Casablanca: Just a bunch of cliches strung together!

Casablanca

The 1942 film Casablanca starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman had it all: shady deals and intrigue in the middle of World War II, a love triangle, and great writing and acting. The title of this blog reflects the fact that this film, among the greatest of all time by many accounts, is the source of cliches and taglines that are so well-known to us, that many of us 79 years later don’t realize that the source of those phrases came from this movie, often delivered by Bogart, playing the part of Rick Blaine, a self-described saloon-owner in Casablanca, in what used to be French Morcco on the north coast of Africa.

Of course, there was Bogart’s trenchocat and fedora, a look so imiated over the decades that it has become a visual cliche, which he wore during certain scenes. There are also the lines of which I was able to identify five:

  • “Play it, Sam!”, a line delivered by Bergman (who plays Ilsa Lund) and later, separately by Bogart, asking a saloon piano player named Sam to play a tune that reminded them of Rick and Ilsa’s old romance. In popular culture, this line appears to have morphed into “Play it again, Sam!”
  • “Here’s looking at you, kid”, an affectionate phrase said several times by Rick to Ilsa during the film. I counted four times, but I may have missed some.
  • “I am shocked, shocked!” when Captain Louis Renault “finds” to his “shock” that gambling was happening at Rick’s saloon, after he himself had gambled there and pocketed his winnings. This has since become the catchphrase of any hypocrite who has benefitted from some kind of shenanigans, and then afterward trying to express revulsion of the very idea of the act when others are doing the same thing.
  • “Round up the usual suspects!”, a line said by officer Renault on the last scene at the airport after he made a deal with Rick.
  • “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, a line delivered by Rick to officer Renault at the end of the movie.

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