Monday, February 13, 2017

"You Must Remember This"


Three weeks ago America celebrated the 75th Anniversary of one of my favorite films, "Casa Blanca".  And since Valentine's Day is right around the corner, I thought I'd write a little about it, and tell you what the film means to me.

"Casa Blanca" was released on January 23rd, 1942, a Friday.  It was just seven weeks after the Japanese dragged America into the war with the attack on Pearl Harbor.   Those who were not already off to war, might have been tired on that Friday night.  They might have volunteered for a paper drive, or a rubber drive, or perhaps Mom had walked down to the local butcher shop with an old Crisco can of used bacon grease.  That too was sought after....the government's collection being used to extract glycerin to make explosives.

So, on that Friday night, weary folks dropped into the plush velvet seats of the Rialto, or The Crest, or a Warners Theater, and sat quietly, waiting to be told a story.

And that story was that the world was at war, had been at war for five long years, and that the struggle was between freedom loving people, against those who wished to subjugate the whole human race.  

But "Casa Blanca" was about much more than war.  It was about "sacrifice", and how good people make decisions to do noble things...even when those noble things were not in your best interests....when they would hurt more than anything has ever hurt.

And, amidst the fog of war, love still fact "only love" matters...romantic love as well as the love that one human has for every other human being.

And since I cannot say what "Casa Blanca" means to you, I can only say what it means, and has meant, to me.

When I watch "Casa Blanca" I think about every time I prepared to step on an airplane, and say goodbye to my love and my lovelies for a year, possibly forever.  And as I hugged and kissed them goodbye I felt the tactile realization of what they meant to me, and how my heart ached when I said goodbye.

And when I see the fog roll in, in that final scene, I see that foggy morning on a flightline in Vietnam, after a steamy monsoon rain, the props whirling on a C-130, lumbering down the runway like a gooney bird, ferrying men and their fighting gear to some godforsaken place in the jungles of the Central Highlands.

And, in that film, I see the "Art Deco Frenchness"....of the front facade of Ric's Cafe, and I remember the old French Fort on the air base, and in Saigon the bright red pepper trees on the Rue Catinat, that lovely old boulevard that wound it's way past France inspired villas, with "mademoiselles" waving colorful kerchiefs while standing on the balconies as folks drove by.

But "Casa Blanca" is so much more than "geography" exemplifies the wonder of a love so powerful that the lover is willing to endure great pain if it means a better life for the one he loves.  And I believe every man alive hungers for the look in Ingrid Bergman's eyes as she walks away to get on that plane.

You must remember this
A kiss is still a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by
And when two lovers woo
They still say, I love you
On that you can rely
No matter what the future brings
As time goes by
Moonlight and love songs never out of date
Hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate
Woman needs man and man must have his mate
That no one can deny
It's still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by

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