Casablanca at the Royal Opera House

August 8, 2015

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In the canon of great films, the ones I have not seen are few and far between. Casablanca, however, was a notable exception. I always saved this movie for a memorable occasion and it finally arose when the Royal Opera House decided to screen it in its main auditorium accompanied by a live orchestra. The music was mellifluous, the venue was palatial, but what struck me most was the resonant message of the movie.

 

In the early days of World War II, a brooding and cynical American expatriate played by Humphrey Bogart has to choose between the company of the woman he loves, played by Ingrid Bergman, and the strategic imperatives of fighting Nazi Germany. The movie subliminally suggests that when you truly love someone more than yourself, you have to place their best interest and wellbeing before your own, thus proving a point that has far reaching existential and religious significance: love is sacrifice.

 

More than seventy years later, this sobering realization remains as true now as it was back then because the fundamental things of life are still the same, as time goes by. So play it again Sam, play it again:

 

“You must remember this,

A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.

The fundamental things apply,

As time goes by.

And when two lovers woo,

They still say, "I love you",

On that you can rely.

No matter what the future brings,

As time goes by.

Moonlight and love songs,

Never out of date.

Hearts full of passion,

Jealousy and hate.

Woman needs man,

And man must have his mate.

That no one can deny.

It's still the same old story,

A fight for love and glory,

A case of do or die.

The world will always welcome lovers, As time goes by.”

 

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