Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Drunkard

 

“Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.” – Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), in Casablanca, to Nazi Major Strasser who had taunted him with the idea of Hitler invading New York.

Hitler thought that Americans were stupid, lazy mongrels who would never withstand a German military machine powered by Aryan purity. When Casablanca hit the screens in November of 1942, events seemed to be conspiring to prove Hitler right.

1942 was a bad year for the United States, though there were some victories just before the release of Casablanca. For most of the year, the Nazis seemed unbeatable and were riding high. Rommel was winning most of his battles in North Africa. Japan was running roughshod over us in the South Pacific. 1942 was the year of the Bataan Death March. The battle of Midway was an important exception, but for most of 1942 we were losing.

I doubt 1942 Americans felt like losers, but the events of that time must have been made them nervous. They couldn’t know then how the war would turn out.

Casablanca, a cinematic middle-finger directed at the Nazis, must have been a tonic for our fellow citizens in 1942. I’ll bet audiences cheered (and laughed) when Bogart said the above line.

Then there’s the scene where Victor Lazlo led the crowd in singing “La Marseillaise” in defiance of the Nazis. Imagine seeing it in 1942, not knowing whether we were winning or losing.

So give yourself a treat. Find that Casablanca DVD in your cabinet and … uh … play it again!

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There are 39 comments.

  1. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My favorite quote from the movie. I think it should be used for some modern day issues (guns, etc.). I’m looking at you Virginia. “There are some sections of Virginia that I wouldn’t advise you to invade.”

    • #1
    • January 27, 2020, at 6:23 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  2. Hartmann von Aue Member

    “Are my eyes really brown?”

    Terrific line in a terrific film. And yes, 42 was a terrible year for the Allies and for any nation in the Pacific that got in the way of Imperial Japan. 43 was not much of an improvement. I remember reading some years ago that the original lyrics of “Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas” included a line about “it may be your last. This time next year, we all may be living in the past”. Judy Garland refused to sing it because she thought it would depress the morale of our fighting men so the line was changed to the more optimistic line that we all know about “Let your heart be light. Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.” And people say it’s only a movie…only a song… these media do affect people’s hearts and minds. 

    • #2
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:12 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  3. Right Wing Teamster Lawyer Thatcher

    How about the Doolittle Raid April 1942? Success or failure? If not military success a successful psychological victory demonstrating that miles of oceans will not protect Japan? A splendid film and a good line overshadowed by a movie full of great lines.

    • #3
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:35 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  4. Vectorman Thatcher

    Join other Ricochet members by submitting a Quote of the Day post, the easiest way to start a fun conversation. There are many days available on the February Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #4
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:36 AM PST
    • Like
  5. Vectorman Thatcher

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    Terrific line in a terrific film. And yes, 42 was a terrible year for the Allies and for any nation in the Pacific that got in the way of Imperial Japan. 43 was not much of an improvement.

    Right Wing Teamster Lawyer (View Comment):
    How about the Doolittle Raid April 1942? Success or failure? If not military success a successful psychological victory demonstrating that miles of oceans will not protect Japan? A splendid film and a good line overshadowed by a movie full of great lines.

    You could add Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal Campaign to your list in 1942. However these success and those in 1943 were holding the line before 1944 as this Wiki article shows.

    • #5
    • January 27, 2020, at 7:46 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  6. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    Terrific line in a terrific film. And yes, 42 was a terrible year for the Allies and for any nation in the Pacific that got in the way of Imperial Japan. 43 was not much of an improvement.

    Right Wing Teamster Lawyer (View Comment):
    How about the Doolittle Raid April 1942? Success or failure? If not military success a successful psychological victory demonstrating that miles of oceans will not protect Japan? A splendid film and a good line overshadowed by a movie full of great lines.

    You could add Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal Campaign to your list in 1942. However these success and those in 1943 were holding the line before 1944 as this Wiki article shows.

    Midway was probably the most significant of these as I noted in the post. While it is true that seeds were being planted for future victories, it would be hard to say that things were going great at that time.

    And the first part of 1943 was really bad for our troops in North Africa.

    • #6
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:03 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  7. Arahant Member

    BastiatJunior: “Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

    Still true today. And Chicago. And Detroit. And…well, you get the picture.

    • #7
    • January 27, 2020, at 8:59 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Eustace C. Scrubb Member

    A woman who writes about screenwriting says modern audiences would appreciate Rick more if he shared his feelings more. This helps explain why so many modern screenplays are awful.

    • #8
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:02 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  9. Arahant Member

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    A woman who writes about screenwriting says modern audiences would appreciate Rick more if he shared his feelings more. This helps explain why so many modern screenplays are awful.

    Amen!

    • #9
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:15 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. Tex929rr Coolidge

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    A woman who writes about screenwriting says modern audiences would appreciate Rick more if he shared his feelings more. This helps explain why so many modern screenplays are awful.

    Wow. Talk about missing the point.

    • #10
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:16 AM PST
    • 7 likes
  11. Tex929rr Coolidge

    The IMDb Casablanca entry is full of great trivia about the movie.

    • #11
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:17 AM PST
    • 1 like
  12. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Arahant (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior: “Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

    Still true today. And Chicago. And Detroit. And…well, you get the picture.

    I wonder how our present enemies, the Jihadis, would do against the gangs in those cities?

    • #12
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:19 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Arahant Member

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):
    I wonder how our present enemies, the Jihadis, would do against the gangs in those cities?

    In some cases, they’d make common cause.

    • #13
    • January 27, 2020, at 9:22 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Full Size Tabby Member

    BastiatJunior:

    Then there’s the scene where Victor Lazlo led the crowd in singing “La Marseillaise” in defiance of the Nazis. Imagine seeing it in 1942, not knowing whether we were winning or losing.

     

    I love that scene.

    Since I know the outcome of the war, I find it nearly impossible to imagine what the original audience would have thought. It is an interesting thought experiment that I had not previously considered. I am so used to thinking, “Of course the US wins.” 

    • #14
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:07 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. Full Size Tabby Member

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior: “Well, there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade.”

    Still true today. And Chicago. And Detroit. And…well, you get the picture.

    I wonder how our present enemies, the Jihadis, would do against the gangs in those cities?

    I’ve always liked the possibly apocryphal story of the Japanese general who supposedly argued against trying to invade the United States mainland because such a large percentage of the US population had arms and knew how to use them. He would have been referring primarily to hunters in the western part of the country. 

    • #15
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:13 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  16. Full Size Tabby Member

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    A woman who writes about screenwriting says modern audiences would appreciate Rick more if he shared his feelings more. This helps explain why so many modern screenplays are awful.

    Wow. Talk about missing the point.

    Really!

    The linked critique draws a contrast with the Jimmy Stewart character in It’s a Wonderful Life. Some stories call for a hard emotionless character, and others call for a demonstrably emotional character. And before writing a screenplay you had better know which type you want. The whole Casablanca story would fall apart if Rick were a demonstrably emotional character. It’s a Wonderful Life would make no sense if the savings and loan were run by a hard-shelled character like Rick. 

    • #16
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:20 AM PST
    • 8 likes
  17. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior:

    Then there’s the scene where Victor Lazlo led the crowd in singing “La Marseillaise” in defiance of the Nazis. Imagine seeing it in 1942, not knowing whether we were winning or losing.

     

    I love that scene.

    Since I know the outcome of the war, I find it nearly impossible to imagine what the original audience would have thought. It is an interesting thought experiment that I had not previously considered. I am so used to thinking, “Of course the US wins.”

    Same here. Unfortunately, all of the people I knew that were adults at that time are gone now. I don’t have anyone to ask.

    • #17
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:22 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  18. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I’ve always liked the possibly apocryphal story of the Japanese general who supposedly argued against trying to invade the United States mainland because such a large percentage of the US population had arms and knew how to use them. He would have been referring primarily to hunters in the western part of the country.

    Admiral Yamamoto didn’t want to attack the United States, mainly because of it’s huge industrial capacity. Since he was ordered to do it anyway, he figured the best thing to do would to deliver a fatal blow at the outset. He almost did.

    • #18
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:27 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  19. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    A woman who writes about screenwriting says modern audiences would appreciate Rick more if he shared his feelings more. This helps explain why so many modern screenplays are awful.

    Makes me want to cry.

    • #19
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:30 AM PST
    • 1 like
  20. Full Size Tabby Member

    Right Wing Teamster Lawyer (View Comment):

    How about the Doolittle Raid April 1942? Success or failure? If not military success a successful psychological victory demonstrating that miles of oceans will not protect Japan? A splendid film and a good line overshadowed by a movie full of great lines.

    I finally got a glimpse of the value of “psychological victories” in war when my son had me watch a movie made in the 1950s about American prisoners of war at a Japanese camp somewhere in the western Pacific. Much of the movie presented the privations of the American soldier prisoners and the arrogance of the Japanese captors. But then both the Americans and the Japanese start hearing rumors that an American force is coming to liberate the camp. Then when the movie shows a single U.S. bomber aircraft making a deliberately low and slow pass over the camp, everybody (the American prisoners, the Japanese captors, and the movie audience) immediately knows the American forces are on their way.

    My son had me watch that movie as he was joining the Air Force (via ROTC at college) to illustrate that part of the role of the Air Force is to demonstrate on occasion that no matter who you are and where you are, the United States can reach out and “touch” you.

    • #20
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:37 AM PST
    • 9 likes
  21. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Accidental double post.

    • #21
    • January 27, 2020, at 11:38 AM PST
    • Like
  22. Tex929rr Coolidge

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Admiral Yamamoto didn’t want to attack the United States, mainly because of it’s huge industrial capacity. Since he was ordered to do it anyway, he figured the best thing to do would to deliver a fatal blow at the outset. He almost did.

