The singing of La Marseillaise from Casablanca, one of my favorite scenes in all of film, seems especially appropriate today after the murders this morning at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
Some quick thoughts:
- Note how virtually everyone goes along with the Nazi song at the beginning, because they are afraid of being different;
- Note Victor Laszlo’s face of determined courage as he stands on the balcony with Rick and hears the Nazi song;
- Note how Elsa looks at Victor as he walks purposefully to the orchestra (she knows what he’s capable of);
- Note how it takes one man’s courage to put courage in others;
- Note how Elsa looks at Victor once the singing catches on;
- Note how the Nazis prepare to use violence once they can’t bully and propagandize their opponents into silence. (The clip ends at the point at which the Nazis force the closing of Rick’s Cafe.)
I want to be a man like Victor Laszlo; I’d like to earn the right for my wife to look at me the way Elsa looks at him.
Vive La France. Vive La Liberté.
(Credit to Rod Dreher for reminding me today about that scene from Casablanca.)