"Casablanca": An historical Movie

Essay by [Abby]College, UndergraduateA+, July 2006

download word file, 3 pages 4.0

Downloaded 45 times

In "Casablanca", the remarkable themes of unhappy love and self-sacrifice set this romantic melodrama apart from most in its genre. These themes are best expressed in the interactions of the three main characters: Victor Laszlo, a heroic political leader; Ilsa Lund, an enigmatic femme fatale; and Richard (Rick) Blaine, a seemingly morally ambiguous1 night club owner. An unusual love triangle forms with the two men's mutual love for the intermediary woman. Unlike the romantic triangle which includes the betrayed husband and the victorious lover, this situation results in unhappiness and loss for all involved. All three are willing to sacrifice for this love, regardless of the suffering that results from its pursuit.

Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine, the owner of an upscale cafe/bar/gambling den2 in the Moroccan city of Casablanca which attracts a mixed clientele of Vichy3 French and Nazi officials, refugees and thieves. Rick is a bitter and cynical man, but still displays a clear dislike for the fascist part of his clientele.

A petty crook, Guillermo Ugarte (Peter Lorre), arrives in Rick's club with "letters of transit" he has obtained by killing some German couriers. The papers are signed by a French general, and allow the bearer to travel at will around a very controlled by Nazis Europe, including to neutral Lisbon, Portugal, and from there to the United States. These papers are almost priceless to any of the continual stream of refugees who end up stuck in Casablanca. Ugarte plans to make his fortune by selling them to the highest bidder, who is due to arrive at the club later that night. However, before the exchange can take place, he is killed trying to evade the local police, under the command of Rick's close friend Captain Renault (Claude Rains). As a corrupt Vichy official, Renault accommodates...