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 Classic Movie Reviews

Casablanca Movie Review

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INGRID BERGMAN
( Aug 1915 -- Aug 1982)  

One of the most popular film stars of all time with the American movie-going public, she was born in Stockholm to a Swedish artist/photographer father and a German mother who died when Ingrid was three. She lost her father at 13 and was sent to live with an aunt, who died six months later. She next went to live with an aunt and uncle who already had five children. At 17 she entered a competition at the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm. She won a scholarship to the RDT school, where Greta Garbo had earlier attended on a scholarship. During the first summer break she was signed by a Swedish film studio, began working in film full-time and didn't return to the school. She had a dozen films in Sweden and one in Germany over the next few years and then was brought to Hollywood in 1939 by David O. Selznick to appear in Intermezzo: A Love Story with Leslie Howard. When she resisted being made up by studio make-up artists, Selznick let her have her way and she became greatly admired for her natural beauty that didn't require cosmetic artistry. She had played the same part in a Swedish production of the film. She expected to do just the one movie in America and then return to Sweden. She did return to Sweden long enough to do three films there but then was brought back to Hollywood. In 1943 she was cast as Maria in For Whom the Bell Tolls with Gary Cooper and received an Oscar nomination. For Gaslight in 1944 she received the Oscar, one of two for Best Actress and one for Best Supporting Actress (for Murder on the Orient Express) (1974). Other notable films included Spellbound (1945) and Joan of Arc (1948). During World War II she traveled to Alaska and Europe to entertain American service personnel. A love affair with Italian director Roberto Rossellini, resulting in a love child, created a huge scandal and she left the U. S. for several years. She returned to the American screen in Anastasia (1956) and received her second Oscar. She remained active in European and American films and on television for the next several years. She won an Emmy for her portrayal of Israeli prime minister Golda Meir in a mini-series (1982). She was greatly respected in the film industry, not only for her acting talent but also for her professionalism. She always showed up on time, knew her lines and was prepared to work, with no temper tantrums or "artistic temperament." Ingrid Bergman died in London on her 67th birthday, after a long battle with breast cancer.

TITLE:    CASABLANCA

"I just learned there is gambling going on here.
                   I am shocked! Shocked!"
  

                          

    This example of wartime propaganda raised to high art didn't get rave notices when it was first released but has become one of the classics over the years and now enjoys almost cult status. Rick (Humphrey Bogart) has a night club in Casablanca, after fleeing Paris when the Germans marched in. Lovely Ilsa (Ingrid Berman) was supposed to flee with him but she didn't show up at the place they were to meet. Then she shows up at Rick's nightclub with her husband, Paul Henreid. They are hoping to make it to neutral Portugal and then on to Britain or the U.S. This will be difficult because the Germans are determined that he will not make it to the allies. The plot has many twists and turns before things work out. A common misquote from this film is "Play it again, Sam." (Said to piano player Dooley Wilson, requesting the song, "As Time Goes By.") That's close, but not quite right. Fine performances by Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Claude Rains.

           

1942, Directed by Michael Curtiz

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