Monday, November 13, 2017
Something that has stuck with me, ever since I first read Roger Ebert's review of CASABLANCA, was his description of it as "The Movie". I knew exactly what he meant by that, and still agree with the assessment. Although I prefer to avoid such hyperbole as "greatest", "best", "most important" and other such ultimately meaningless platitudes in talking about films, there is something about CASABLANCA that has elevated it to a level of enduring cultural iconic status that is, I think, perhaps unique.
It was especially fun seeing the film on the big screen in a state-of-the-art megaplex (the Towson Cinemark theater). We went for the 2pm show but it was already sold out, so we got tickets for 7pm and it played to a packed house. Some of the Bogart cult was in attendance, complete with trenchcoats and fedoras, reciting the iconic lines.
Especially in this day and age, when the moviegoing experience seems to be split between bigger, louder, and emptier Hollywood fare, and the museum-like reverence of the art and revival house, it can be a breath of fresh air to view a classic like CASABLANCA as a living, breathing, vital experience, as fresh today as it was 75 years ago.