    I believe that the “rifle behind every blade of grass” and “awaken a sleeping giant” are both incorrectly attributed to Admiral Yamamoto. I believe that there is a real quote to the effect that he could raise hell for a year and a half and that would be all.

     

    • #22
    • January 27, 2020, at 12:19 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  23. Hartmann von Aue Member

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    A woman who writes about screenwriting says modern audiences would appreciate Rick more if he shared his feelings more. This helps explain why so many modern screenplays are awful.

    Oh, we get as much as we need of his feelings in the conversation with Elsa and the flashback to Paris. As you say, this explains why so many modern screenplays are awful. 

    • #23
    • January 27, 2020, at 12:23 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  24. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Admiral Yamamoto didn’t want to attack the United States, mainly because of it’s huge industrial capacity. Since he was ordered to do it anyway, he figured the best thing to do would to deliver a fatal blow at the outset. He almost did.

    I believe that the “rifle behind every blade of grass” and “awaken a sleeping giant” are both incorrectly attributed to Admiral Yamamoto. I believe that there is a real quote to the effect that he could raise hell for a year and a half and that would be all.

     

    “awaken a sleeping giant” probably came from “Tora! Tora! Tora!”

    However it is true that Admiral Yamamoto recommended against attacking the United States.

    • #24
    • January 27, 2020, at 1:03 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Steve C. Member

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Vectorman (View Comment):

    Hartmann von Aue (View Comment):
    Terrific line in a terrific film. And yes, 42 was a terrible year for the Allies and for any nation in the Pacific that got in the way of Imperial Japan. 43 was not much of an improvement.

    Right Wing Teamster Lawyer (View Comment):
    How about the Doolittle Raid April 1942? Success or failure? If not military success a successful psychological victory demonstrating that miles of oceans will not protect Japan? A splendid film and a good line overshadowed by a movie full of great lines.

    You could add Coral Sea, Midway, and Guadalcanal Campaign to your list in 1942. However these success and those in 1943 were holding the line before 1944 as this Wiki article shows.

    Midway was probably the most significant of these as I noted in the post. While it is true that seeds were being planted for future victories, it would be hard to say that things were going great at that time.

    And the first part of 1943 was really bad for our troops in North Africa.

    Rommel driven out of Egypt and Libya.

    The German 6th Army surrounded at Stalingrad.

    A successful Anglo-American invasion of North Africa.

    They didn’t know it then, the peak of Axis advance was the summer of 1942.

    • #25
    • January 27, 2020, at 1:11 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  26. Full Size Tabby Member

    BastiatJunior: Hitler thought that Americans were stupid, lazy mongrels who would never withstand a German military machine powered by Aryan purity.

    I realize there’s about 175 years between them, but didn’t the British and their very organized globally effective military make a similar [ultimately incorrect] assumption about rag-tag American colonists?

    • #26
    • January 27, 2020, at 1:39 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  27. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Rommel driven out of Egypt and Libya.

    The German 6th Army surrounded at Stalingrad.

    Both of these happened practically minutes before Casablanca hit the theaters in November.

    The Americans in North Africa had a very bad time of it into 1943, until Eisenhower put General Patton in command. Then things started to turn around.

    • #27
    • January 27, 2020, at 1:48 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  28. BastiatJunior Member
    BastiatJunior

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    BastiatJunior: Hitler thought that Americans were stupid, lazy mongrels who would never withstand a German military machine powered by Aryan purity.

    I realize there’s about 175 years between them, but didn’t the British and their very organized globally effective military make a similar [ultimately incorrect] assumption about rag-tag American colonists?

    That sounds about right.

    • #28
    • January 27, 2020, at 1:59 PM PST
    • Like
  29. Steve C. Member

    BastiatJunior (View Comment):

    Steve C. (View Comment):

    Rommel driven out of Egypt and Libya.

    The German 6th Army surrounded at Stalingrad.

    Both of these happened practically minutes before Casablanca hit the theaters in November.

    The Americans in North Africa had a very bad time of it into 1943, until Eisenhower put General Patton in command. Then things started to turn around.

    Kasserine Pass was a bloody nose. But not a decisive battle. It did reveal flaws in American tactics and commanders. It was certainly an opportunity for Patton. Fredendall was relieved and sent home but most of the other senior officers who were relieved went on to later success.

    • #29
    • January 27, 2020, at 2:48 PM PST
    • Like
  30. TallCon Coolidge

    Trying to chose the best quote from Casablanca is like… Well, it’s like trying to chose the best quote from Casablanca! But if I had to chose:

    “What in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?”

    “My health, I came to Casablanca for the waters.”

    “The waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.”

    “I was misinformed.”

    Also, I use the phrase “wow finish” rather a lot.

    • #30
    • January 27, 2020, at 2:57 PM PST
    • 6 likes