In 1942, reviews of new 'Casablanca' were mixed

April 30, 1992|By Tim Grieve | Tim Grieve,McClatchy News Service

SACRAMENTO -- "Casablanca" opened in 1942 to good -- but not great -- reviews.

Reviewers around the country seemed to consider the film a pleasant enough piece of entertainment, but no great work of art -- a bit better than "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure," but not quite "Lawrence of Arabia."

Here's what a few of them had to say:

The New York Times: "Yes, the Warners here have a picture which makes the spine tingle and the heart take a leap. For once more, as in recent Bogart pictures, they have turned the incisive trick of draping a tender love story within the folds of a tight tropical frame.

The New Yorker: "Bogart and Miss Bergman have met before in Paris, it turns out, and they become particularly melancholy whenever the song 'As Time Goes By' is played. It's as good a tune as any to attach sentiment to, and a good one to attach to this picture, which, although not quite up to 'Across the Pacific,' Bogart's last spyfest, is nevertheless pretty tolerable and deserves attractive accessories."

New Republic: "Hollywood often uses its best players, writers and directors for epic phonies; and phony or not, something at least vivid results from so much talent. Each studio has its preferences. . . . Warner's is 'Casablanca.'

"The 'Casablanca' kind of hokum was good in its original context in other movies, but, lifted into 'Casablanca' for the sake of its glitter and not incorporated into it, loses its meaning."

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