have to remember this/ A kiss is still a kiss/ A sigh is just a sigh/ The basics apply/ Over time.”
Casablanca RTÉ 1, Christmas Eve, 9:15 am
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/play-it-again-sam-why-casablanca-is-the-classic-christmas-film-42229135.html Play it again Sam – why Casablanca is a classic Christmas movie