Casablanca: Romance as Metaphor for Propaganda College

Anyone who fails to enjoy the 1942 Warners Brothers classic Casablanca on the level of a love story may likely also fail to apprehend why the movie consistently ranks at or near the top of critical assessments of the best Hollywood movies of all time. The truth is that Casablanca is actually deserving of far more respect than it already receives precisely because the love triangle at its center holds the central political metaphor at work in the plot so tightly together that no amount of melodramatic intrusion can cause it to unwind. If one can't enjoy Casablanca on the level great cinematic romance, perhaps one should learn to view the film through the prism of historical allegory.

First, a quick history lesson. The time: the late 1930s. The location: Europe. The issue: the unrestrained spread of fascist ideology by force.

The Nazi party that has taken power in Germany is making Europeans very nervous. They don't yet know exactly what Hitler wants, but it's beginning to look like a sure bet that most of the continent's population is not going to like it if he gets it. The invasion of Poland sets off the most catastrophic era of the 20th Century. Hitler and his jackbooted thugs gobble up less militarily potent...

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