“It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles.”: Lent in Casablanca, Night 36

A frequently mentioned quote goes, “Insanity is repeating the same actions, and expecting different results.” I’ve heard it phrased in many different ways, and attributed to everyone from Albert Einstein to my friend’s dad.

In Casablanca, people repeat the same actions, night after night, in the hopes that the results will be different, that through influence or luck or having sex with the right suave Capitaine, tonight will be the night when that elusive exit visa arrives, unlike a previous eternity’s worth of “tonights.”

Whenever I hear that line now–It will take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca–I laugh. I have to. I wonder the same thing some nights.

I get the impression that Rick’s Cafe Americain changed very little from one night to the next, at least till Victor, Ilsa, and Major Strasser arrived. People dressed with the same sartorial flair, then smoked and drank and gambled, trying to forget–or arrange escape from–being stuck in Casablanca.

My nightly visits to Casablanca are nearly finished, and I’ve learned a lot from watching this same film every night.

I should point out that I haven’t been watching every pixel every second. What has tended to happen is that I start Casablanca, then some inspiration or another will hit me, and I’ll start writing. It’s funny how many posts start when Rick disses the Deutsche Bank guy, and end right after “…beautiful friendship.” This marks my 36th Lenten Casablanca post.

Doubtless, it’s not a good thing that I can anticipate music cues without seeing the screen, or that I know nearly all the dialogue. Also, Casablanca took five weeks to shoot. I’ve spent longer on this odd experiment.

Kzinti joked in one comment that it was like I was writing my dissertation tying Casablanca to everything.

While I’m reasonably certain they don’t let you write dissertations that way, Casablanca deals with themes common to everyone: love, lust, friendship, patriotism. We see the best and worst of humankind, from Rick allowing his One True Love to leave with another man, to Louis trading exit visas for sex. (I’m not sure what the worst part is (rimshot))

Casablanca has endured because it’s a crystalized, beautifully rendered snapshot of humankind, foibles and all. It’s succinct, as compared to “Gone With the Wind,” which has yet to end after 72 years.

At Casablanca’s core is the triangle: Rick-Ilsa-Laszlo. The rest–Nazis vs French, rich vs poor, patriot vs traitor–that’s all just window dressing. The quality of that dressing…that’s what has made Casablanca endure.

There isn’t another film I could watch nightly for this many consecutive days, not without going nuts. It’s Good Friday morning now. When I get home, I’ll watch Casablanca, then again tomorrow, and then this experiment will be over. I have had a lot of fun, and I’ve forced myself to write 36 of these nights. Some posts have been serious; others have given me the chance to write other characters into the story. It’s been great. Thanks for stopping by.

I just wonder if I’ll ever be able to sleep again without Major Strasser being shot first.

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15 Responses to ““It would take a miracle to get you out of Casablanca, and the Germans have outlawed miracles.”: Lent in Casablanca, Night 36”

  1. This has been a fascinating experiment, Tom!

    Maybe to get to sleep you can just fast forward to the shooting…

    • I’m afraid a car will backfire one day in traffic. I’ll mistake it for Major Strasser’s demise, and fall asleep.

      Thanks for returning time and again. Happy Easter to you and your various bunnies, chicks, humans, leopards, chimps, as well as MI’s hippest all quadruped CPA Furm. (Sic and *snert*)

      • Lol at falling asleep in traffic. (that was a weird sentence wasn’t it?

        Happy Easter to you and yours, too! I get two days off after today! w00t!

    • My mom is making ham & potato salad, and she told me to invite Staceypunkin and the kids. She didn’t invite ME, though. (Rimshot)

      It hit 90 Thursday. I’m getting my hair all cut off. Yipes. 🙂

      • I am at werk now, and ice spicules were falling on my head on the way in. *grumble grumble*
        We’re having ham and broccoli casserole!

    • Are you having ham…and brocolli casserole? Or a casserole of ham & brocolli?

      And who you calling a spicule? 😉

  2. I am sure that spicule is on the list of politically incorrect words! I have a spiral sliced ham and my grandma has the old broccoli, rice, cheese whiz recipe, so they will be separate. Mom’s bringing pineapple upside down cake, MIL is bringing baked beans. Much eating fun will be had by all! *burp*

    • Spicules are columns of sun stuff. In confirming that, I find that they are also parts of nematode naughty bits, which you probably deal with in the poo lab.

      I just find it amusing, because my surname is Spanish, so it was like you were calling me a spicule…oh, never mind. 😉

      I should note that I adore brocolli in casserole form. I shall await my scraps. 😛

  3. We’re having spiral ham and that’s all I know b/c the BFF is cooking it. I suspect we’re going have either asparagus or green beans, and hopefully the mead and spice yams (which always appear at Thanksgiving, and then Christmas, and some years Easter b/c they are just that good). No clue whatsoever about what dessert might be. It will all be good, though.

    • I put spiral ham and Thanksgiving turkey in the same category: lovely, if unremarkable, entrees, which undergo a transawesomeification in the fridge, and become spectacular as sandwiches and cold leftovers. Yumm.

      The yam affair of which you speak also sounds delightful.

      Have a Happy Easter, LT.

    • WAIT! You have inspired a brilliant idea!

      Okay, “brilliant” might be overstating things, but it’s cool.

      God (in my idea) reveals Himself throught mead & spiced yams, which appear at various family functions, holiday dinners, covered-dish suppers, etc. But nobody brings them, and nobody notices their arrival. AND it could be a series of different side dishes, a different one every week.

      AND it could be adapted to a ScyFy series, with two 2 chef-detectine brothers and a plucky friend-girl, PLUS a weekly tie-in show on the Food Network, where top chefs and–if He’s not too busy–God Himself discuss how to make it.

      BRILLIANT! Have your producer people call mine.

  4. I should probably do a Blazing Saddles or The Producers Lent special but I gave up pretty much everything for Lent. Or I would if I were of that particular persuasion (the giving up kind, I mean). I’ve enjoyed this sojourn. I probably ought to watch the film some day but somehow it seems better that I don’t because someone has to balance out the universe.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. ASV and Wind will be glad to be your exclusive triangle again, I’m sure. 🙂

    • The campfire/beans scene never fails to make my mother cringe, and my dad, my brother, and me laugh hyenaically.

      I wish you and PP bunny-free roads and chocolat beaucoup

  5. We had spiral-sliced ham at the gathering at my sister’s today. I made gourmet mac’n’cheese, enough to feed a prison. Four people took home the leftovers.

    I’m in awe of all that you’ve managed to link Casablanca too, as well, but you *are* the Mad God of Lateral Thinking.

    • There are few things better than really good mac & cheese. To me, even bad mac & cheese is better than none. Knowing you, yours was probably spectacular.

      And thank you for lending a positive spin to my frequent lack of linear–TURTLE! 😉

      Have a lovely Easter, Laurie.

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