Great Expectations. Seeing CASABLANCA for the first time

Tonight I have a date with Rick and Ilsa… the most famous movie couple from the classic of all classics, Casablanca. Turner Classic Movies is bringing the 1942 film to almost 500 movie theaters nationwide as part of a 70th Anniversary event, so a few of my blog friends will be seeing it too on the same time.

I knew about the movie Casablanca long before I knew it was the capital city of Morocco. I love the song ‘As Time Goes By’ (though I first heard it in Sleepless in Seattle), and I could even recite all the famous quotes:

“We’ll always have Paris.”

“Here’s to looking at you kid.”

“Play it again Sam.”
(though this line apparently was NOT uttered in the movie)

Recently I saw this one in Tumblr… “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine,”  which is perhaps my favorite as it’s packed with so much emotion even in that one single line.

Now, I don’t know how this film has eluded me for so long as I LOVE the story of unrequited love and the whole tortured soul hero wrestling between love and virtue. This will also mark the first time I’d ever seen Humphrey Bogart in anything. Yes I have never seen ANY of his films before, even though my mother has said a few times that Humphrey Bogart is my dad’s all time favorite actor. Some even called my dad ‘Bogey’ at times, perhaps when he was working in the film industry back in the 50s and 60s. I have only seen Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound so far and was really enthralled by her beauty and grace, so I’m looking forward to seeing her in something else.

So it seems that this film has everything going for it that I can’t possibly not fall head over heels in love with it the moment I walked out of the theater… I mean, it not only won Oscar’s Best Picture in 1943, but has been repeatedly voted as the most romantic American movie of all time. If people were asked to name one of the most famous movie from Hollywood Golden Age, no doubt most of them will say Casablanca. So you see, the thing is, my expectation for this movie is now so ginormous that I’m a bit worried the movie simply can’t meet it. What if I’m [gasp] disappointed … find it boring, or worse, pointless? [wince]

I know a lot of you who adore this movie are surely thinking, ‘Ruth, not even possible, there’s a reason this movie stands the test of time…”  Trust me, I really want to like, no love this movie and concur with its cemented iconic film status. Well, perhaps the best way is not to think too much about it and watch this tonight as if I had never heard about this film before… we’ll see how that goes 😀

I’ll just leave you with this absolutely gorgeous behind the scene photo of cinematographer Arthur Edeson filming the airport farewell scene with Bogart and Bergman…

… and also Max Steiner’s brilliant score from the film:

So who still hasn’t seen this film? I’m also curious if you’ve ever been in my shoes about another classic film.

46 thoughts on “Great Expectations. Seeing CASABLANCA for the first time

  1. Ruth,

    I too am going to see this gem tonight for the first time in a theater. On the BIG screen as it was intended. I can barely contain my excitement. I am very excited for you. I hate hearing/reading buzz on films before I see them as it undoubtedly skews my reaction to a film. But in this case, that cannot be helped. As you say, I can’t see how you won’t love this but I’d be a little “nervous” in your shoes as well.

    Tonight I’ll see it “as if it were the first time” and can’t wait to get your reaction!

    Enjoy your time in Casablanca.


    1. Woo hoo! I can see how you’re thrilled as you’ve seen it and love this film, Aurora. I guess you’re right that the ‘hype’ has been around for a while for this film but at least it’s hype from the actual film, not just trailers/clips, etc. ahah so I guess it merits all that.

      I am optimistic that I will indeed enjoy this one!

  2. paulaguthat

    I too am always in danger of hyping up a picture so that it can’t possibly live up to my expectations, but I think you will LOVE it! Also I love that so many people i know are going to be seeing this at the same exact time. It’s like the world’s biggest TCM Party 🙂

  3. I just saw this the end of last year. One of the beautiful classic indeed, but I don’t know if it’s the most romantic movies I’ve seen. I just love Humphrey Bogart’s performance in it, such a gentlemen. Ingrid Bergman was soo beautiful, her face looked glowing (did they add an effect or something, I don’t know). So maybe your father look like Bogart? 😉 It’s okay if you didn’t like it, since you always have Roman Holiday (or other Peck’s romance movie?) :))

    1. Glad you like this one Andina. Yeah I heard that the lighting for this film was made to make Ingrid’s face to glow radiantly. He..he.. no I don’t think my dad resembled Bogart at all. Oh you mentioned Roman Holiday, now I wish one day I could see that on the big screen… seeing Gregory walking in that finale I probably would pass out from excitement, ahah.

