I’ve discovered Turner Classic Movies on HBO Max and thought it would be a good idea to watch some of the “classics” I’d never seen. I started with Citizen Kane, and now I’ve moved on to Casablanca.
Of course it suffers from being out of time, but overall this movie stood up well. For example, though 78 years old, it’s actually quotable, and a Nazi gets shot. The story isn’t what you typically see today, so the ending isn’t what you may expect from today’s formula. From what little I know about Gone with the Wind (soon to be viewed), it also avoids the trite ending. Maybe these elements were typical in the late 30s and early 40s — I don’t have enough data points to say — but in any case it helps Casablanca stand out. Dooley Wilson was great as Sam. The primary setting is a crowded bar, and his occasional musical numbers help set those scenes, but the movie smartly moves on from that setting when the story needs to go forward. As Time Goes By remains a classic.
All that said, the best part about watching this movie is that I now understand completely one of the best Saturday Night Live skits I’ve ever seen.
Kate McKinnon is so good that she gets the final word in this post. As always, YMMV.