“You must remember this . . .” Even so, why not refresh your memory with the IFI’s 70th anniversary screening of one of the highpoints of Hollywood’s Golden Age, a film that can justly be called the classics’ classic. See Bogart’s bitter ‘sentimentalist’ and Bergman’s breathtaking Ilsa make magic in Warner Bros.’ cardboard Casablanca, brilliantly supported by Claude Rains’ ‘poor, corrupt official’, Paul Henreid’s gallant resistance fighter, and Conrad Veidt’s epitome of the nasty Nazi. Plus there’s Peter Lorre in a panic and Sydney Greenstreet as ‘the fat gent’ in a fez. What more could you want?
Co-scripted by the Epstein twins, who provided the most memorable lines (“Here’s looking at you, kid”), and Howard Koch, responsible for the contemporary political references, Casablanca may or may not be director Michael Curtiz’s greatest film, but if you aren’t moved by the Marseillaise scene, you should probably check into the city morgue on your way home. Rick and Ilsa may always have Paris, but we will always have Casablanca. (Notes by John Exshaw.)