Reflection On Casablanca Versus Maltese Falcon: Opinion Essay

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“Casablanca” by Michael Curtiz is a popular American film from 1942, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid. The film focuses on Rick, the main character deciding whether or not to help his former true love, Ilsa and her husband escape to America. Toward the beginning of the film it was a little difficult to follow with various scene changes that caused me to lose interest while being confused. About twenty-five minutes into the movie I began to realize what the plot was about. The majority of the film was narrated omnisciently while sometimes displaying Rick’s point of view.

While watching the film I was able to differentiate between flat and round characters. Rick was an example of a round character because he played a significant role throughout the film and was able to change his mind about giving the escape letter to Ilsa and her husband Victor. Although Ilsa contributed to Rick’s decision of handing over the letters because she declared her love for him, I believe that Rick also did it because he was sympathetic and knew how badly the couple needed it. I noticed that Captain Renault was an example of a flat character because he did not change as much as Rick but still supported his decisions. He also played the role of comic relief throughout the film when decreasing the amount of tension with his humorous lines. I thought the actors were outstanding as well as the cinematography. The lighting and scene shots really had an effect on the viewers and also would not be possible without the director. The production design was also excellent and the interior designs/costumes corresponded very well with the time period of the film. Overall, since I was confused for the first twenty-five minutes, I would watch the film again to get an even better understanding.

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“The Maltese Falcon” by John Huston is a popular film noir from 1941 starring Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, and Peter Lorre. This film was based around crime/mystery and focuses on a detective, Sam Spade who takes on the case of a reticent woman and suddenly discovers that his partner has been murdered. Besides figuring out the web of murders, Sam comes to realize that his goal changes to finding the Maltese falcon. I enjoyed this film from the start and found it much easier to follow than Casablanca. It was straightforward and got to the point rather quickly than the other film. I felt that this film had better production design than Casablanca.

The actors were just as outstanding in this film and the cinematography did a great job at capturing specific angles in order to make the audience feel a certain way. Angles facing up from a downward position and the dark setting of certain shots made the scenes very dramatic. Sam Spade was the protagonist of the film and his goal was to obtain money for the falcon as well as turn in Brigid O’Shaughnessy near the end of the film for shooting his partner Miles. Brigid O’Shaughnessy plays the role of the femme fatale because she was mysterious from the beginning of the movie uses love to manipulate Sam. Her character uses her beauty as an advantage to fool others as well as her “timid” personality. She is a blatant liar and does nothing but manipulate the truth, but expectedly at the end of the film she confesses that she shot Miles by accident.

Although this film was easier for me to follow, I thought that “Casablanca” had more of an interesting plot. I felt that the characters of “Casablanca” changed more throughout the film than the characters from “The Maltese Falcon” which made the storyline very fascinating. The viewers were able to see Rick change from an insensitive person to a more sympathetic person near the end of the film. Captain Renault was loyal to Rick throughout the film and even refuses to arrest Rick after he shoots two men, while in “The Maltese Falcon” we see little change among Sam Spade. He seemed to be insensitive from the start of the film and does not really change as much throughout. Overall, both films were enjoyable and had the qualities for a great film. The acting, screenplay, cinematography, production, and directing were phenomenal among both films.


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