OK, OK...I take back anything I may or may not have said that may or may not have sounded negative about Casablanca! It's not that I hated it, or even disliked it, really...I just have always thought that it was a little overrated, especially for the way that it's generally put in the league with the big classics like Citizan Kane, etc.
I mean, I know all about it. I know that famed director Michael Curtiz won the Best Director Oscar for it, and I know all of the lines that have become a part of our American lexicon. As a rule, I wholeheartedly agree with the consensus of AFI, or other such organizations that consider it to be in the Top Ten of films appreciated for excellence in cinematic achievement., but I just never thought it was really all that.
I actually just went to see this evening it because it's the only vintage classic that they're showing this year at the Fox Theatre Coca-Cola Summer FILM Festival (a travesty, but I digress)...and, well, I repent for not appreciating it like I should have, because it's awesome.
I won't review the film itself, because I don't need to, but I will review the evening. It was just a wonderful experience seeing it on the big screen, and with an audience that knows it well, and really loves it and gets it. I've grown so accustomed to seeing dumbed-down modern flicks with dumbed-down modern audiences that it was a pleasant surprise to be a part of a crowd that got the wit and the humor, and laughed in all the right places, and didn't talk over the lines, and generally showed their appreciation by their appropriate response and reaction to all of it.
An added pleasure was seeing it at the Fox itself...not just because it's my favorite theatre, but in particular because of the Moroccan architecture and motif. Rick's cafe and the external shots of Casablanca looked like an extension of where we were sitting. It was a heady experience.
I loved, loved, loved every single frame of it, and I'm so glad that I went a got a paradigm shift!
Here's looking at you, Casablanca!