2017-11-15 / Editorials

Let’s go to the movies

Other Voices
Mitch Clarke

I love movies. I used to love going to a theater to see a movie. In fact, at one point in my life, I went to a theater four or five times a month to see movies.

I got out of the habit a few years ago, and now I seldom venture inside a theater.

But last weekend, I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do. I saw the classic movie “Casablanca” on the big screen.

I’m an old movie buff. I like dialogue and intriguing plot twists. I don’t need a lot of shooting and blood and explosions to enjoy a movie. In fact, if a movie has all those things, I’m probably going to hate it.

What got me to the theater is something called the “Big Screen Classics,” a film series from Turner Classic Movies. Already in 2017, I’ve seen “North by Northwest,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “The Godfather,” “Bonnie and Clyde” and “E.T.” at the theater. Next month, the series ends with “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

But last weekend was the one I was waiting for. “Casablanca” is, in my humble opinion, the greatest movie ever made. I saw it the first time when I was a freshman in college, and I’ve seen it hundreds of times since then, but only on a TV screen.

I have five DVD copies. I have a “Casablanca” movie poster on my wall. I seriously considered naming my new springer spaniel puppy Ilsa for the Ingrid Bergman character, before finally deciding on Milly.

Casablanca is full of great writing and great one-liners that have become part of the American lexicon. “Round up the usual suspects” and “Here’s looking at you, kid” both come from this movie. “Play it again, Sam,” widely attributed to the movie, is actually never spoken by any character.

It also has a cast of stars and bit players who all make their mark with their scenes. Humphrey Bogart has long been a favorite actor of mine. Many of his movies rank among my favorites. And Bergman is as beautiful in this movie as any woman in any movie.

The scenes between Bogey and Bergman are electric. In one, Rick is remembering their love affair in Paris at the time of the Nazi occupation in World War II.

“I remember every detail,” he tells Ilsa. “The Germans wore gray. You wore blue.”

There are other scenes I love.

In one scene, Capt. Renault has just been told by Maj. Strasser that he must find a reason to close Rick’s Café. As Renault announces that everyone must clear the room, Rick demands to know on what grounds.

“I’m shocked, SHOCKED, to find that gambling is going on in here,” Renault says.

About that time, the croupier walks up and hands Renault a fist full of money.

“Your winnings, sir,” the croupier says.

And of course, there’s the airport scene when Rick tells Ilsa, “We’ll always have Paris,” as she has to choose between two men she loves. That scene is maybe the greatest ever recorded on film. Of course, it ends with Renault and Rick walking off into the fog.

“Louie,” Rick says, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

Seeing “Casablanca” on the big screen was as thrilling as I thought it would be. There’s a second showing on Wednesday night.

I’ll be there.

Mitch Clarke, a native of Blakely, is the editor of AccessWDUN. com in Gainesville. He can be contacted at mitch.clarke@gmail.com. Read previous columns at www.accesswdun.com/ blog/mitch.

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