2) How are representatives of each nationalities' governments (or militaries) represented? What are the characterizations of the French (Vichy and Free), German, and Italian officials and officers? How are relations among these groups depicted in the film?
3) What is the significance of Rick's Cafe? Who gathers there, and why? How does it--as a space--compare with Ferrare's Blue Parrot?
4) What is the audience/public meant to understand about Rick when it learns of his past? What does it mean that Rick ran guns to Ethiopia in 1935 and in 1936 fought on the Loyalist side in Spain?
5) What does Ilsa Lund represent? What does she mean to Rick, beyond his love for her?
6) What does Major Strasser say about Americans? Why does he dismiss Rick as "bumbling"?
7) What do you think was meant by the following statements in the following contexts:
8) At what point does Rick turn from neutrality to non-belligerency? At what moment does he go from non-belligerency to involvement? What events cause the turn in his stance toward involvement in Victor Laslo's struggle against Nazism?
9) There are several emotional scenes which might represent the turning point for Rick's character. These include his intervention on behalf of the Bulgarian couple at his roulette wheel; the arrival of Victor Laslo (and Ilsa Lund); Laslo's singing of La Marseilles; Rick's discussion with Laslo after Laslo has been injured; his confrontation with Ilsa when she asks him to do the thinking for the both of them. Which do you think was the most significant, and why? What would be the analogues to these scenes in the historical events of 1939 to 1942?
10) What sort of public feeling would viewing this film have caused? What kind of popular feeling would it have reflected?
Prepared by Professor Catherine Lavender for History 339 (Themes in U.S. History, 1914-1945), The Department of History, The College of Staten Island of The City University of New York. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fall Semester 1997. Last modified: Thursday 15 June 2000.