Saint Louis University Film Studies students settled into the red velvet seats at Powell Hall on Feb. 15 and Feb. 16 to watch a special screening of the 1942 classic film “Casablanca” with music performed live by the St. Louis Symphony. Not exactly a typical experience for college kids during a weekend, the unique collaboration provided an opportunity for students to truly appreciate the beauty of film and a world-class orchestra.
Often referred to as the ultimate love story, “Casablanca” stars Humphrey Bogart as the reluctant sentimentalist and nightclub owner Rick Blaine, who must come to grips with the return of his Parisian beau. Set during the onset of World War II, “Casablanca” tells the story of Europeans flocking to Morocco, which was the last hurdle before continuing on with their journey to America.
At his nightclub, Blaine comes face to face with his long-lost lover Ilsa Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, who is now a wife fleeing Paris with her French Resistance husband. Desperate to evade the Nazis, Lund knows Blaine has the right letters of passage for her and her husband to slip past undetected by the Nazi guards and into America. A true love story, the film culminates with a beautiful end for the couple.
Besides being the perfect flick for a Valentine’s Day date, “Casablanca” certainly holds its weight as a timeless classic in Film Studies. “Casablanca” won the 1942 Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay, though both Bogart and Bergman received the cold shoulder from the academy for best actor and actress.
For the growing Film Studies program at SLU, this event was not only an opportunity to showcase a historic film, but also to highlight the awesome opportunities available to the student body. Film Studies students in the three sections of Introduction to Film along with the Literature and Film of World War II class were required to attend the event at Powell Hall. Dr. Vincent Casaregola, director of Film Studies at SLU, believed his students would benefit greatly from the opportunity to experience “Casablanca” in such a unique setting.
The “Casablanca” screening also gave students a chance to explore the historical venues that surround SLU. Hardly a two-minute drive or 10-minute walk from campus, Powell Hall is a true gem for Midtown. Prices are no deterrent either, since students who order tickets ahead can typically get $10 rates, though sometimes higher prices are affixed to special events.
The next movie screening at Powell Hall will be “Bugs Bunny” on March 15 and 16. Enjoy classic music from The Looney Tunes as well as the concert premiere of three new 3-D animated shorts. Tickets are available online or at the box office.