Casablanca (1942)Warner Brothers (Jack L Warner, Executive Producer)Produced by Hal B. WallisDirected by Michael CurtizScreenplay by Julius and Philip Epstein, Howard KochFrom a play by Murray Burnett and Joan AlisonMusic Score by Max SteinerStarring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, PaulHenreid , Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, DooleyWilson, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, S.Z.Sakall, Marcel DalioEst. Cost - $1,039,000; Est. Initial Gross - $3,700,000
Casablanca (1942)Thus Casablanca is not just one film. It is many films, an anthology.[...] When all the archetypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homericdepths. Two clichés make us laugh. A hundred clichés move us. Forwe sense dimly that the clichés are talking among themselves, andcelebrating a reunion.Umberto Ecohttp://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_casablanca.html
The Technical Dimension Produced by Warner Bros. at the height of the Hollywood studio system, Casablanca embraced what is now known as "invisible style." Rather than dazzling the eye with eye-catching visuals and histrionic acting, it seduces the viewer by creating a seamless, lush universe that gradually envelops the audience. Hardly an effortless accomplishment, "invisible style" required an absolute mastery of the various cinematic elements by its collaborators, including Hungarian director Michael Curtiz (Mildred Pierce, 1945), director of photography Arthur Edeson (The Maltese Falcon, 1941), Art Director Carl Jules Weyl (The Big Sleep, 1946), composer Max Steiner (Gone With the Wind) and soon-to-be-director Don Siegel (Dirty Harry, 1972), whose dynamic opening montage invests the film with a sense of political urgency. Turner Classic Movies Website http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/316%7C0/Casablanca.htmlhttp://www.film-daily.com/2011/05/warner-brothers.html
The Technical Dimension “Casablanca” is a prime example of the “Invisible Technique” of the Hollywood Studio System, in which camerawork and lighting and editing are meant to subtly support the story rather than being abrasive or even noticed. So unlike Soviet Montage (“The Battleship Potemkin”), the edits and transitions are meant to be smooth and seamless. Unlike German Expressionism (“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, “ “Sunrise”), the design and lighting are meant to reflect reality, be it a stylized reality, rather than be an expression of an artist’s view of the world.http://youtu.be/3bNlSYc-ZJU
The Technical Dimension “Casablanca” is a prime example of the “Invisible Technique” of the Hollywood Studio System, in which camerawork and lighting and editing are meant to subtly support the story rather than being abrasive or even noticed. So unlike Soviet Montage (“The Battleship Potemkin”), the edits and transitions are meant to be smooth and seamless. Unlike German Expressionism (“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, “ “Sunrise”), the design and lighting are meant to reflect reality, be it a stylized reality, rather than be an expression of an artist’s view of the world.http://youtu.be/KDxLyS9H47U
The Technical DimensionThe Studio System - Stock Actors and Contract Players
The Technical DimensionThe production design of Casablanca has come to represent the aesthetics ofromantic longing. Its smoky casino, fog-shrouded runway, trenchcoats, potted palms and gruff-voiced pianist repeatedly surface incontemporary films, commercials, television programs and even restaurantdecor as respects are paid to this quintessential Hollywood classic.Turner Classic Movies Website
The Technical Dimension The Hollywood Montage as Exposition http://youtu.be/CiWnFqW5akw
The Technical Dimension Exposition – Setting the Stage http://youtu.be/ActId7BvIcw
The Technical Dimension Miniatures and Forced Perspective http://youtu.be/70NVg_neYSM
The Technical Dimension Miniatures and Forced Perspective – “Sunrise” (1927) F.W. Murnau http://youtu.be/G_zhCx7C4qs
The Technical Dimension Miniatures and Forced Perspective – “Sunrise” (1927) F.W. Murnau http://youtu.be/LGPnUPE-mfY
The Technical Dimension Miniatures and Forced Perspective – “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971) Mel Stuart http://youtu.be/bkPBCKPqC5A (7:40 in)
The Dramatic Dimension Melodrama – A dramatic work that exaggerates plot, crises, and characters in order to appeal to or manipulate the emotions, and often depends on stock characters or stereotypes for effect, as opposed to “realistic” conflict and emotions. A drama involves primarily a conflict of values within a man (as expressed in action); a melodrama involves only a conflict of man with other men. Ayn Randhttp://tinyurl.com/7gd6pjk
The Dramatic Dimension The Flashbackhttp://youtu.be/xB_jKu6qWM8
The Dramatic Dimension The Flashbackhttp://youtu.be/iq7vZTO81Ro
The Dramatic Dimension The Flashback – “The Pawnbroker” (1964) Sidney Lumethttp://youtu.be/OLtnOGTdLO4
The Dramatic DimensionThe Flashback – “Jaws” (1975) Stephen Spielberg
The Dramatic Dimension The Flashback – “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (1979) John Irvinhttp://youtu.be/ezLTOK6dYPM
The Dramatic Dimension The Hollywood Montage as Expositionhttp://youtu.be/CiWnFqW5akw