  4. Brilliant.

    It is so nice to realise dreams sometimes.

    I have’t seen this, all the way through. I have seen bits. Maybe one day I will

    I thought for some reason it was really long and that put me off, but it is only 100 mins… maybe it was Gone with the Wind i was thinking of!!

    Good luck my friend

    1. Hey, don’t dis Gone With the Wind, that’s one of my fave classics! 🙂 I think I love that one because it’s one of the first 3 Hollywood movies I saw a girl, even before I could understand much English.

  5. Excellent post. Being my all-time favorite movie, I’ve seen this one many times over the years since the mid-70s, when I first caught it on television. This will be only the second time I’ve seen it on the big screen, though. I think it was sometime in the 80s I watched it at a revival theatre (believe it or not, that one is a hazy memory). It’s one of kind, alright. I hope you enjoy this film, Ruth. Whether it rises or falls below your expectations, I think you’ll have the memory of the event that you’ll treasure as a film enthusiast.

    “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

    1. That is awesome Michael, you must be so thrilled to see it on the big screen once again. Can’t wait to see all those wonderful quotes come to life!

  6. Yay! I think you’re going to love it, although I’d say that it’s a subtle great. There’s no doubt it’s quality, but it’s not … BIG, somehow. I know how you feel about great expectations … I was soooo excited to see The Philadelphia Story a while back, and I was afraid I wouldn’t like it as much as I hoped. I shouldn’t have worried, though. I think I didn’t stop smiling until at least an hour after the movie was over.

    Hope you enjoy!!

    1. I think it’s my own fault that I’ve been reading so much about this movie the past week that I myself am hyping it too much, ahah. Oh I still want to see The Philadelphia Story! That’s Cary Grant right, or James Stewart?? Anyway, I heard it’s a GREAT film.

  7. Oh yeah, tonight is the big Casablanca night. Awesome! Glad to hear you will finally be seeing this, Ruth. I think seeing it on a big screen with a large crowd will really give you the full effect. I was a little underwhelmed upon my initial viewing, but as I sat down to collect my thoughts I realized just how much I really enjoyed the movie. Have fun tonight!

    1. It happens sometimes doesn’t it, how your feeling about a movie changes hours/days after you watched it. That’s why I’m gonna wait a few days before reviewing this, just let it sits for a bit.

  8. jackdeth72

    Hi, Ruth:

    I’m thrilled that you are finally achieving a personal wish! The big screen is the right venue for such a film.

    Take some Kleenex with you for the last ten minutes.

    Revel in many of Rick’s offhand answers to impertinent questions.

    Smile at the myriad ways Peter Lorre could take portraying slimy characters to new levels and create a cottage industry.

    You’re in for a treat! Relish it as much as the rest of us.

    1. Hi Jack sorry your classic review will be posted tomorrow, I just want to get this one to commemorate my Casablanca viewing 🙂

      I will relish it for the rest of you lot, ahah, the dialog does sound brilliant!

  9. PrairieGirl

    This film is not the greatest of all time in my book, but it’s very good. With the onset of WWII shaping events in all of the characters, it’s unique and as you mentioned, Flixy, the sheer quantity of fabulous one-liners in this movie is worth viewing it for alone. And those 40s clothes, LOVE ’em! See you at Cooper or at the theater ;-D

    1. Hi Becky, I’m so glad you came w/ me to see Casablanca! Yes the one-liners sure are fabulous, and the set pieces/clothes, etc are wonderful. I told Ivan he’s got to give this a watch, in fact I’ll make him watch the Blu-ray! 🙂

  10. markuswelby1

    I think we all have one of these films on our list that are so classic that it just seems crazy that we haven’t seen it yet! Mine is Ben-Hur. I always catch scenes of it, but never took the full viewing plunge! Hope you enjoyed Casablanca! Just saw it a few years ago myself!

    1. What? You haven’t seen Ben Hur?? Oh wow, I hope you see it soon. Can’t imagine people not blown away by that, I mean the chariot scene alone is magnificent, yes even to this day it still amazes me, but the story of redemption is what really gets me in the end.

