Casablance Essays and Papers

This essay has a total of 3061 words and 13 pages.


In a disturbance downstairs in the darkened, closed cafe, Carl arrives with Victor, who has been wounded in the
police raid on the Resistance meeting. After going to investigate from the upstairs balcony, Rick privately instructs
Carl to take "Miss Lund" to her hotel room through a side door so that Laszlo won't know of their meeting. As
Carl sneaks Ilsa away, Rick engages Laszlo in a conversation and a drink to stall for time - and hears again of the
Czech's firm belief in the "good" of the Cause.

Rick: Don't you sometimes wonder if it's worth all this? I mean, what you're fighting for.
Laszlo: You might as well question why we breathe. If you stop breathing, we'll die. If we stop
fighting our enemies, the world will die.
Rick: And what of it? It'll be out of its misery.
Laszlo: Do you know how you sound, Mr. Blaine? Like a man who's trying to convince himself of
something he doesn't believe in his heart. Each of us has a destiny - for good or for evil.
Rick: I get the point.
Laszlo: I wonder if you do. I wonder if you know that you're trying to escape from yourself, and that
you'll never succeed.
Rick: You seem to know all about my destiny.

Laszlo does know of their mutual love for "the same woman" - a love for which no one is to blame. Without a
need to seek vindictive revenge or find an explanation, he suggests, in his own self-sacrificial offer, that Rick use
the letters of transit to take Ilsa away from Casablanca to a safe location - as a favor to him. He would remain in
Casablanca and take his chances. Incredulous, Rick is impressed by Laszlo's self-less caring, virtuous trust and
devoted love for her:

Laszlo: I know a good deal more about you than you suspect. I know, for instance, that you are in
love with a woman. It is perhaps a strange circumstance that we both should be in love with the
same woman. The first evening I came into this cafe, I knew there was something between you and
Ilsa. Since no one is to blame, I, I demand no explanation. I ask only one thing. You won't give me
the letters of transit. All right. But I want my wife to be safe. I ask you as a favor to use the letters to
take her away from Casablanca.
Rick: You love her that much?
Laszlo: Apparently, you think of me only as a leader of a Cause. Well, I am also a human being.
Yes, I love her that much.

Moments later, French gendarmes, presumably at Major Strasser's instigation, burst in through the cafe doors and
arrest Laszlo on a "petty charge," as Rick intones: "It seems that destiny has taken a hand."

In the Police Capitaine's office the next morning [December 4, 1941], Rick tries to convince Renault to let Laszlo
go, now that he knows that Ilsa loves him. He then reveals that he has the letters of transit - and - that he plans to
leave Casablanca and run off to Lisbon with her - without Gestapo or police interference:

I intend using them myself. I'm leaving Casablanca on tonight's plane. The last plane...I'm taking a
friend with me, one you'll appreciate...Ilsa Lund. That ought to put your mind to rest about my
helping Laszlo escape, the last man I want to see in America.

The normally unflappable Capitaine chain-smokes relentlessly throughout the scene, highlighting the tension. In
addition to stealing away unimpeded with Laszlo's wife (a scandalous act that is tantalizingly fascinating to
Renault), Rick further wants to put Laszlo away for good in another German death camp. He schemes and
orchestrates a deal with Renault to promote good will with Strasser. The deal would be to frame Laszlo on a
bigger charge (of possessing the letters of transit) that would betray the Resistance leader to the police and keep
him "in a concentration camp for years. It would be quite a feather in your cap, wouldn't it?" Renault catches
himself while agreeing: "Germany, uh, Vichy would be very grateful."

Rick plots to have Renault release Laszlo from jail a half an hour before the Lisbon-bound plane departs. Then,
Laszlo could be lured to Rick's cafe and arrested there as he is presented with the stolen letters of transit. The
charge would be as an accessory to the couriers' deaths - "criminal grounds on which to make the arrest. You get
him, and we get away. The Germans at last will be just a minor annoyance." Although Renault has misgivings, he
agrees to the scheme - one that would bring him Strasser's approval and gambling gain. Obviously, the scheme
benefits Renault's standing: (1) He recovers the letters of transit, (2) He is praised by Strasser for arresting Laszlo,
and (3) He wins the 10,000 franc wager with Rick:

Renault: There's still something about this business I don't quite understand. Miss Lund, she's very
beautiful, yes. But you were never interested in any woman.
Rick: She isn't just 'any woman.'
Renault: I see. How do I know you'll keep your end of the bargain?
Rick: I'll make the arrangements right now with Laszlo in the visitor's pen.
Renault: Ricky, I'm gonna miss you. Apparently, you're the only one in Casablanca who has even
less scruples than I.

