Last Friday, Annie and I watched Casablanca because it was available for free from Comcast OnDemand (as is Citizen Kane, which we’ll be watching soon). It’s one of those movies that everyone has seen or wants to see—you know, a Classic—so I always feel a sense of anticipation that what I’m about to see has been overrated. I’m cynical like that.

Casablanca pleasantly surprised me. Yes, there’s some archaic dialog that doesn’t sound “normal” to the 21st Century, American ear, but the actors’ tension and apprehension is palpable in an unspoken way. In particular, Humphrey Bogart plays Rick Blaine as an icy cool “cynic,” unnerved through the tensest situations, but there’s something subtle in his performance that belies his cold exterior.

While some declare Casablanca to be the most romantic film of all time—and I can see clearly why they would—I didn’t see the movie as especially romantic. There are grand romantic gestures, but the characters also are very cruel to each other when necessary. Regardless of whether you’ll think it’s romantic, it’s definitely a film worth playing again (Sam).