Scene Analysis Of Casablanca Film Studies Essay

For Warner Bros., Casablanca was just another name on the production schedule for 1942. Story editor Irene Lee suggested Joan Alison and Murray Burnett’s then-unproduced play Everybody Comes to Rick’s to producer Hal B. Wallis, who would later take credit for the discovery. Days after the attack on Peal Harbor in early December of 1941, Wallis was already shopping an outline around to top brass and seeking approvals, which were casually given. The treatment story contained enough anti-isolationism commentary to rouse any American from their complacency, to get them to choose their duty to the world as human beings over their love for the individual, which is exactly what the self-sacrificial ending of Casablanca advises. But this thematic relevance was merely the device through which a thrilling melodrama was told. Without recounting each and every plot detail from a film moviegoers have undoubtedly seen umpteen times, Casablanca contains intermingled themes of lost love, social narcissism, self-preservation, and patriotism. Each theme presents an ostensibly separate narrative strain incorporated by any one of the film’s several writers, both credited and uncredited. Brothers Julius and Philip Epstein, Howard Koch, Casey Robinson, and other untraceable Warner Bros. stock writers collaborated through their assortment of notes and dialogue and subplots. Jack Warner put forward nothing by way of creative input on Casablanca’s production aside from recommending that George Raft star as Rick. Wallis replied to Warner via inner-studio memorandum, insisting the role would be written for Humphrey Bogart’s sensibilities.

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Literary Analysis on Casablanca - Direct Essays

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Writing about the film today can serve only to retread or flesh-out the scores of exhaustive studies currently available, because, unanimous throughout the writings on Casablanca is the bewilderment for how it came together. Much has been made of the bizarrely efficient disorganization that uniquely helped some of the picture’s greatest moments retain their historic place. No matter how accomplished the scholar or enthusiast examining the picture, none of them pinpoint exactly why the film turned out so well, if in fact there is any reasoning behind it besides pure luck. Their analyses chart the progress of happenstance and twists of fate, arousing equally appropriate amazement and bafflement. Anecdotes are told on how various scenes came this close to being something completely different, and occasional attributions are given to producer Hal B. Wallis, director Michael Curtiz, the many writers, or the undeniable charisma of the actors. What slowly emerges from the assorted investigations is an understanding that by some marvel Casablanca became the film we know and love today.

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The film demands our attention over and over again, and multiple viewings and the observations therein inspire familiar scenes to blossom from narrative meaning and historical subtext. And only because Casablanca was constructed piece by piece, attention never on the whole but rather a specific concentration on this moment, does the film seem imbued with layer after endless layer of individual meaning. Though virtually every scene and line of dialogue has been quoted, repeated, reused, and referenced, still the film captures us upon revisitation. We forget how individual lines or whole scenes are now clichés out of context, and we lose ourselves in the glory of the experience, allowing the effortlessness of this endearing romance to consume us. Scholarship, historical and interpretive analyses, and appreciations beyond count have been written about Casablanca, making any new words on the film inevitably redundant. And yet, still, there are new articles composed every year attesting to the film’s greatness, while at the same time hoping to capture exactly what about the film makes it such an iconic, venerable piece of filmmaking. But the fact that the discussion continues, despite the wealth of material already covered by historians and critics and film aficionados, remains the film’s most probing accomplishment. It continues to fascinate audiences in a way that is beyond explanation, except to resolve that the picture seems to result from and fully encompass that somewhat fantastical notion of Movie Magic.

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