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Directors and cinema analysts have come to the conclusion that there are always a variety of impressions and interpretations of a screenplay, some of which may be personal opinions and others may be embedded in the events of the particular movie. One of the screenplays that got conflicting responses from various stakeholders in the entertainment and film industries is the Warner Bros. classic CASABLANCA, which was first produced in 1942. Raskin argues that the director wanted to show the anti-Vichy element of the American political structure (Raskin 153). However, the majority of viewers believe that the events and behaviors in the movie represented American trends. Richard Raskin in his article CASABLANCA and the United States Foreign Policy analyzes the movie and illustrates the intended purpose of most scenes without implicating the United States Government in dirty and unfair dealings.
Raskin strives to explore the theme of love and sacrifice that feature throughout the movie without overlooking the political allegory. The release time, 1942 further escalated the already preformed opinions of the audiences that had established roots in the United States. First, the December 1941 setting of the movie is a reminder of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The attack had changed the neutral position and pushed the United States in the middle of the second World War. Although Casablanca covers a similar scenario, Raskin strives to explain the discrepancy between individuals’ perception and the actual intention of the movie. The self-sacrificing idealist nature and commitment to the anti-Nazi war effort further sends the wrong information to an audience that already perceives the movie as a political affair. The change in Rick’s beliefs is invoked by the return of Ilsa Lund, the old fame. The return hits Rick in a similar way that Japanese executed the Pearl Harbor attack in America. Despite struggles to offer different explanations and arguments to these scenes, the political orientation of the United States remains the discussion point.
Richard Raskin analyzes the recognition of Vichy and the United States straight focus on the implementation and upholding of its political system and structures. The movie commences with Louis being Pro-Vichy. However, in the end, he takes his stand as a partisan of the free France. American main character in the movie, Rick, looks out for Louis and vice versa. The relationship demonstrates the loyalty and commitment to ensuring positive friendship. As Raskin argues, the universal themes of love and sacrifice feature as major discussion points in the film. The diplomatic recognition of Vichy by the United States illustrates that the country was interested in the developments in France (Raskin 154). Despite the United States diplomatic involvement, there was a growing concern that Vichy might give in to German Demands for North Africa bases. That was not a good course of affairs, and Roosevelt had his reservation regarding such an occurrence.
The refusal to recognize the free French is another key point of interest covered by Raskin. He argues that France had appealed and demonstrated to America the importance of its backing during its operations. The movie ends with Louis and Rick developing a strong relationship and the latter stating that he thinks their involvements are the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The general perception of the scene is that the US had a great relationship with its allies during the second world war. However, Raskin is of a different opinion and strives to explain that the movie should not take a political dimension. If anything, President Roosevelt’s government ceased to recognize the existence of free French after Admiral Leahy alleged the existence of the relationship with Britain.
The interpretation from any audience would be that every scene in the movie was a reflection of the Japanese attack on America and what would later follow towards the buildup of the second world war. Raskin involvement is to demonstrate that the movie focused more on illustrating themes of sacrifice and friendship without tarnishing the principles and stability of the United States foreign policy. The friction involving the inclusion and recognition of both Vichy and the Free France raise concern amidst the deviation from what many purport as the key intention of the movie. Richard Raskin explains the deal with Darlan, recognition of Vichy, and failure to hold Free France in high regards as supporting factors in elaborating the stability of the United States in the implementation of its foreign policy. The analysis of Admiral Leahy helps in understanding the major decisions that the United States had to make towards ensuring that it did not cripple everything it stands for. Nonetheless, audiences are not willing to let go the fact that Casablanca is a play that revolves around the political involvement of the mid-20th century. A wider perspective, from Raskin’s point of view, unveils a new avenue to look at the matter and analyze it differently.
Raskin, Richard. "Casablanca" and the United States Foreign Policy." Film History (1990): 153-64. Print.
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