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Casablanca, (Michael Curtiz, 1942), explores the ideals of love and sacrifice in the context of World War Two. These themes are propagated by the selfless actions of Rick, a cynical night club owner, and Ilsa, who must suppress her love for Rick in order to support her husband, Victor Laszlow, an anti-Nazi crusadist. The key scene in which Rick and Ilsa are reunited in the presence of Victor Laszlow and Captain Louis Renault at Rick's Café emphasizes the tensions which arise from Rick and Ilsa's obligations to love and sacrifice. Elements of mise-en-scène, particularly lighting, acting, costume, make-up, and staging, reveal the tensions between Rick and Ilsa, generate different sympathies for each of the characters, and implicitly…show more content…
Captain Renault's intonations during the scene reveal suspicions concerning Rick and Ilsa. His suggestive voice which raises questions about their relationship cultivates an awkward tension between Rick and Laszlow. Two words in particular, "extremely jealous," are delivered with high intonations and connote suspicion. While the other characters politely try to address each other, Renault bluntly confronts the mysterious situation between Rick and Ilsa. Renault's costume reinforces theses scenic anxieties. Dressed in a decorated military uniform, he is a looming reminder of the war. Renault's presence as an officer symbolizes the forces which have complicated the situation between Rick, Ilsa, and Laszlow. This coincides with the awkward tensions his delivery creates. Placement of a decorated officer as the central bearer of tension in the scene enforces the audience's anxieties with the war and generates sympathy for the Allied cause. Rick, Ilsa, and Laszlow, who all emerge as supporters for the Allied cause, are haunted by Renault and the conflict he represents. The costume and make-up of Rick and Victor Laszlow generates a comparison of their different roles in the war and complicates the audience's decision to sympathize with either one of them. Rick is attired in a bright white tuxedo and bowtie. His ensemble is neatly tailored to his body, producing an air of sophistication and strength which separates him from his
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