Saturday, December 08, 2007

As time goes by...

My favorite cure for what ails you is to curl up on the couch and lose yourself in a black-and-white movie.

I don't know. Something about the simplicity of it all, the nostalgia, the illusion of the Hollywood dream factory in its glory days.

TCM is playing the movie tonight, the granddaddy, the one film that conditions your life, stays with you, makes you remember it long after the credits roll.

This is, of course, "Casablanca," and if Hollywood has ever churned out a better picture, I've yet to see it -- and I've seen a good many of them.

It has it all. Bogie. Bergman. Action. Romance. Dooley Wilson and "As Time Goes By." Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet.

And, of course, that famous ending.

I've seen this movie at least 20 times over the years -- possibly more. And I never tire of it. It's like an old friend, stopping by to get caught up, after a long absence.

I'll warn you that there's a spoiler ahead, so if you're among the uninitiated who hasn't seen the film, skip over this next part.

But I've often thought that if Bergman stays behind with Bogie, and doesn't get on the plane to Lisbon, this film is forgotten faster than Kevin Costner's last work.

Oh, here's the part where Bergman comes back to see Bogie in the saloon. God, I love this.

Call me crazy, but on a foggy night when you feel like hell, there's nothing better than Rick and Ilsa in French Morocco, finding each other again but realizing that some things are more important than love.

No matter what the future brings, "Casablanca" just keeps getting better and better, as time goes by...

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