Grim's post about the Incas reminded me that I hadn't been over to "The Bleat" in a long time. I find his little daughter has grown up considerably. Today they're discussing a recent film expert poll that places "Vertigo" over "Citizen Kane," but the consensus of many of his readers is that "Casablanca" is better.
It's not an art film, nor subtle. Just a perfect thing of its kind. It's the prodigal son: "for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; was lost, and is found." This is the first scene in which the surviving spark of humanity in Rick begins to flare up again. At the same time, you see in Ilsa's face why the story can't finish up with her leaving her husband. How many passionate love stories end with the lovers deciding to part rather than do wrong, and yet without painting them as tragic figures beaten down by their restrictive culture?
Notice how the tune of "Die Wacht am Rhein" meshes harmonically with "The Marseillaise," so that the conflict doesn't just sound like Charles Ives noise. Music, courage, and love.
The Nazis banging away on the piano like robots are Jewish actors who had recently escaped Europe.