Speechwriting: Corporate, Weddings, Retirement

1/15/08

Casablanca and The Greatest Generation

Casablanca may or may not be 'the greatest movie of all time', but it holds it own. A favorite for me, it, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, were my first two DVD purchases back in 2002.

What Casablanca undeniably has it 'love and glory.' And 'story'. You know the song. That's probably why I find myself indulging in the old movies, and skipping the new ones.

Bogie, in guise of Rick Blaine, tavern/night club owner in Morocco, is in all regards a secular humanist, and a selfish one to boot. Keeps his head low, lives for himself, and sticks his neck out for no one. Ain't that America? Except for that matter in Iraq. Our neck is stuck out there.

Back to Blaine. He's been burnt by the beautiful Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman. She gone done him wrong, as far as he knew, but he did not know the whole picture. She had a greater mission than a mere affair with an American in Paris. When called to leave Rick behind, she cried, but did not hesitate.

The story, packed with subtext, subplots, co-plots, is as layered as any movie. The core story, in fact, might not survive without the rest. So intertwined, they are organic, crucial to the entirety.

Quotable to nth degree, and misquoted almost as much, Casablanca is iconic in American cinema and culture. Today, it reminds of a day when freedom was fought for no matter where it was threatened, and American were willing to stand strong.

Even so, in Hungary, we dropped the ball in 1956. Our greatest generation also was racist, blacklisted communists without justification, and interned Americans of Japanese ancestry. Casablanca conveniently skips this, but the movie is not about the world. It is about Rick Blaine.

Love. Honor. War. Hate. Compromise. Bribes. Extortion. Murder. Denial. -- What more do you want?

Truth.

Dooley Wilson singing As Time Goes By in Casablanca.


As Time Goes By
music and words by Herman Hupfeld
© 1931 Warner Bros. Music Corporation, ASCAP

This day and age we're living in
Gives cause for apprehension
With speed and new invention
And things like fourth dimension.
Yet we get a trifle weary
With Mr. Einstein's theory.
So we must get down to earth at times
Relax relieve the tension

And no matter what the progress
Or what may yet be proved
The simple facts of life are such
They cannot be removed.

You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo
They still say, "I love you."
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by.

Moonlight and love songs
Never out of date.
Hearts full of passion
Jealousy and hate.
Woman needs man
And man must have his mate
That no one can deny.

It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die.
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

Oh yes, the world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by.

Casablanca

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