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Question about Casablanca..

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Question about Casablanca..

Old 06-06-05, 05:15 AM
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Question about Casablanca..

Spoilers for those who still have not seen it:




I'm wondering...why did Rick stage the whole ordeal in his club with Captain Renault? That is, if Captain Renault was in on the whole thing, why not let Ilsa and Lazslo know this? Why have Renault hide in Rick's office, why pull the gun on Renault, why have him make a phone call to the airport (knowing all along that the phone call would be to Major Strasser anyway), and etc. Why not just tell Ilsa and Lazslo, "Hey, Renault and I have a plan. It'll go like this: we're going to get the two of you on the plane, Renault is going to call Strasser who will come to intervene, I'll shoot him, and we'll say that we have no clue who committed the crime."

Was it just so Rick could send Ilsa off with the impression that he'd made this huge personal sacrifice...and virtually given up his freedom for her? I see no other reason to keep the couple in the dark, and I have to think that if the same thing happened in a modern thriller, audiences would scream about the fact that the soul intention was to keep viewers in the dark until the final moments.

None of this is to say that I didn't enjoy the film...I loved the intrigue and romance, and I thought the direction, acting, and other cinematic aspects were near perfection. I just don't understand the motivation for that one plot point...

-JP
Old 06-06-05, 05:32 AM
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i've always understood renault's phone call as a betrayal -- that rick wasn't in on it. and further, renault hadn't fully decided to "blow with the prevailing wind" of rick's efforts until moments before uttering the words "round up the usual suspects". but, i could be wrong.
Old 06-06-05, 05:45 AM
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Ah, like that take on the events more than the one I walked away with. It would also give a little more significance to the closing, "This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" line...as it really would have been the beginning. However, my interpretation came from the line Renault gave to Rick right after Major Strasser was shot (paraphrased here), "Not only are you a sentimentalist, but you're also a patriot." That made me think the whole assassiantion of Strasser was a "patriotic plan" of sorts that the two had concocted sometime offscreen.

-JP
Old 06-06-05, 06:06 AM
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i think Rick makes a reference to Renault having a heart way deep down. your observation probably points out where the dubious Renault's heart truly lies.

and i just want to say that the dialogue in this film seems to me to have been way ahead of its time. my favorite exchange, one that always puts a grin on my face, is this:

RICK: I came to Casablanca for the waters.
RENAULT: Waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
RICK: (shrugs) I was misinformed.

can't explain it, but i love that little moment.
Old 06-06-05, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Cygnet74
i've always understood renault's phone call as a betrayal -- that rick wasn't in on it. and further, renault hadn't fully decided to "blow with the prevailing wind" of rick's efforts until moments before uttering the words "round up the usual suspects". but, i could be wrong.
I agree...I always felt it was going one way, and then at the last second had a change of heart.
Old 06-07-05, 12:03 PM
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Wow...I've never thought about that scene as the OP put it. I believe Renault had no idea what Rick's plan was, and the call was indeed Renault's attempt to do what he had been trained to do; stop anyone leaving Casablanca. Realizing Strasser was now dead, he turns his loyalties to Rick, and "let's him off" with the line "round up the usual suspects." I think the looks, the music, and the direction all support this, and gives weight to possibly the best closing line in cinema history.

I think I'd hate the ending if I thought of it like the OP proposes. If he and Rick secretly planned it, it kinda ruins the film. IMHO.
Old 06-07-05, 08:09 PM
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When Capt Renault was put on the spot, he had to choose where his true loyalties lay. He could continue to go along with the Nazis, who had the legal claim, or he could go along with Rick, who had the more honorable claim. Even he didn't know which way he would jump until then.
Old 06-07-05, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BassDude
Wow...I've never thought about that scene as the OP put it. I believe Renault had no idea what Rick's plan was, and the call was indeed Renault's attempt to do what he had been trained to do; stop anyone leaving Casablanca. Realizing Strasser was now dead, he turns his loyalties to Rick, and "let's him off" with the line "round up the usual suspects." I think the looks, the music, and the direction all support this, and gives weight to possibly the best closing line in cinema history.

I think I'd hate the ending if I thought of it like the OP proposes. If he and Rick secretly planned it, it kinda ruins the film. IMHO.
Yeah, it kind of left me with a "bleh" feeling about the last 10 minutes or so of the film. Like I said a few posts up, though, I really like the outlook that every sane person seemed to walked away with...and I'll now adopt it as my own.

-JP
Old 06-07-05, 09:56 PM
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That moment is definately my favorite as well Cygnet, my old roommate played the film about 2 or 3 times a week and it was his favorite film. He never really paid much attention to that little sequence until I pointed it out to him, it is now his favorite as well. I really enjoy the part also when Bogart is trashed and Ingrid Bergman shows up and he says to her I've been saving my first drink to have with you or something near that. Great little moment.

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