In this clip of the wartime film Casablanca (only the greatest film ever made) we first watch a conversation between night club owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) and Czech resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), who is trying to convince Rick to help him and his wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman)—with whom Rick will always have Paris—flee the country. Nazi Germany controls Casablanca indirectly through its control of Vichy France, and the Germans have put a price on Laszlo’s head.
During the futile negotiation with Rick, Laszlo hears the German officers in the Café singing Die Wacht am Rhein, a German patriotic song. Laszlo orders the band to play the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, bringing the hall to its feet not only in a battle of the bands but a battle between freedom and tyranny. The Germans lose this round; Laszlo regains his wife’s adoration; and Rick’s Café Américain is ordered shut down by the Germans through their French proxy, Captain Louis Renault.
“I am Shocked!” says Captain Renault (Claude Rains), “Shocked! to find that gambling is going on in here!”
The patriotic effect of this scene rivals the performance of Edelweiss by Captain von Trapp and his family in The Sound of Music. Same time, same evil empire, same spirit of freedom. Let it ring.
Happy Bastille Day from the USA.
[Technical problem: Hmmm… YouTube has disabled embedding on this film clip for some reason, so click on the following link and it should take you right there]: