1:30 PM, 7th October, 2001
Based on Everybody Comes to Rick's, a play written by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, Casablanca tells the story of a North African town under control of the Nazi's midway through the Second World War. Hollywood was not entirely pleased with the aspect of the project, and minimal resources were allocated to the film's production. The film was shot in 59 days with an in-progress script, and only with director Michael Curtiz could the film have worked. The film was moulded by the director dynamically and the outcome attests to the director's talents.
Casablanca becomes a crossing point for refugees fleeing the terror of the Second World War in Europe, full of the dispossessed who were not rich enough and not in favour enough with the Nazi's to be granted exit visas. Amid this chaos stands Rick's Caf((eacute)), the owner, Richard "Rick" Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) kept alive by payments to officials and illegal gambling. When freedom fighter Victor Laszlo (Paul Henried) arrives with his wife Ilsa Lund Laszlo (Ingrid Bergman) and Rick falls for her, a twisted yet brilliant story unfolds; full of intrigue with the interactions between all the characters under the threat of Nazi terror.
This film is totally immortal and an absolute cinema classic. You would be mad to miss it.
3:12 PM, 7th October, 2001
It is often said that Chaplin did not adapt to "talking movies", and that this movie proves it. I disagree, because "The Great Dictator" was the first great "spoof" movies. Mind you, if you dislike what Mel Brooks does to movies, you may not like this one either. Chaplin took the real-life political situation in Europe and made the various characters into figures of fun.
The story? Dictator #1 "Napolini" and Dictator #2 "Hynckel" are having great fun at the expense of the local peasantry with the help of their minions "Garbitsch" and "Herring".
That is until a Jewish barber is mistaken for Hynckel (who is on a field-trip to liberate Austria), and is propelled into a position of absolute power. What will he do, and will his girlfriend forgive him for doing it?
This film is filled with delightful sight-gags, and telling wit. My favourite sequences are the arrival at the railway station of Napolini's train, and the sequence when Hynckel, happy with his life, dances with a globe of the world as if to say "It's all mine".
This was the last movie in which Chaplin wore his trade-mark moustache, for obvious reasons.