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Casablanca: Freedom through Song, Part I

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

After entry of the US into WWII, Warner Brothers released the classic Casablanca (1942) starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. One scene in Casablanca offers a magnificent juxtaposition with the Bavarian pub scene from The Mortal Storm (1940) discussed in the last post. The place is similar: another restaurant– Rick’s Cafe Americain. Also similar is a cast of Nazi officers, stirring up song (this one “Die Wacht am Rhein.”) But the similarities end there, when one man, Victor Laszlo, tells the orchestra to play the “La Marseillaise.” A thrilled and grateful clientele all rise spontaneously and triumphantly, drowning out the Nazis’ song.

Watch here:

If Laszlo hadn’t done what he did, what then? Chances are everyone would just sit around sulking. Until the Nazis could stir up enough folks to sing along with them to the point that theirs seemed the majority view. Morale would continue to plummet.

It’s the little acts of resistance that add up to make the biggest difference. These acts plant seeds in others, creating a cascade effect. Sad to say, it’s the power mongers of the world who seem to know this better than the rest of us do. That’s why they insist on our silence as a way station on their road to total control. So let’s not hide our light.

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