Mise-En-Scene in Casablanca

Topics: Casablanca, As Time Goes By, Nazi Germany Pages: 6 (2492 words) Published: February 26, 2007
This paper will discuss various elements of mise-en-scene, specifically; character development, lighting, performance, costume, makeup in the film "Casablanca".(Michael Curtiz,1942) The setting of the story sets the tone for the entire film. Shots of tanks and planes show the violence of war that coincides with the cutthroat city that is Casablanca. From there, those sentiments are reinforced when a man is shot in the street while another man pick pockets someone whom is distracted. The mood of the movie stays on the dark side of things when we enter Rick's Café, where we meet our protagonist played by Humphrey Bogart. In this scene we are treated to the jaded portrayal of night club owner. We see his utter disregard for a French woman even though there's a hint of caring for her, when he tells his bartender to take her home and that's it. This creates an interesting dichotomy in this character's development that is illustrated throughout the film. It's consistent with someone dealing with an inner struggle.

Along his rode of character development we see Rick is in position of two letters of transit. He reiterates his position of not wanting to stick his neck out for anyone. This also creates an interesting relationship with Captain Renault. He is clearly a very corrupt police officer who has a decent amount of power and sways with whoever is in command, in this case visiting Nazi soldiers. He, in affect makes a wager with Rick on the spot about him not helping Victor Lazlo out of Casablanca. This represents a conflict of interest for Renault's character and the beginning of how his character is viewed. Later on that evening Victor Lazlo and Ilsa show up at Rick's and the audience is treated to another side of Rick's character. He doesn't tip his hand when he actually sees her but the song, "When time goes by" draws him back to a simpler time when him and Ilsa were lovers in France. Later on that evening we see the emptiness of his life as he drinks, smokes and has Sam play "When time goes by". Rick's character fights between what is good and bad throughout the whole film. When Ilsa visits him, he says things that he probably regrets, and that aren't in good taste, to turn her away from him. In the end he's only torturing himself. We flashback in time to when they first met and we see a different side of Rick, a carefree man that even in the face of the Nazi's, but he's got the love of his life with him. It's in incredible parallel to the bitter old man we see in present time. As we flash forward, the scene that is paramount to Rick's prospects of doing some good for anyone other them himself goes as such; Rick is approached by a young woman who tells him that her husband is trying to win himself enough money for transit to America. She continues to tell him her plight which includes having an improper relationship with Captain Renault. At this point Rick shows his first signs of life. He tells the young man to bet on number twenty-three. He has the dealer fix the game three straight times. Once the man has had enough money, he tells him to leave, and the woman thanks him endlessly. It's here that Rick's character starts to blossom into the man he once was. As the plot continues to unfold the audience still isn't sure if Rick is going to sell Victor Lazlo out to the Nazi's for his selfish reasons, in fact I believe that most think after reclaiming his true love that he would. In the end however, Rick is able to trick Captain Renault into thinking just that and actually saving Victor Lazlo's life, even shooting a German Nazi of the Third Reich in the process. In the end, Rick's character develops the notion that saving Victor Lazlo is the key to helping the world rid people like the Nazi's and by sending Ilsa with him only keeps him fighting harder for the greater purpose Lazlo serves. Rick realized that just as he loved Ilsa, Lazlo was fighting not only for his country but for the love of his wife too. Rick comes full...
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