The Dramatic DimensionThe Reluctant HeroThe hero may refuse the adventure or deny the ability to move beyond the status quo.The heralded event may even be ignored – All of these constitute the ‘Refusal of theCall.’The use of magical intervention is then needed to plunge the hero into the unknown.The reluctant hero requires supernatural forces to urge him on, while the willingadventurer gathers amulets (magical items) and advice from the protector as aid forthe journey…The reluctant hero loses all desire to abandon his bliss, he does not want to take on theburdens of the world. Someone or thing may facilitate his miraculous return fromapparent death. An overriding reason is necessary to bring the hero back to the worldto save it.Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces
The Dramatic DimensionFortuitous Circumstance and Coincidence
The Dramatic Dimension Dramatic Ellipseshttp://youtu.be/diGOGZ2PYNE
The Dramatic DimensionA May 21, 1942 letter from Joseph I. Breen, director of the ProductionCode Administration, to Warner Bros. executive Jack Warner objectsto the portrayal of "Renaults" practice of seducing women inexchange for exit visas. The PCA also objected to the "suggestion thatIlsa was married all the time she was having her love affair with Rick inParis." Later, Breen warned that the script should not imply that "Ilsa"slept with "Rick" when she comes to beg for the letters of transit.
The Socio/Historical Dimension Sam “Classified X” (1998) Mark Daniels, with Melvin Van Peebleshttp://youtu.be/IXLKwXq6G98
The Historical Dimension Vichy Germany occupied France from 1940 to 1944. The spa and resort town of Vichy, famous for its water, was the de facto capital of the collaborationist government. The audience of 1943 knew the man pictured here. He was Marshal Henri Petain, the pro-German dictator of France, and Capt. Renaulds ultimate boss.http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/casablanca/bmp_report_casablanca.cfmhttp://www.riebel-roque.com/cas.html
The Historical Dimension Vichy Morocco was a protectorate (colony) of France. The Nazi regime never occupied Morocco, but rather controlled the Vichy French who did.http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/casablanca/bmp_report_casablanca.cfmhttp://www.riebel-roque.com/cas.html
The Historical Dimension Propaganda Irene Lee, Warner Brothers’ West Coast Story Editor, submitted the script to producer Hal Wallis four days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Warner Brothers ordered a hasty rewrite of "Across the Pacific" which involved a Japanese plot to blow up Pearl Harbor, changing the setting to the Panama Canal. Hollywood had a history of supporting and being supported by Roosevelt and his administration. The Warner Brothers had bucked the other studios, hesitant to alienate foreign markets, by releasing “Confessions of a Nazi Spy” in 1939. In September of 1941, isolationist members of the U.S. Senate, calling Hollywood “a raging volcano of war fever,” launched an investigation into whether studio executives, many of whom were Jewish, were inserting interventionist messages into popular movies.http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/casablanca/bmp_report_casablanca.cfmhttp://www.riebel-roque.com/cas.html
The Historical Dimension Propaganda How does “Casablanca” act as propaganda during the U.S. involvement during World War II? Is Rick Blaine, at first hesitant to get involved, eventually pushed to take action, a metaphor for the U.S. and its hesitation at the outset of World War !!? Made in 1942 and released not long after the United States had seriously committed itself to fighting in World War II, the classic film Casablanca provides insight into popular attitudes early in the war. In addition, it lays out some of the arguments for U.S. involvement, tracing the transformation of U.S. policy from neutrality to non-belligerency to involvement. The character of Richard "Rick" Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, provided a heroic analogy for the historical process of U.S. involvement in the warhttp://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/learning_history/casablanca/bmp_report_casablanca.cfmhttp://www.riebel-roque.com/cas.html
The Historical DimensionThe film premiered in New York City in November 1942, in what was called apre-release engagement. This showing was rushed to theaters to capitalizeon the recent events in North Africa, specifically the invasion of Americantroops into the real Casablanca.It opened on Thanksgiving Day, following a parade up Fifth Avenue of FreeFrench leaders, when the Free French flag was unfurled for the first time inthe United States since the fall of Vichy.Because this kind of free publicity happens only once in a bluemoon, Warner Bros. rushed Casablanca to just one theater in New York. Butit was not seen by the rest of the country until early 1943, including LosAngeles.As luck would have it, the national release coincided with anotherCasablanca event, a summit meeting between President Franklin D.Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin.
The Historical DimensionPerhaps the greatest praise came from London, where General Charles deGaulle, leader of the Free French forces, requested a print of Casablanca fora special showing to his staff.
“Barb Wire” (1996) David Hoganhttp://youtu.be/eFs_YLy3Ld8
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