Here’s Looking at You, Kid.
Filmed and released in 1942 Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, is a romantic drama set during World War II. The movie focuses on a man (Rick Blaine) torn between love and virtue and it is throughout the movie that he struggles to choose between his love for a woman (Ilsa Lund) and helping her and her Czech Resistance leader husband (Victor Lazlo) escape from the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca. Throughout the movie it becomes clear that Casablanca is a love story. But is there more behind the main stream love that we as the audience only see? In the final scene it become evident that not only is the story of Casablanca a love story; it is also political propaganda in disguise. Audience
Michael Curtiz’s audience is clear, he appeals to both the men and women affected by World War II. At first, one may only think that Casablanca was for those who enjoyed a love story. The love between Rick and Ilsa would make any girl go weak at the knees. It is also possible to look at Casablanca from a political propaganda point of view, everyone watching the film was affected by World War II and in return may have felt the need to do something to help bring an end to the war. World War II was a global military conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, which involved most of the world's nations, including all of the great powers, organized into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. In 1940, in accordance with the Selective Service Act set forth by Congress, over 1 million men were drafted (World). Most men who served were husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, or perhaps all four. Their risked their lives, were willing to fight and if necessary, die for their country. Children were left fatherless, and many lived in families of women. The biggest change on society at the time was the contributions women were making. During World War II, thousands of American women left their homes for the first time to take the place of men in factories and offices across the country. They began to gain more respect and men realized that women actually could work outside of the home. The presentation of women went from being valued for their looks, for their ability to reproduce, and for their talent for caregiving to entering the labor force, and serving in the Women’s Army Corps (United States). Curitz intentionally did this because he had family who was affected by the Nazi’s. In the late 1930’s, the noose around Hungary’s Jews was the talk of parts of émigré Hollywood. While Curtiz himself had escaped Europe before the rise of Nazism, other members of his family were not as lucky (Wikipedia). Curtiz asked Jack Warner, who then was planning a trip to Budapest in 1938, to contact his mother and brothers and help them get exit visas. His mother, who spoke not a word of English, spent the rest of her life with her son. He could not rescue his only sister, Margit, her husband, and three children, all of whom were sent to Auschwitz. Only Margit and one of her children survived (Marton). Curtiz then paid part of his own salary into the European Film Fund; a benevolent association which helped European refugees in the film business establish themselves in the United States (Wikipedia). Author
Casablanca was based on an unproduced play, Everybody Comes to Rick’s, by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison. Burnett was moved to write the play after a honeymoon he had in Europe during which he saw Nazi anti-Semitism firsthand. Wanting to share the horror he saw firsthand with the rest of the world, he returned home. Alison worked on shaping the characters and events into a workable drama. The play was then purchased by Warner Bros., producer Hal Wallis initially assigned Wally Kline and Aeneas MacKenzie to write a screenplay. However, nothing of their version remains in the film (McLaughlin).
The play was then passed on to the Epstein twins, Phillip and Julius, who despite being called to...
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