Casablanca (1942): Pseudo Anti-Fascism, Real Sexism, Genuine Racism

I haven’t updated this blog in awhile (busy with classes and work) but someone took the time (in the comments of the original post) to respond to my contrarian reading of Casablanca. Is he right? Am I full of crap?

Writers Without Money


Originally made to lend the war against the Nazis an air of Hollywood glamour, and directed by the ideologically baffling Michael Curtiz, who shortly thereafter would go onto make the openly pro-Stalinist Mission to Moscow, Casablanca might best be called a “pseudo-anti-fascist romance.” While it has aged better than most movies released in 1942, it is not a great, or even a particularly good film, certainly not one that deserves to be on the same list as Citizen Kane, Battleship Potemkin, or Jean-Pierre Melville’s anti-fascist masterpiece, Army of Shadows. Its enduring appeal, most of which can be attributed to nostalgia for Hollywood’s “golden years,” also has a darker side. Casablanca is not only racist, sexist, and socially regressive, even for 1942. It obscures the real history of the French Resistance.

Let us, for example, look at Sam, the black night-club singer played by Dooley Wilson, and the historical…

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