Home > Free Essays > Art > Film Studies > “Casablanca” by Michael Curtiz

“Casablanca” by Michael Curtiz Essay (Movie Review)

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Jan 20th, 2020


Casablanca is a thrilling film that combines archetypical situations and several genres to acquire extraordinary status as the quintessential Hollywood film. It contains dramatic conflicts of politics and love giving it a tasty flavor through mixing the foreign mood settings and style together with Popular American Tunes (Eco, 1987).

Casablanca has included many quotable lines that no one can ever look down upon them. More so, popular music has been included in the film. It is a wonderful idea that it can match with other styles in the movie. It is due to the wonderful combination of style and song together with dialogue that this paper intents to discuss at a greater depth.

Development and Origin

One can simply identify the name Stein at opening of most films of early 1930s up to 1940s. He is considered as one of the greatest composers of over 150 films of the Hollywood films. Hollywood movies has used several popular tunes including As Time Goes by, which was composed and written by Hupfeld Herman and appeared on Broadway in 1931 which feature in everybody’s welcome (Field, 1984).

This particular play never went on stage but provided a basis for Casablanca. The director of the film acknowledges that the song stayed on radio as “Hit Parade” for around twelve weeks although not in a different version as found in the film.

However due to the ban of the recording musician union, the Rudy Vallee of 1931 became a hit (Jørholt, 1989). It has a verse that is not found in the film. According to Steiner in the interview of 1943 says that song attracted most of people who had a change to listen to it.

Popular tunes circulation between movies and movies came from as far as the early 20th century (Langkjær, 2000). The inventions also include the radio and the records. According Peatman’s survey, Hollywood had more than eighty percent of their songs performed as early as 1942.

Intermingling techniques

According to the film Casablanca, sound is much dependent on visual effects together with the scenes that appear on the screen (Eco, 1987). The major theme of Casablanca is extremely well known and has had several rerecording in various ways. The main factors in this context are shooting and screening.

Shooting in movies is done then editing follows to remove any unwanted pictures or sounds from the film. This is a crucial job done by dialogue editors. They ensure that the film has the required flow of events and scenes follow one another as desired. They also ensure that the sound is correctly attached to the sound effects consistently.

Some sounds maybe trapped in the process of shooting. There are soundproof blimps that prevent this form of sound so that the images can match with the desired sounds during editing. A keen study of the movie indicates that there were several challenges in shooting and editing movies in earlier developments. More so, matching of sound and images was a great disaster (Jørholt 1989).

According to Casablanca, the audience does not interested in all that is happens during shooting process (Field, 1984). This prompted the earlier inventors to use cameras that were placed in soundproof blimps so that the recording process can take place later.

This means that if the recording process would take place at the same time with shooting, there would be unnecessary sound that could distract the major objectives of the film. Due to this factor, the sound editors had to work diligently to edit the film and remove any sort of material that could have a negative impact on the film (Langkjær, 1996).

The creativity of intermingling aural and visual effects is a great challenge. The reality in Casablanca is that no one can trace the soundtrack as a separate item from the lines. The director of Casablanca enables the viewer to get the emotions and feelings through controlling aural and visual effects.

Plot development

Cinematography, sound and mise en scene are a great combination of features which form a cult film that has a substantial meaning (Jørholt, 1989). A scene where by Rick slouched at the bar gives more weight on this matter. It is during this period that the director of the film allows in a man playing a piano.

Rick provides lines that indicate Ilsa abandoned him. This makes him sad together with the audience. In fact, non-dialect effects in this movie are bringing decisive emotions to the viewer. The dialectic music applied in this movie is just wonderful (Langkjær, 2000). It creates suspense and at the same time, listening clearly one can identify that the dialect is easy to reproduce and more so, can be sung.

The Paris scene where kissing takes place with Sienna at the setting makes the viewer remembers this movie so much (Eco, 1987). It also creates the urge to keep watching it severally without getting tired. The use of sound as applied in his film is quite interesting that it enhances the audiences’ viewing (Field, 1984). The zooming of the camera zooms to a medium level the viewer is exposed to the real experience of romantic moment.

The Song; Ancient and contemporary

Casablanca is a movie of its own kind. It is always appealing every time the viewer sits down to watch. It encompasses quoted scenes across all ages and generations.

This is due to the excellent matching line of actors and the sweet synchronized sound that brings the reality of the movie in action. Currently, there are productive directors who work to provide the viewers with excellent movies. Astonishingly, there is no any comparable movie to Casablanca, which creatively associates the scene and the song playing in the movie (Langkjær, 1996).

This makes Casablanca an exemplary movie, which entertains, and educates all viewers each time they settle down to watch it severally (Langkjær, 2000). Contemporary soundtracks are unable to adjust to the audience’s concentration to ever changing scenes in the film (Jørholt, 1989). This is quite contrary to As Times Go By whereby it gives the viewer full experience for concentration and enjoyment at a go.

