5.0 out of 5 stars
T, July 23 2007
For me, the intriguing story of _Casablanca_ is not the story of Rick and Ilsa trapped between the reality of their present and the memory of their past.
No, the truly interesting story of _Casablanca_ is that which is revealed in the DVD's supplementary documentary, _You Must Remember This_. The creation of this true work of art in an environment dedicated to the mass production of films gives hope to every artist who's had to perform commercially. Indeed, one almost comes away from a behind-the-scenes exploration of _Casablanca_ with an actual appreciation of the way in which deadlines and pressure can help the artist make a better product.
_You Must Remember This_ is thus useful for its display of the whole "studio system" era in Hollywood. It gives a good glimpse into that time and could serve as a useful jumping-off point to anyone seriously studying the subject.
Likewise, the way in which the film's producers and director led the project is a fascinating exploration of management science. The film became legendary, I think, because the people at the top allowed great flexibility for those they led, and weren't afraid to play around with ideas offered even on the studio floor. I think MBA candidates would do well to look at the way this film was put together for enlightenment.
Still, I can't resist talking about the film itself. For me _Casablanca_ is the legend I return to in my own mind whenever there are romantic crises in my life. I think that part of the reason that this movie has survived is because it offers a unique perspective on romantic disappointment. Instead of concluding with scorn or hatred of partners who've left one hanging, it says that people can have noble reasons for causing pain. It also says that ultimately pain is eased when one achieves understanding of the other person. I'm not sure that any major American film gives such a positive spin to heartbreak as this one.
It's thus not at all hard for me to recommend the DVD version of this product, for the excellent supplementary documentary alone, and the movie itself, for the surprising values it discovers in the heart of a morally ambiguous Morocco.