Bogie tells Bergman,”We’ll always have Paris.” One of the great lines from the classic wartime romance CASABLANCA. But now 70 modern years later, cool contemporaries might ask: How could there be such great romance without great sex…?
Check it out for yourself. Their lyrical days in 1940 Paris just before the Nazi’s are all recalled in an 11 minute flashback. There was wine and roses, fast cars and slow nights; but never sex. Sex — today’s closeup sine-qua-non to Hollywood and television for any love story.
How then do we reconcile one of America’s great love stories side by side with nary a single great bedroom scene…? Here’s a thought. A thought that made more sense in 1940 than 2011, but still a thought. There will be those unannounced times when souls meet before bodies. When lives connect from the waist up. When it’s friends-first-lovers-later.
A moment now for the skeptical eyebrows to drop.
If it was true then, it’s still true today. Oh, not in the mainstream culture; but mainstream is not the only stream. And while this isn’t meant to be a commentary on morality, it is meant to pose a deliciously prickly question. Why does one of the 20th C’s emblematic love stories still get ranked among our top ten? still get on the nighttime cable channels? still get featured in college film festivals? still get written about like this?
One answer might be found in that final scene at the misty Casablanca airport. To this day directors still emulate it. Woody Allen put himself into it. Viewers like you respond to it. It’s love lifted higher than passion. Love raised as high as honor. Something sex partners don’t reach quite this nobly.
Nobility….! Yes, that’s the word. The word their kind of love became. And still can.
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