Steiner’s first impression was negative toward this melody for the film. In fact, he acknowledges the fact that it was not a melody of his choice but it was given to him. He never knew that it could receive a warm welcome by the audience. Most of the artists received training in America so he believed that they were influenced by the European trends of music.

After realizing the success of the film he that “Composition is a highly developed art that’s now dominated by young men who can only hum a tune” since 1927 film industry developed rapidly from the first invention of sound techniques from overhead booms which improved to microphone that could follow actors around the shooting scenes (Field, 1984). This was a challenging task since most of the actors’ voices never complemented with the talkies.

Casablanca Politics

Casablanca movie was shot at the pick of the Second World War, which involved almost all countries of the world. The war affected the Casablanca community in many ways. This was a struggle to drive away the colonialists. Through a series of scene, Casablanca unfolds the struggle that existed between the local people and the Germans.

For instance, the local people sing in unison against the Germans. This indicates that they are spirited and they are out to win the war. It brings a sense of togetherness. Another scene finds the Germans singing a war song loudly but when they reach where Ilsa and Rick, they diminish slowly by slowly, thus meaning that the colonial rule is ending.

In another oration, Laszlo asked for La Marsellaise. This part really involves the viewer in that he starts singing along with the actors in the movie. The French girl does not want to remain behind so she also comes in singing to develop more on the plot of the story. The scenes really emphasize on unity of the community against the Germans.

The main plot becomes complicated when it is interrupted by romantic plot (Eco, 1987). It is through the thrilling plot that enables Rick to decide on love afterward. The romantic scene really complements the real plot thus making the viewer get more than enough entertainment. Through locality and characterization, the viewer is able to realize emotions acted more than just traditional or cultural effects (Field, 1984).

Foregrounding Music in Casablanca

Some of the duties of film music are to ensure that the plot goes through and enhance the viewers’ attitude towards some characters in the film. The film started at a point where two German messengers who were involved in transportation of exit-visas are murdered (Langkjær, 1996). The major in charge Strasser, arrives to make sure that Laszlo does not escape from Casablanca. The dubious help by the natives to the rebellion leader enables him to run away with his wife.

This was a major achievement for the part of narrative closure. Great consideration is given to music with regard to development of the main plot of the movie. The music in the first half of the music concentrates on two main duties. First, it deals with characterization of the inner focal individuals to the effect of the romantic plot. In the case of Rick and Ilsa Secondly, it enables to characterize the place of action (Eco, 1987).

Casablanca emphasize on the characterization of the locality in the first sector of the movie, this is only but one of the main duties . This enables the audience to get a glimpse on different characters while providing a mood of suspense. On the other side, music focuses on place. The only divergence that comes out is the contextual part of the chase scene, which takes place in the streets of Casablanca (Jørholt, 1989).

As Time Goes by appear just after the first sector in the movie. This in fact it fills in what is known as plot-point. Plot-point is a scene in a film that gives it a new direction to the scene. It also gives a forward direction to the film.


Casablanca is a movie that entails both audio and visual effects encompassed together stylistically to educate and entertain its audience. It also helps to give a point that sound and audio use in modern films developed over a long period. The development though with greater problems, it has achieved much in terms of providing extraordinary movies that can never be matched with the current movies.

Casablanca is extremely popular due to the mixed use of plot line and sound which is a complex issue in the film industry. The director has identified a major plot and a minor one then brings them to the audience quite creatively. The film also highlights some aspects of the tense moments during the Second World War.


Eco, U. (1987). “Casablanca”. Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage in Travels in Hyperreality. London: Picador.

Field, S. (1984). “Screenplay”, The Foundations of Screenwriting. New York: Dell.

Jørholt, E. (1989). Spil den igen og igen og igen, Sam, Kosmorama no. 189. Washington, DC: McGraw-Hill.

Langkjær, B. (1996). Filmlyd & filmmusik. Fra klassisk til moderne film. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.

Langkjær, B. (2000) Den lyttende tilskuer. Perception af lyd og musik i film. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.

This essay on “Casablanca” by Michael Curtiz was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, January 20). "Casablanca" by Michael Curtiz. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/casablanca/

Work Cited

""Casablanca" by Michael Curtiz." IvyPanda, 20 Jan. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/casablanca/.

1. IvyPanda. ""Casablanca" by Michael Curtiz." January 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/casablanca/.


IvyPanda. ""Casablanca" by Michael Curtiz." January 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/casablanca/.


IvyPanda. 2020. ""Casablanca" by Michael Curtiz." January 20, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/casablanca/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '"Casablanca" by Michael Curtiz'. 20 January.

More related papers