full title · Casablanca
director · Michael Curtiz
leading actors/actresses · Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Heinreid
supporting actors/actresses · Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre
type of work · Melodrama, war movie
genre · Drama
language · English (with some German and French)
time and place produced · Hollywood, 1942
date of release · Released in New York in late 1942 and nationwide in early 1943
producer · Hal Wallis
setting (time) · December 1941
setting (place) · Casablanca in French-ruled Morocco
protagonist · Rick Blaine
major conflict · The major conflict is between Rick and Ilsa as he tries to understand and she tries to explain their suddenly aborted relationship in Paris. The conflict soon expands beyond their romantic past to involve Laszlo and his attempt to escape to Lisbon.
rising action · The conflict between Ilsa and Rick is ignited when Ilsa shows up in Rick's Cafe with Laszlo. Laszlo and Ilsa plan only to pass through Casablanca, but the difficulty of obtaining letters of transit and the fact that the jealous Rick has the letters forces Ilsa and Rick into frequent contact and conflict.
climax · The climax of the film appears to be the lovers' reconciliation in Rick's apartment, but Rick's decision at the airport to let Ilsa leave with Laszlo soon trumps this earlier scene.
falling action · The falling action begins with Rick's idealistic pronouncements at the airport about personal sacrifice, which justify his decision to let Ilsa leave with Laszlo, and culminates in his murder of Strasser, an act that ensures Ilsa and Laszlo's safe departure but forces Rick into further exile.
themes · The difficulty of neutrality; the inescapable past; the power of lady luck
motifs · Exile and traveling; dreaming of America in Africa; spotlight
symbols · Sam’s piano; Laszlo; the plane to Lisbon and the letters of transit
Recently I learned there are three verses to "As Time Goes By," omitted from the film music to Casablanca, sung by Dooley Wilson, and now accepted as standard. Rather than retype them here, readers can go to Wikipedia articles, (i) "As Time Goes By" and (ii) read also about the composer, Herman Hupfeld, NOT Max Steiner, who, purportedly did not like the song/verses in the first place. The complete lyrics make more sense for me now than previously, as lovely as they were/now are.
3 out of 3 people found this helpful
I guess I've tried to watch Casablanca several times, mostly in distracted situations. This summary really helped me understand the plot!
Best detailed synopsis I've ever seen!
One suggestion for something that's a little confusing in the synopsis: the police officer's name is Captain Louis Renault. He should be referred to as "Renault" - not "Louis," which is his first name. This was confusing to me - and required me to go back to figure out who this "Louis" was.
But all in all, a superb effort that clarified a lot of plot points.