Will Summer Blockbusters Hold a Candle to Classic Movie Quotes?

Posted April 27, 2012 by Denise Gangnes
My husband and I had a rare evening together this weekend ... the teenagers had flown the coop for the night, the gardening was done and we hadn't been to the theater in months. We searched the movie listings only to come up empty. Then I realized, this is the "dead time" before the arrival of the big summer blockbusters. Since we had the luxury of limiting the decision making to just two informed people rather than the five semi-developed brains that usually weigh in on the subject, the decision was simple: We own a copy of Casablanca.

For some reason, the subtle and effective nuances of movie quotes from that 1942 award winner seem to elude the teenage brain, but we sat transfixed by familiar dialogue that has become part of American repartee. The film is rife with famous quotes such as "Here's looking at you, kid" and the epic conclusion, "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Although romantics view this film as a love story between Humphrey Bogart as Rick and Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa, movie quotes bear out that the relationship between Bogart and Claude Reins as Capt. Renault is far more intriguing - and entertaining. A typical bout of witty banter between Bogart and Reins:

Renault: I've often speculated why you don't return to America. Did you abscond with the church funds? Did you run off with a Senator's wife? I like to think that you killed a man. It's the romantic in me.

Rick: It's a combination of all three.
Renault: And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?
Rick: My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Renault: The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick: I was misinformed.

Poor Ingrid Bergman has only the responsibility of looking beautiful and uttering such innocuous lines such as, "We'll always have Paris." Her famous movie quote in Casablanca, "Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time" is a somewhat trite contribution. In real life, Ingrid Bergman quotes are far more insightful; for example: "A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous." Bogart was inspired by her, confessing, "If a face like Ingrid Bergman's looks at you as though you're adorable, everybody does. You don't have to act very much."

The public was eager to idolize these popular actors after the success of Casablanca, even though both were intensely private people. Bogart's quote, "The only point in making money is so you can tell some big shot where to go" is a clue that his movie persona as a hard-boiled cynic translated to his personal life. Two years after the release of Casablanca, he would meet Lauren Bacall, a rising starlet 25 years his junior, whom he eventually married. Their illicit relationship seems to fit the Casablanca quote, "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

Ingrid Bergman was already famous in Europe when she was cast in Casablanca. Like Bogart, she had a torrid affair and marriage (to Roberto Rossellini) that was splattered across the tabloids. She admitted, "I've gone from saint to whore and back to saint again, all in one lifetime." However, the public succumbed to her talent, and in the end, she outlived and out acted Bogart. Her famous quote, "Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get" reflects her inner beauty and exceptional intelligence, making her one of the top actresses of all time.

In a world where the marriages of many stars appear to be publicity stunts, they would do well to keep their private lives out of the limelight. It gives new meaning to Bogart's quote, "The only thing that you owe the public is a good performance."


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Authors Mentioned: Humphrey Bogart Ingrid Bergman



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