Casablanca is a 1942 romantic drama movie revealing a story of an American expatriate Rick Blaine meeting his ex-lover in unoccupied Africa. The main hero had to decide what is more important to him – to stay with his beloved or perform his duty.
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He must help either his lover’s husband, Czech Resistance leader to escape, or fight for his love for Ilsa. At the end of the movie, Rick is forced to put his veritable feelings aside and commit himself to the moral obligations.
The story, therefore, is emotional, emphatic, and full of dramatic moments due to the use of efficient cinematographic effects, including sound and music, lighting, appropriate camera angles, and set design.
All these techniques allow the audience to understand experience, feelings, and emotional they endure. Specific attention should be given to the Railway Station Sequence analysis where the salient techniques are used to evoke empathy and emotion from the audience.
Sounding is an important element in movie because it serves to amplify the emotional state of the protagonists. Used both as a background music score at the beginning, the scene depicts Rick waiting for Sam at the railway station. The second scene introducing Sam looking for Rick is almost similar to the first one.
By using such an approach, the director creates two different scenes in one sequence. The music piece provided in these two scenes still has various degrees of stress. In particular, the tension grows as Sam and Rick are searching for each other and music becomes softer as soon as both characters meet each other.
The subsequent scenes are accompanied by more impulsive music. Specifically, non-diegetic sound is not heard by the heroes, but it manages to render the overall atmosphere of the moment.
Although the music is dramatized during the scene when Rick the letter, the focus is made on the letter but not on the hero’s emotional expression.
Such an approach is used to link the scenes in which a protagonist progresses through various scenes toward to a specific goal. Apart from the background music-score, there are also sound effects that signify the denouement of the episode.
Employing various camera shots, close-ups, and angles also contributes to emphatic filling of the movie. In particular, the director applies to various techniques to make the scene more dramatic and compelling. In the Railway Station Sequence, it is possible to trace several shifts in camera movements.
The first is made when Rick and Sam are engaged in dialogue. At this point, the director chooses two powerful approaches, medium close-ups, and reverse over-the-shoulder shots. The hero’s close-up allows the audience to see the expression on his face while he reads the letter.
As soon as this moment is captured, the camera angle immediately changes and it is possible to see the letter content. During this shot, there is no camera movement, which permits the viewers to read the letter and understand the experiences faced by Rick.
The next stage frames the scene, as the camera once again returns to reverse shot-over-the-shoulder shot and medium close-up. The next moment introduces vivid camera movement up to the scene in which the train departs.
During all the sequences of scenes at the station are accompanied by heavy rain, which also contributes to the expressive interpretation.
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Lighting also plays important role in delivering the main message of the episode in the movie. The scene starts with top and frontal lighting to capture the view on the railway station and show the crowd rushing here and there in the search of their platforms.
A lot of black umbrellas contribute to sense of the inevitability of things to come. Use of artificial lightning is necessary for the viewers to be able to grasp the entire atmosphere at the station. The scene in which Sam is looking for Rick is accompanied with low contrast light.
The director employs this technique to emphasize a fixed medium shot of the camera. Although the play of light and shadow is not intense, the audience could predict that the next scene will be culminated.
Similar is used in the scene where Rick is waiting for Sam, which creates intrigue and focuses on Rick’s instant splash of emotions. The shifts in lightning occur to the letter-reading episode.
The letter itself is represented by means of high contrast lightning, which creates the culmination in the scene. Combined drips falling down the letter with contrasted light enhances the overall effect on the viewers.
The framing and editing of the movie scene is also skillfully introduced. The director successfully selects costumes, setting, and sound, and background music to produce the atmosphere of suspense. Everything – from props, shapes, and colors – reflects the historic period, location, and the prevalent mood in the movie.
The rain effect is probably the most remarkable in the episode because it gives a sense of time passing by incredibly fast. The hero’s costumes also complement the main purpose of the scene. Rick wears a raincoat and a black hat, which suits best the railway sequence.
The strictness of Rick’s image corresponds to his intense and emotionally amplified mood. The balance of the entire composition, therefore, is maintained due to the equal distribution of objects, color, light, and sound.
The black and white movie stock is another important feature which allows the audience to feel the circumstances under which the heroes act.
Although the railway station scene is only 1 minute long, the director manages to incorporate a variety of techniques from camera abrupt movement to single-shot representations. Therefore, the entire scene seems to be attention grabbing to the above presented techniques.
In conclusion, the light, editing, stage progressing, and sound emphasize the emotionally intense atmosphere of the scene. Both the heroes and the background are skillfully represented by the director, including play of light and shadow, close-ups and middle shots, and camera movements.
Specific attention should be given to the music, particularly to its great contribution to the development of the plot, the culmination, and denouement.
The angles and shots also play essential role because they introduce a fixed structure of the scene, with camera movement at the beginning and at the end and close-ups and fixed middle shots in middle of the sequence.
Emotional filing of the episode is ensured by impressive set design and composition of objects and background. The crowd movements and rain at the very beginning establish the mood of the episode and keep the audience in suspense.
Finally, the sequence of scenes is also organized in a framing structure by means of music and additional sound effects represented on the background. Specific attention requires the letter-reading episode where the music sound points to the increased importance of the hero’s emotional state.