In the Blue Parrot, Rick arranges to sell his cafe to Ferrari to prepare for his departure to Lisbon (and America)
with Ilsa. Rick is assured that all his employment agreements with his workers (Abdul, Carl, and Sascha) will
remain the same and Sam will receive "twenty-five percent of the profits").

In the last scene in Rick's closed cafe, Rick is studying the letters of transit. Renault arrives with a loud set of
knocks on the door. The sound of a car pulling up alerts them to Laszlo and Ilsa arriving by taxi. Renault hides
concealed out of sight in Rick's office. As Victor pays the cab driver, Ilsa rushes in ahead of her husband, and
speaks privately to Rick - as As Times Goes By is reprised on the soundtrack. She is worried that Victor hasn't
been told:

Ilsa: Richard, Victor thinks I'm leaving with him. Haven't you told him?
Rick: No, not yet.
Ilsa: But it's all right. You were able to arrange everything?
Rick: Everything is quite all right.
Ilsa: Oh, Rick.
Rick: We'll tell him at the airport. (prophetically) The less time to think, the easier for all of us. Please
trust me.
Ilsa: Yes, I will.

[The dramatic question is: Will Rick use the letters for himself and his lost love? Renault believes that Rick and Ilsa
will be using them. Victor recently offered to buy the letters of transit to send Ilsa ahead to safety in Lisbon and
America ("use the letters to take her away from Casablanca"). However, now he thinks he is leaving with his wife.
Ilsa was told in Rick's apartment that Rick can help Victor get out of Casablanca with a letter of transit. In any
event, Ilsa believes that she will be partnered with Rick.]

Laszlo enters the cafe and thanks Rick profusely for his efforts to help. He also gratefully offers to pay Rick for
the letters, but Rick refuses his payment: "Keep it. You'll need it in America."

Rick: You won't have any trouble in Lisbon, will you?
Laszlo: No, it's all arranged.

Renault arrests Laszlo after Rick gives him the letters to fill in the names: "Victor Laszlo, you are under arrest on a
charge of accessory to the murder of the couriers from whom these letters were stolen." At first, Rick is standing
between Ilsa and Victor. After Renault's threat, the horrified Ilsa moves instinctively to her husband's side,
crossing behind Rick and leaving him on the outside. Painfully, Rick realizes that Ilsa belongs to Victor and that
she should leave with him - otherwise, she will regret her decision. Renault informs them of Rick's betrayal:

Oh, you're surprised about my friend, Ricky. The explanation is quite simple. (flippantly and
delightedly) Love, it seems, has triumphed over virtue.

But then Renault finds that Rick has again turned the tables - as he turns toward Rick, he sees a gun pointed at his
midsection: "Not so fast, Louis. Nobody's gonna be arrested - not for a while yet." With a firm warning, Rick
forces Renault - at gunpoint - to phone the airport:

Rick: And remember, this gun is pointed right at your heart.
Renault: (quipping) That is my least vulnerable spot.

Renault informs airport officials to expect and grant safe passage for two passengers with letters of transit from
Casablanca to Lisbon ("There's to be no trouble about them"). Unbeknownst to Rick, he has craftily dialed Major
Strasser's number and alerted him to the escape. Strasser receives the call in his German Commission of Justice
office where a portrait of Adolf Hitler hangs on the wall behind him. Realizing there is trouble, Strasser orders
Heinze to get his car, and then phones the office of the Prefet of Police and orders a squad of police to meet him
at the airport - at once.

In the airport's hangar in the film's final departure scene, the
plane is readied to take off in ten minutes in the misty fog:
"Visibility: one and one half miles. Light ground fog. Depth of
fog approximately five hundred. Ceiling unlimited." Rick,
Renault, Laszlo, and Ilsa drive up in a government vehicle.
Wearing a hat and trenchcoat (in which he conceals a gun in
his right hand), Rick orders Renault to have an orderly get
Laszlo's luggage and load it on the plane. As Laszlo walks
away to make luggage arrangements, Rick orders Renault to
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