  11. Glad you finally got to see this Ruth! It’s one of those movies that only gets better with more viewings and as time goes by. (WOOT, see what I did there ahaha). I guess that’s why it regularly is mentioned as the best movie of all-time.

  12. Ted S.

    You’re not the only who haven’t seen it Ruth, I’ve never seen this film myself and to be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever see it. Like I said many times, I just can’t watch films from that era without getting bore and also I’m not a big fan of B & W films.

    Have fun!

    1. Ahah well I don’t use you as a standard as I know you don’t like black & white films, Ted. I appreciate the LOOK of black & white films, it’s the story, pacing, acting, etc. that sometimes takes a bit of getting used to.

      1. Indeed Ted, now that I’ve seen it I definitely recommend it. The script is so sharp, the movie’s so full of great one liners! So for that alone it’s worth a watch, and of course you’ll likely appreciate Ingrid Bergman’s beauty. Trust me, the black and white cinematography looks beautiful!!

  13. I’m not a huge fan but I can see why it’s so well loved. It has some truly classic, great lines. Hope you enjoy it as much as you expect to!

  14. I have not seen CASABLANCA or GONE WITH THE WIND. I have tried GWTW, but after the first 20 minutes I turned it off. I bought CASABLANCA, kept it for a while, and then discarded it. Just neither of these interest me. BEN-HUR and CITIZEN KANE are two oldies that are goodies definitely worth their accolades.

    Hope you like CASABLANCA. And on the big screen – that’s gotta be pretty phenomenal. I would love to see HUR on the big screen, or KING KONG (33) for that matter. Awww, hope I wish…

    1. What, you turned off GWTW?? Bummer!! Well I think I might make Casablanca part of my film collection now that I’ve seen it on the big screen, I’ll see if I can get a cheaper BD of it as the ultimate box set is to be released soon.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Ben-Hur though, yes that definitely is a masterpiece even by today’s standards. I’d LOVE to see that one on the big screen. That chariot scene would’ve been a wonder to behold!

  15. It is a lovely picture and like others have said, it improves upon repeat viewings. There are always those little details I pick up on during repeat viewings that make it worthwhile.

    Hooray for catching a classic on the big screen 🙂

    I was trying to catch this in NYC but I had to work 😦

    Hope you enjoyed it!

    1. Now that I’ve seen it, I totally understand what you mean Iba. I can see why people love this so much and I certainly don’t mind seeing it again. In fact when I got home I told my hubby that he’s GOT to see this film!!

  16. Oh wow – enjoy it. I’ve only seen it once and that was on DVD, I really enjoyed it but can’t help feeling that it would have been more magical on the big screen. My favourite moment is actually nothing to do with the romance but is “La Marseillaise”

    Look forward to seeing what you think.

    1. Oh yeah, that ‘La Marseillaise’ singing part had me all choked up!! It’s such a great defiance moment against the Nazis, LOVE it!

      Well, look for my special Casablanca post next week 🙂

  17. Jeff

    I went to the Fathom Events TCM Casablanca showing last night at our local theatre. It was fantastic. I have one suggestion: Play the “Making of” video AFTER the movie next time. I took my 2 daughters (ages 18 & 21) and one of their friends to the show. None had seen the movie before. The intro video showed every important scene! It didn’t play the ending (thank goodness) but everything else. It really took away from their experience. Plus, if the movie had just started initially it would have been more like seeing it in the theatre 70 years ago. I guarantee you everyone there would have stayed for the TCM video after the movie! Anxious to hear what others thought . . . (by the way – my daughters and their friends loved the movie)

    1. Hi Jeff! Oh yeah, I totally agree that they should play the ‘behind the scenes’ stuff AFTER!! I mean, what the heck, I’m glad they left the ending part out but they pretty much gave away a lot of the plot. That was a real dumb I dea I thought. Yep, I agree people would’ve been ok staying for the ‘making of’, especially as these classic movies don’t have the credits sequence.

      Thanks for dropping by and letting us know your experience!

  18. And, I missed this… and now I’m a sad panda since my whole New Year’s resolution this year is to see movies just like Casablanca on the big screen.

    1. Oh I’m sure there’ll be others in the future John! This was quite popular so I hope there’ll be more classics shown in the big screen soon.

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