And what in heaven’s name brought you to Casablanca?
My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.
Waters? What waters? We’re in the desert.
I was misinformed.
William Goldman in “Which lie did I tell” quotes this Casablanca dialogue and then comments on its elegance, depth and style. Then he writes this amazing paragraph: (emphasis his)
“The character of Rick, of course, is very old - he is the Byronic hero, the tall dark handsome man with a past. Most movie stars - actors, not comedians - have essentially all played that same role. And they have to always face front, never turn sideways -
Because, you see, there’s nothing to them. Try to make them full, try and make them real, and guess what? They disappear.”
“Hollywood heroes must have mystery. (....) the more you expose that character to the sunlight, the more he starts to fade.”
Is Goldman right? I think so. Perhaps the greatest gift a movie hero offers us is validation of our suspicion that there is mystery to our lives which even the fullest biography or psychological analysis can’t reveal.
Indeed the allure of the “I was misinformed” is all around us - and not only on screen but also as the source of charisma of many earthlings we meet along the way.
An example of the “I was misinformed” turned into a two hour long film parable (one of my favorites) - “The man who fell to Earth” directed by Nicholas Roeg from the script by Paul Mayersberg (based on the novel by Walter Tevis)