Monday, May 04, 2015

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"

Did you ever have a person in your life who you believed was your enemy, but turns out in the end to have had your back all along? This is the subplot to the classic movie "Casablanca" - the relationship between the corrupt French Vichy police commander in Casablanca, "Louie" with the world weary character of the American "Rick" who has been defeated in war by the Axis powers in Africa, and in love by the desertion of his best girl "Ilsa" in Paris, the wife of the famous European freedom fighter "Victor" who has escaped from a Nazi concentration camp.
In due course the audience becomes aware that although officially both men are on opposite poles of the law, they have developed a smooth working relationship because Rick can only keep his casino open with a "wink and nod" from police chief Louie, who has let it be known around Casablanca that he will look the other way when illegal activities happen, such as gambling,  for the highest bribe.
There is neither time or space in this short article to go  into detail on the plot of this classic movie, but to make a long story short, the Nazi officer who has taken control of Casablanca, Major Strasser, is killed by Rick in order that Ilsa and Victor can escape by plane to Portugal and continue on to safety in the United States.
This comes after a dramatic speech in which Rick tells Ilsa that although he was madly in love with her, she was always in love with Victor, and anyway, there is a world war raging, so personal happiness must take second place to stopping the Evil Empire.
While this romantic drama is going on, Louie has been made prisoner by Rick, who says he will shoot him dead, just like he did Major Strasser if Victor and Ilsa are not allowed on the plane to safety, but will surrender to him if they are allowed to depart from Casablanca.
The Gentleman's Agreement is kept by Louie. The Portugal bound plane takes off and Rick prepares to surrender as a carload of Louie's Vichy French policemen pull up to the pair.

Then the unexpected plot twist - Louie doesn't turn Rick over to the policemen but tells them to arrest, "The usual suspects" for the murder of Major Strasser. The cops jump back into the car and rush into town to follow their orders.
The two former enemies are last seen walking into the night down the empty airstrip when Rick says, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
The same sort of event has recently happened to me - an enemy has become a friend.
We are allies in the great contemporary struggle between Light and Darkness.
Woe to the Evil Empire!

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