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TheRaider.net Research Indy's Influences Inspirations Casablanca
 
Casablanca
 

Released by Warner Bros. - 1943

Directed by: Michael Curtiz
Based on a play by: Murray Burnett & Joan Alison
Screenplay by: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein & Howard Koch
Produced by: Hal B. Wallis & Jack L. Warner

Starring:
Humphrey Bogart....Richard 'Rick' Blaine
Ingrid Bergman....Ilsa Lund Laszlo
Paul Henreid....Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains....Captain Louis Renault
Conrad Veidt....Major Heinrich Strasser
Sydney Greenstreet....Senor Ferrari

 

When you hear the name Casablanca and you know anything about film, the first thing that usually pops into one's head is "Play it, Sam", which actually goes down in history as the most famous non-quote ever associated with a film. In short, Humphrey Bogart never actually utters that line, much like Darth Vader never actually says "Luke, I am your father."


Arrest at Rick's café.

Well, pop-culture nitpicking aside, Casablanca is arguably a major influence on the Indiana Jones series. Sure, sure, it does not have a quest for an ancient treasure and no harrowing chases, but what Casablanca contributed to Indiana Jones was something more invisible but monumentally important. Casablanca, in many ways, influenced much of the Indiana Jones atmosphere.

Unless you are dead, you know the story. The Nazis have moved into France and all of the refugees from Europe are fleeing to Casablanca in Vichy-held Morocco, where they hope to attain exit visas to the United States and escape the Third Reich. In the city of Casablanca, the most popular club is owned by Rick Blaine (played by Humphrey Bogart), an American ex-patriot who threads out a living running his bar/casino and walking the fine line of neutrality with the local Vichy authorities and the desperate refugees.


Bogart as Rick Blaine.

One night, Rick's life is thrown upside-down when a seedy acquaintance named Ugarte (played by Peter Lorre) slips him exit visas signed by Charles De Gaulle, which he acquired by murdering two Nazi officers. The Vichy police find Ugarte and arrest him, unaware that Rick is now in possession of the visas. That same night, a lost-love from the past, Ilsa (played by Ingrid Bergman), arrives with her husband at Rick's club. Ilsa's husband is a notorious Resistance hero and the Nazis are willing to do anything to execute his arrest, but the laws in Casablanca prohibit such an action lest he commit a crime. Rick knows it is only a matter of time before the Nazis circumvent Vichy authority and take Ilsa and her husband to a concentration camp. He has the means to help them, via Ugarte's visas, but he is torn between his anger towards Ilsa and his conscience.

The film is simply a masterpiece in its own right, but we're here to talk Indiana Jones so here goes. If you have not seen this film, shame on you. See it.


"Round up the usual
suspects."

Even the casual Indiana Jones fan will see all kinds of influences that Casablanca had on the Indy series just during a single viewing. These influences are wholly atmospheric, but the atmosphere in Indiana Jones is so powerful and effective that it puts Casablanca in a whole new light. From the opening frames, Indy fans will note the use of the map and the roving line as it snakes its way from Europe to Morocco. The opening scenes of Casablanca exteriors reveal cluttered market streets and buzzing activity, highly similar to the streets of Cairo in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Watching these scenes, one almost expects Indy to walk by with Marion and a bag of dates. The other locations in the film are also heavily influences on Indiana Jones locations. Rick's club is a middle-eastern version of Club Obi-Wan from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Ironically, and most likely deliberately, Indiana Jones wears the same white tuxedo in Club Obi-Wan that Rick is seen wearing in the opening scenes in Rick's club. Many people see this as a James Bond influence, but one look at Indiana's introduction coming down the stairs in Club Obi-Wan, much like Rick does in certain scenes of Casablanca, and it is apparent that a Rick Blaine reference is more likely.


Everybody around Sam
and his piano.

Senor Ferrari (played by Sydney Greenstreet) owns the Blue Parrot café in the film, which bears a slight atmospheric resemblance to the bar in which Indy and Belloq have their heated chat. Also, during the Blue Parrot sequence, take note of Bogey's snap-brim fedora, which looks very close to Indy's famous lid. The costuming of Indy and Marion in the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark is most assuredly a reference to Rick and Ilsa's legendary good-bye at the airfield. Indy wears a nice suit with his gray fedora, much like Rick Blaine, and Marion sports a hat and outfit extremely similar to Ilsa's. The plane that lands in the opening of the film bears a remarkably similar resemblance (minus two engines of course) to Lao Che's Ford Tri-Motor from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

One of the more striking similarities is the scene at Rick's table when he speaks with Ugarte in the beginning of the film. The conversation is framed and filmed much like Spielberg "lensed" the conversation between Belloq and Indy in the bar.


Bogart & Bergman.

Truly, Casablanca contributed much to the atmosphere of Indiana Jones, with its seedy dives, smoke filled rooms, and general atmosphere of danger and deceit. If Secret of the Incas and the adventure serials were templates for the quest and the action, then Casablanca filled in the spaces in between.

Casablanca is available on DVD, beautifully restored with a full "special edition" treatment. Grab it if you can. You won't be disappointed. (MF)

 

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