Cinephiles who missed last week’s limited re-release of “Casablanca” in movie theaters will have another chance to catch the classic 1942 film on the big screen at Grove City College.
The screening at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 18 in Sticht Lecture Hall in the Staley Hall of Arts and Letters is free and open to the public. It is part of the “France in the Second World War” film series and hosted by students in an advanced French class.
“Casablanca” is ranked third on the American Film Institute’s The 100 Greatest American Films of All Time list. Directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, the romantic drama won Best Picture and Best Director Academy Awards in 1942. Eighty years after its release, “Casablanca” remains a part of the culture for its compelling story and classic lines like “We'll always have Paris,” “Here's looking at you, kid,” and “Round up the usual suspects.”
The film series is part of a public outreach assignment for students in French Professor Dr. Kelsey Madsen’s “History and Memory of World War II in France” class. The selections cover various aspects of the era, including resistance, collaboration, and occupation.
“We spent the first month of class looking at the history of the war itself, and the rest of the semester examines public memory and representations of the war though studying memorials, film, literature, and political discourse from the 1950s to the present,” said Madsen, who chairs the Department of Modern Languages.
Students will share what they’ve learned about the era and its representation in film during an introduction to the screening and in a Q and A session afterward.
“While Casablanca is an American classic, it fits into the series since it is set in French-controlled Morocco. My students will be able to help the audience better understand the film's locale and politics,” she said.
The “France and the Second World War” series kicked off last month with “Lucie Aubrac,” based on a true story of the resistance, and concludes on April 28 with a 7 p.m. screening of “Days of Glory (Indigènes)” in Sticht, which depicts the experiences of Algerian soldiers who fought for the Free French Forces in Italy and France. It is rated R for violence and presented in French and Arabic with English subtitles.
“'Days of Glory (Indigènes)' is a great example of how a film can influence public perception of historical events,” Madsen said. “When it came out in 2006, the film highlighted how the French government had frozen pensions for colonial soldiers who fought in World War II, despite their sacrifices. The French president at the time, Jacques Chirac, adjusted the pensions in response to the film.”
For more about the Department of Modern Languages at Grove City College, visit gcc.edu/modl.