Casablanca and the Classic Hollywood Era Essay Sample

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Casablanca exhibits the Classical Hollywood cinema in which its focal point is the resurgence of mankind. General focus points in Classical Hollywood era are narration, aspects of space and time, cutting (“invisible style”), and lastly the characters. Classical Hollywood narration progresses always through psychological motivation, i.e. by the will of a human character and its struggle with obstacles towards a defined goal. In Casablanca, Richard “Rick” Blaine, the owner of Rick’s Café Americain and the film’s protagonist struggles to fight off past memories and lives day in and day out as a jaded bar owner. Also Ilsa Lund a devoted wife to Laszlo and former lover of Rick. In Paris, Ilsa had fallen in love with Rick, because at the time she had believed Laszlo was dead. She learned her husband was still alive, she sent a note to Rick at the train station, saying she could never see him again. Despite her obvious commitment to her husband and her confessions of love to Rick both in Paris and later in Casablanca, she rarely displays much passion. In which the viewer can clearly see how conflicting her life is.

The aspects of space and time are subordinated to the narrative element in which it’s usually composed of two lines of action: A romance intertwined with a more generic one such as war. The romance developed between Rick and Ilsa in Paris and in conflicting struggle of their love in Casablanca during World War II composes the two lines of action. Rick Blaine later becomes a self-sacrificing idealist, committed to helping the Allied cause in World War II. Time in classical Hollywood is continuous in which the allowable manipulation of time in this format is flashback. It is mostly used to introduce a memory sequence of a character such as in Casablanca. In Casablanca Rick Blaine has a flashback, we then see Rick in Paris and is in love with Ilsa.

He seems to be visibly happy, but he is then devastated when she doesn’t show up at the train station. In classic Hollywood style the director tried to conceal the two-dimensionality of film by using “invisible style as well as cutting to give the viewer the image that they were actually there. In this process the director is strongly focused on the human body and the facial expressions of the characters. Characters are usually in the center part of the picture frame and never out of focus. I have also noticed that the characters in Classical Hollywood Cinema typically are the causal agents. They also have clearly definable traits and are active and goal oriented.

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