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The film “Casablanca” is a 1942 release that is close to the top ten films that have tasted the times. Its fabrication and filming was carried out in accordance with the creation codes of pictures. It intertwines the political temperature during the Nazism times and the fight between two men for one beautiful woman. The story is constructed around sexuality upholding women as objects that are the center of attention for neurotic satisfaction of men through ownership (Curtiz et al., 2000).
At the beginning of the film, the first introductory scene is dominated by a slow-spinning globe and a zoom-in shot technique is used to reflect on the Western Europe. A voice over is heard explaining the turbulent takeover of continent Europe by Nazis, the increasing flow of political refugees fleeing Hitler’s persecution, and the imminent Second War of the World. The only hope for the fleeing masses was Lisbon but for one to enter Lisbon, he or she had to possess the relevant documents (Curtiz et al., 2000). At this point, the producer applies the production codes by not showing the details of the required papers to safeguard the secrecy of the information pertaining to the documents. It is in the light of possession of these documents that the rivalry of two men, namely Laszio and Rick, that the topic of sexuality is developed.
The camera quickly fades and zooms-in giving rise to a new scene at the evening in a café. The place is full of all types of clients from Italians, French, Germans and refugees eyeing to flee to United States. In a dimly lighted camera, Ugarte presented as a crook creeps in and becomes boastful of how he got transit letters from two German dispatch riders after murdering them. Urgarte’s strategy was to trade the correspondence that night at the club (Curtiz et al., 2000). At this point, the producer of the film applies the production codes by not showing how Ugarte killed the two German messengers.
In terms of sexuality, the film so far seems to be dominated by male characters. The aspect of female essence is yet to be integrated in the big screen. At this point, the male power as the controller of things is dominant. This may have been attributed to the male construction of the female figure as a means to attain self satisfaction and thus should assume the subordinate position (Curtiz et al., 2000).
The scene continues with the petty crook Ugarte being arrested by the neighborhood police under the directions of Captain Renault (Curtiz et al., 2000). He passes away when in detention without disclosing that he assigned the correspondences in his possession to Rick. The details for the death of Ugarte are not disclosed by the producer but rather, he just mentions about the death. This is conformity to the production codes on the disclosure of details pertaining to death of a human being. The male dominance continues to be seen in this seen when no woman has come in to influence the occurrence of events.
Immediately after presentation of Ugarte’s death, Lisa a lovely woman of Norwegian origins comes in and everything changes. She was ones Rick’s lover who left him on the knowledge that his husband Victor, allegedly killed in war, was alive and had gone in hiding (Curtiz et al., 2000). She thus left Rick to take care of her ailing husband wounded in war. At this spot, a woman seems to be the midpoint of interest. Everything in the film focuses on the beautiful woman character Lisa after she enters.
On her arrival in the café, she begs Sam, the pianist of the house and a friend of Rick’s, to play for her the song “As Time Goes By”. At this point, the power of a female is revealed when Sam does according to Lisa’s wish. She smiles at him thus yielding a compelling power which makes Sam act against the wish of his friend Rick. Since Rick had prohibited him from playing the song, he storms over to Sam angrily that he has violated his directions never to present the song (Curtiz et al., 2000).
His anger cools down when he spots Lisa, who was accompanied by his husband Victor to the Café. Continually, the supremacy of a woman’s attractiveness is exposed at this point. Lisa seems to possess an innate power that compelled Rick to cool down despite him being too much angry with her because of disappearing without a warning. Lisa and her husband, who is a fugitive, are in need of the correspondences to help them flee to America to keep on working.When Victor learns from Ferrari, a Rick’s business rival, that Rick in possession of the correspondences, he tries to talk him into selling the letters to help him and his wife Lisa to flee safely (Curtiz et al., 2000). Again, the essence of a woman’s power as the center for attention is revealed when Rick refuses to sell the correspondences to Victor telling him to ask his wife the reason for not willing to sell to them. The reality is that Rick is aggrieved of Victor because he is the reason why Lisa left him.
When Rick refused Victor’s offer, he started a war like sabotage by inciting the band to perform the song “La Marseillaise”. The band fails to perform when Rick disapproves them from playing it. Victor does not just stop, but he leads the lyric and the in attendance crowd joins in followed by everybody who is present. For a pay back, Renault is ordered by Strasser to shut the club. This part presents a war of showing might among the two male characters constructed around the love for one woman. They are working towards out-shining each other on who is worth being with a woman (Curtiz et al., 2000).
As presented in the film, a woman whose love for by the two men causes all these chaos is very attractive and charming. Her presence in the film stands for the erotic manipulation of a woman’s sexuality to men. Though not too much presented, the minimum times she appears in the scenes of the film makes all the change. There emanates anarchy where tranquility persisted. Friends turn into adversaries, and where there is compliance, insubordination shows up.After the people are evacuated from the club, Lisa confronts Rick on his refusal to give her the correspondences. She even goes to the extent of threatening him using a gun but in the process, she admits that she still loves him. At this point, a gun is used as a weapon that threatens a human being’s life. Similarly, love is used as a weapon to win a man’s heart and manipulate him into doing what a woman wants him to do. She also explains the reason why she left him uninformed (Curtiz et al., 2000).
Immediately, Rick’s anger disappears, and he agrees to help them flee (Curtiz et al., 2000). The camera is brought at a close range helping the audience to achieve a point of view of the long shot accompanied by a brilliant lighting that facilitates the zooming of Rick’s and Lisa’s faces to fill the screen. At this moment, one feels the control that Lisa has over Rick because of the love he has for him. The producer applies the production codes by interrupting their kissing intentions through the intrusion of Victor into the scene (Curtiz et al., 2000).
In conclusion, the big screen has incessantly shown the sexuality of a female as a controlling means of a man. The producer has eminently shown this aspect in the two scenes discussed above and at the same time applying the expected codes of production. The historical concept of the construction of sexuality seems to have played a significant role in presenting a woman as the center for attention by a man.
Curtiz, M., Epstein, J. J., Epstein, P. G., Koch, H., Bogart, H., Bergman, I., Henreid, P. Warner Home Video (Firm). (2000). Casablanca. Burbank, CA: Warner Home Video.