The Timeless Love Story of 'Casablanca'
BY ISABELLA SOARES
PUBLISHED NOV 26, 2022
Rick and Ilsa's fated relationship continues to be relevant
to audiences 80 years later.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as Rick and Ilsa in CasablancaImage via Warner Bros.
From black and white to colors on the screen, film has
changed its visuals multiple times throughout the years. Yet, there is one
thing that remains the same within this art vehicle, which is the power that
these stories have to connect with audiences in different walks of life. This
statement rings true to the 1942 classic Casablanca, a story about love,
political tensions, and selflessness. Directed by Michael Curtiz, this film is
set amidst the early stages of World War II in a time when refugees sought to
flee from the Germans and move to America. Before they could pack their bags
and resort to safety from an imminent battle, these people would stay at
Casablanca, Morocco in order to obtain the visas that were necessary for them
to travel to their destination. It is in a moment of chaos and uncertainty that
two lovers reunite years later and put their love to the test for the greater
good. Despite its release dating back to 80 years ago, audiences from various
generations can still connect to these characters and their hardships, trying
to achieve a happy ending. Even though the grand finale isn't what is
traditionally expected within a romantic tale, it is still emotional to see
that the greatest trait of true love is not being oblivious to what is
happening outside the relationship.
One of the last lines that the protagonist utters to his significant other is: "I'm not good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." This line is significant because it reinforces the film's message of morals and duty to one's community, over an individual's happiness. Although the film is set in World War II, a conflict that many people nowadays didn't live through, it is still possible to connect this message to our reality. When looking at the situation in Ukraine or even the issues that arose all over the world because of the pandemic, the importance of caring for the greater good over one's own interests is evident. The ending scene with Lazlo and Ilsa leaving Casablanca while Rick and Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) cover up their trace is the true embodiment of selflessness for a greater purpose.
Overall, Casablanca continues to be a timeless Hollywood production because its message of peace and duty is universal. Through a perfectly crafted score to accompany the various phases of love and political tensions of that period to the well-developed script that contribute to each character's complexity, there is much to admire about this classic as a whole. Yet, its overlying message portrayed through Rick and Ilsa's love story makes this narrative attainable to any given moment. People continue to experience love and face hard decisions when it comes to their relationship's future, so using this ever-present element of human existence to symbolize the importance of the greater good is what makes this film worthy of its notoriety.