“Casablanca” (14942), Michael Curtiz’s wartime romance, with Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid, seemingly has more quotable lines than the sands of the Sahara, which serves as the film’s setting. “Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over-familiar,” film critic Roger Ebert once observed. “It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it. The dialogue is so spare and cynical, it has not grown old-fashioned. Much of the emotional effect of ‘Casablanca’ is achieved by indirection; as we leave the theater, we are absolutely convinced that the only thing keeping the world from going crazy is that the problems of three little people do after all amount to more than a hill of beans.”
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Kaufman, will perform a live-to-picture presentation of “Casablanca” on March 13 and 15. The Oscar-winning score by Max Steiner is among the best from Hollywood’s Golden Age, and featured on the soundtrack are standards such as Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You” and of course, Herman Hupfeld’s “As Time Goes By.”
But as memorable as the music is, it’s the dialogue that makes “Casablanca” an all-time classic. Here are among the film’s most memorable exchanges.
Rick (Bogart), on seeing his old flame Isla (Bergman) for the first time in years: “Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.”
The two lovers recall their last meeting, in Paris, during the German invasion.
Ilsa: “I wasn’t sure you were the same. Let’s see, the last time we met…”
Rick: “Was La Belle Aurore.”
Ilsa: “How nice, you remembered. But of course, that was the day the Germans marched into Paris.”
Rick: “Not an easy day to forget.”
Rick: “I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray, you wore blue.”
Rick to Sam, his club’s pianist, demanding that he play the lovers’ old song:
Rick: “You played it for her, you can play it for me!”
Sam: “Well, I don’t think I can remember…”
Rick: “If she can stand it, I can! Play it!”
Ilsa, who knows their love is doomed, to Rick: “Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time.”
Rick and Ilsa, in their final goodbye as she prepares to walk out of Rick’s life forever:
Isla: “But what about us?”
Rick: “We’ll always have Paris. We didn’t have … we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.”
Ilsa: “When I said I would never leave you.”
Rick: “And you never will. But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.
(Gently lifting Isla’s chin as she continues to cry): Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Rick to Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), Casablanca’s wily chief of police, as they walk into the horizon and deliver the film’s last line: “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”