I Don't Mind a Parasite: Casablanca's Establishing Character Moment

            It should be clear to anyone who’s looked at the title or logo of this blog that I think Casablanca is a pretty great movie, but for whatever reason I’ve never written about it before. There’s a lot to say, so instead of trying to look at it holistically, let’s get extremely specific, and look at Rick Blaine’s establishing character moment.

            Establishing character moments, for those unfamiliar with the term, are exactly what they sound like: they’re moments that establish a character. There are great ones (Paul Newman reusing a coffee filter in Harper), shitty ones (Superman whining about his media portrayal and tub-jumping Lois in Batman v Superman), and ones that are somewhere in between (most of them). They can come at any point in a story, though in general the sooner the better. Casablanca is such a densely written film that almost any scene in the first act could be taken in a vacuum as an establishing character moment, and every major character in the film gets a great one, but for now let’s just look at Rick’s first appearance and how much it tells us.

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