A must-see for too many reasons to count. Yes, it was a surprise hit, striking America’s war-weary heart in the middle of the Second World War. Yes, it won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. And of course it features Mad-Dog Bogart in a dark and emotional romantic lead role, paired with a stunningly beautiful Ingrid Bergman, who suffers on film like no one else.
It’s fun, too, to find the seven “greatest lines” that the American Film Institute identified, seven among the Top 100—more than in any other film. Try to find the names of film named AFTER these lines—The Usual Suspects being the most obvious.
Heads-up on thing. Its script doesn’t say things two or three time, and doesn’t hit you over the head with plot points. It hits the ground running like few other films. While I always insist that my students create an optimum environment for home viewing if that’s what they have to do when missing a film showing for my class, this one demands that kind of treatment: Turn off the cell, go to the bathroom first, make everyone else leave the house/dorm/apartment, get whatever food you want, and just sit and let the film draw you in. There is simply too much to enjoy to watch this superficially. The brilliant turns of phrase, the line deliveries by…uh…everyone.