Citation: Wilson, Kristi. "Casablanca." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Gale Group, 1 January 2000.
Wilson, Kristi. "Casablanca." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Gale Group, 1 January 2000.
In this article, Kristi Wilson gives a brief summary of the plot of the movie and expands on this superficial interpretation of the film by analyzing how the film presented a strong antifascist sentiment. Wilson begins by contrasting the different characters in the film. To begin, Lazlo and Isle gain sympathetic compassion from viewers on account of their troubling situation and the flashback history of chaos they experienced in Vichy-France. This is used the make the viewers feel empathetic towards the French Resistance. A deeper connection with such sentiment is achieved through the development of Rick’s character. Rick, whose involvement in the resistance becomes increasingly apparent as the movie progresses, creates a heroic character image in which the viewers support his endeavors. Wilson explains how such support is augmented by the viewers’ hope that his romantic endeavors succeed. In contrast with these characters, the German officers are portrayed as being stiff and unyielding. Garnering little sympathy, but rather gaining distaste for their apparent egotism, the German characters are continuously portrayed as being corrupt and malevolent. Such stark contrast, as Wilson states, creates a classic protagonist vs. antagonist in which there is a strong political undertone against the power and authority of the Nazi command. Consequently, the film demonstrates a strong antifascist motif by the way it contrasts the characters and their personal objectives and dispositions.
Leon, Charls L. Ponce de. "Progressive Politics and American Dreams." Review in American History September 2008: 348.
Charles L. Ponce de Leon provides a critical analysis of Lary May’s book, The Big Tomorrow: Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way. Leon begins by giving a background into film history and how cinema developed in a political manner. He demonstrates how it became politically powerful and how it can be interpreted in revisionist studies through cultural anthropology, sociology, literary criticism, and social history. It is with these methods that Leon further critiques the work of May’s book and demonstrates the true power of cinema. Leon demonstrates how cinema’s production can be used to “peddle products that are subversive” and create a specified appeal for audiences. In this manner, he claims that producers are able to use film techniques to create an exact interpretation which can vary little amongst audiences in the grand scheme. Leon also states that cinema uses political implications to challenge the authority of the elites. Such is seen in the production of Casablanca. Leon then progresses his critical analysis towards films of the 1940’s and how they were heavily influenced not only by the lingering effects of the New Deal and the Great Depression, as can be seen by the dramatic mise-en-scene of the city of Casablanca in the film. He also demonstrates how “progressive moviemakers eagerly contributed their talents to government service and a host of pro-war, antifascist films”. Leon then moves to analysis of the cultural, social, and political implications of the film Casablanca specifically. He contends that the films played an important political role to the antifascist movement and demonstrated a strong propagandistic desire to aid the resistance movement. However, he also notes that Rick’s “loss of independence” later hurt the film’s political undertones and created an opposite sentiment later on in the sixties. In all, Leon critiques May’s book which discusses the political and social effects of early cinema and discusses the value they have towards audiences. With this, he lends support to Casablanca’s social significance as a film of antifascism and pro-war significance.