1001 Movies to See Before You Die (Schneider, J.S, Smith, I.H)
In this article, we will be looking at 2019’s book “1001 Movies to See Before You Die” and going through each film in a random order that I have chosen. We will be looking at what constitutes this film to be on the list and whether I think this film deserves to be here at all. I want to make perfectly clear that I won’t be revealing details from this book such as analyses by film reporters who have written about the film in question, so if you want the book itself you’ll have to buy it. But I will be covering the book’s suggestions on which films should be your top priority. I wouldn’t doubt for a second that everyone reading this article has probably watched many of these movies anyway. But we are just here to have a bit of fun. We’re going to not just look at whether it should be on this list but we’re also going to look at why the film has such a legacy at all. Remember, this is the 2019 version of the book and so, films like “Joker” will not be featured in this book and any film that came out in 2020 (and if we get there, in 2021). So strap in and if you have your own suggestions then don’t hesitate to email me using the address in my bio. Let’s get on with it then.
Casablanca (1942) dir. by Michael Curtiz
To this day, “Casablanca” is still one of the most popular films in all of cinema history. It starts two of the best actors in Hollywood ever - Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Released at the end of November at the Hollywood Theatre in 1942 and then released to the public in the United States during January of 1943, this film has continued to make money from streaming services and DVDs even to this day. It has some of the most memorable lines and scenes in all of Hollywood history and has continued to be a source of influence for many directors and their works.
Bosley Crowther in The New York Times wrote:
"The Warners ... have a picture which makes the spine tingle and the heart take a leap…[with] sentiment, humour and pathos with taut melodrama and bristling intrigue…[and] devious convolutions of the plot…”
But it is Variety Magazine which takes first place for the best paragraph in the whole review with stating about the propaganda message and the way in which the scenes are often touching and frightening etc. it is explanatory and entertaining to read at the same time:
“Film is splendid anti-Axis propaganda, particularly inasmuch as the propaganda is strictly a by-product of the principal action and contributes to it instead of getting in the way. There will be few more touching scenes to be found than when a group of German officers in Rick’s begins to sing Nazi tunes and Henreid instructs the orchestra to go into “La Marseillaise.” A bit frightenedly at first, but then with a might that completely drowns out the Germans, the patrons and help in Rick’s give voice to the anthem of the France of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.” It is just another facet of the variety of moods, action, suspense, comedy and drama that makes “Casablanca” an A-1 entry at the b.o…”
Ingrid Bergman would comment on the film years later and how it boosted her career. She stated the following:
"I feel about Casablanca that it has a life of its own. There is something mystical about it. It seems to have filled a need, a need that was there before the film, a need that the film filled…”
And obviously, what would this classic movie be without the legacy opinion of one Roger Ebert? Well, it would not be very high in the regard of classic film, that’s what it would be. Roger Ebert did comment on the film and he went for the approach of how widely it was loved in comparison to what were ‘better’ films in terms of cinematography and storyline. He stated the following about ‘Casablanca’ and its audience:
“[It is] probably on more lists of the greatest films of all time than any other single title, including Citizen Kane…”
Yes, “Citizen Kane” is great, but more people love and adore “Casablanca”.