December 13, 2021

#08-164: Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart as Rick and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa

Note: Everybody comes to Rick's, including his old flame Ilsa Lund--who dumped him in Paris--now seeking help to get her and her handsome husband away from the Nazis.

Get Ready: Have you ever run into a former girlfriend or boyfriend--or someone else that makes you feel awkward? How did it go?

"You must remember this: a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh. The fundamental things apply as time goes by..."

This classic song, actually written in 1931, "went viral" as the sentimental centerpiece of one of the greatest films of all time, 1942's Casablanca.

The story centers on a joint in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, "Rick's Café Américain," run by cynical American expat Rick Blaine. Everybody comes to Rick's: German officials and the Vichy French cooperating with them; refugees; travelers; and shady characters.

One of the latter, a petty crook named Ugarte, asks Rick to hide two stolen "letters of transit"--a bit like passports--until he can sell them. But before he can do so, Ugarte is arrested, and dies in police custody.

Then one night Rick's great lost love, Ilsa Lund, walks in. She asks the piano player, Sam, to play their song, "As Time Goes By." Rick comes over, furious at Sam for playing the song he forbade him ever to play again. That's when Rick sees Ilsa--and her handsome husband Victor Laszlo, a freedom fighter.

Predictably, they need letters of transit so they can escape to America and continue Laszlo's mission. Laszlo hears a rumor that Rick may have such papers and asks for them. Rick refuses, and tells Laszlo to ask his wife why.

In a tense but amusing scene, drunken German officers start singing a patriotic song; Laszlo tells the band to play a French one, and the Germans order the club closed.

Ilsa asks Rick for the letters, and admits that she still loves him. She explains that she had let herself fall in love with Rick in Paris because she thought Laszlo was dead; when she heard he was still alive, she left Rick without explaining.

Rick forgives her, and after some intrigue, assures that Laszlo and Ilsa escape. But as she boards the plane on a foggy runway, Rick delivers a famous speech in which he tells her that they'll "always have Paris," and sends her off with the words: "Here's looking at you, kid."

The police arrive; their captain, Louis Renault, protects Rick by misdirecting his men to "round up the usual suspects." As they walk away planning to escape Casablanca together, Rick tells him, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."


Read more:

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. crook
  2. custody
  3. cynical
  4. fundamental
  5. joint
  6. misdirecting
  7. petty
  8. predictably
  9. shady
  10. went viral

  1. a nightclub
  2. sending the wrong way
  3. care; imprisonment
  4. suspicious
  5. a criminal
  6. distrustful; contemptuous
  7. not surprisingly
  8. basic; essential
  9. became very popular
  10. minor; small-time

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for December 13, 2021

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. e; 2. c; 3. f; 4. h; 5. a; 6. b; 7. j; 8. g; 9. d; 10. i