One of my favorite aspects of the classic movie Casablanca is the relationship between Rick Blaine and Sam. Obviously the movie is of its time. When Ilsa Lund arrives at Rick’s Cafe Americain she inquires about Sam asking about “The boy who’s playing the piano.” It was not said in a condescending or malicious way, it was just how things were at that time.
With that being said Rick and Sam are obviously much more than employer and employee. It is quite apparent that there is history, trust and deep friendship between these two men. Their interaction with one another is that of mutual respect. Both look out for one another throughout the movie. Between Paris and Casablanca I am sure that they went through a great deal together.
Casablanca is first and foremost a war time drama with a romantic subplot. These two themes intertwine to give the movie its main storyline. But the bond of friendship between Rick and Sam is definitely one of the movie’s most interesting and least mentioned subplots.
Last year Turner Classic Movies had a special theatrical showing to commemorate the 75th anniversary of The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart. I jumped at the opportunity to see a Bogart movie on the big screen. The Maltese Falcon is hands down one of Bogart’s best movies. It is well made, with a great cast and a star turning performance by Bogart. Watching The Maltese Falcon had me thinking about other great Bogart movies.
Humphrey Bogart made many movies throughout his career from 1928 to 1956. Some of the movies are all time classics and a few are duds. But the period from 1941 to 1950 produced some absolute gems: The Maltese Falcon, Casablanca, The Big Sleep, The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre, Key Largo and In A Lonely Place. Among the nearly 30 movies that he appeared in during this period there is one that is criminally overlooked. That movie would be the World War Two drama, Sahara.
In Sahara Bogart leads an eclectic ensemble cast of mostly lesser known actors. The supporting cast of characters are phenomenal. Even with the size of the cast Bogart is clearly the star. This is a well paced war movie, filled with action, tension and drama. Released in 1943, this is Bogart at the top of his game.
I consider Sahara to be one of Bogart’s best movies. The storyline and the acting are top notch. I would place this compelling film among my top ten favorite Bogart movies. If you have not seen Sahara, I highly recommend it.