Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Charm of Classic Hollywood Cinema

Casablanca is a classic Hollywood film. It aligns with just about every stereotype you could imagine about old Hollywood cinema, conforms to all the standards of its day, yet has a charm that few movies possess.

The combination of the classical music, black and white film, stoic men and overemotional women made me stare at the TV screen with a gaze I usually don't give to most movies. I was falling in love with classic cinema, making me think about to the joy I'd get every time I watched Some Like It Hot.

Of course, not the entire film is made with lovable elements. Sam, the black piano player, is portrayed as a happy black man, who is content with and even seems to enjoy being the subordinate to his white boss, Rick. Though this is inherently stereotypical and could easily be classified as a racist character, it was only typical for the time that this film was made. Just because of this however, I don't think it would be right to discount this movie as racist. It ultimately adds an unpleasant but reinforcing element of the classicality and antiquity of this film.

Even though Casablanca has all the elements of a classic Hollywood film, and in the end may not differ from many others of its era, it provides a viewing experience unparalleled to any movie in recent decades. Its age not only gives it a unique charm, but makes the viewer himself feel like an observer from a different time all together.

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