While Casablanca is one of the most know, satirized and often many lines repeated, the unsung hero of the movie is its music. Everyone knows “As time goes by”, but after seeing the movie can you think of any other music from this classic. People who have seen Casablanca dozens of times ( my father ) in their life can only remember “As time goes by”. This song brings back the happy memories of Ilsa and Rick in Paris.
When Rick tells Sam not to play that song, is it possible that Rick never wants to remember the good times with a woman he will never see again or his alcoholic self destructive nature depriving himself of any happiness. Ilsa on the other hand wants to remember the good times and that is why she asks Sam to Play it. In the scene following Rick’s refusal to sell Laszlo the letters of transit, the German officers start singing a German song Die Wacht Am Rhein.
Victor Laszlo never one to let the Germans get the upper hand asks the band to play La Marsellaise. Many in the crowd sing along to La Marsellaise as well as Laszlo. The German officers try in vain to out sing the crowd, but with their small numbers and their Nazi cause, the French Anthem wins the day. Shortly after this, Major Strasser orders Captain Renault to close down Rick’s. Two competing songs bring the closure of our heroes night club, a pivotal point in the movie, and few if any can remember the names of the 2 songs nor even hum a few bars.
This scene also places Victor Laszlo on top of Major Strasser’s list of things he needs to clean up in Casablanca. So why is it that 2 epic anthem’s, such a critical part of this film goes unheard and a song like “As time goes by” is sung, hummed and quoted so often. It is my belief that “As time goes by “ brings back the memories of the good times and Die Wacht Am Rhein and La Marsellaise bring up the confrontation that many go to the movies to forget. The next time I see Casablanca, I will be humming “As time goes by.