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What do you think is the most overrated classic film?


NotableNostalgic2
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Disclaimer: I'm new here, so bear with me if this has already been answered.

 

I personally feel that Rebecca is the most overrated classic film that I've seen so far. It didn't seem suspenseful enough for people to consider it one of Hitchcock's best works. In fact, reflecting back on his work, Hitchcock thought it was quite flawed. There was just so much more that could have been done with Mrs. Danvers' character to make the film more suspenseful. I was expecting and wished that the spirit of Mrs. De Winter #1 had possessed Mrs. Danvers and it was really the deceased wife who would make De Winter #2's life a living hell. Mrs. Danvers was intimidating, but she wasn't terrifying or murderous like Hitchcock typically would have made a character like her out to be. I was waiting to be scared or on the edge of my seat, but it didn't happen. 

 

What do you guys think is the most overrated and why?

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Disclaimer: I'm new here, so bear with me if this has already been answered.

 

I personally feel that Rebecca is the most overrated classic film that I've seen so far. It didn't seem suspenseful enough for people to consider it one of Hitchcock's best works. In fact, reflecting back on his work, Hitchcock thought it was quite flawed. There was just so much more that could have been done with Mrs. Danvers' character to make the film more suspenseful. I was expecting and wished that the spirit of Mrs. De Winter #1 had possessed Mrs. Danvers and it was really the deceased wife who would make De Winter #2's life a living hell. Mrs. Danvers was intimidating, but she wasn't terrifying or murderous like Hitchcock typically would have made a character like her out to be. I was waiting to be scared or on the edge of my seat, but it didn't happen. 

 

What do you guys think is the most overrated and why?

 

First welcome to the forum.    As for Rebecca;  Well this was Hitchcock's first American film and yea, it isn't a Hitchcock type film compared to the American films he made after that (and even some of his British releases),  that anyone familiar with his work has seen,  multiple times.   Is it safe to assume you saw Rebecca after you had seen some of those other Hitchcock films?    That could explain your unmet expectations.  

 

Still,  I love Rebecca because to me it is just a very good movie, with fine acting (Sanders and Fontaine especially).    But yea,  it is more of a romantic movie since no one was murdered.   Note that in the book Max did kill Rebecca and is sentenced for his crimes.   So fault Hollywood for the romantic ending (just like Suspicion, another Hitchcock \ Fontaine film) for that.  

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I don't "get" 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

I saw it at the show when it first came out, accompanied by a friend who then ranked it as his new favourite film of all time. I didn't understand it then, nor do I now, having seen it once or twice since then.

 

I'm not a fan of Kubrick films, on the whole, mind you, with the exception of his earlier efforts. I've finally come around to appreciate Strangelove, certainly more than previously.

 

But, getting back to 2001, any film in which a computer is the principle character that you remember is a film that has got a problem, as far as I'm concerned. The coldness of the characters in many Kubrick films, perhaps none more so than 2001, in turn, leaves me cold. There's no warmth by which to make a human connection in this film.

 

I appreciate many of the visuals, of course, and the selections of classical music. I suppose this film resulted in a lot of extra record sales of Strauss and Wagner for a while. But the final half hour of the film is such a confusing structural mess for me that I remember my first comment when I left a theatre after seeing it in 1968, "They should have stuck to the monkeys."

 

Of course, it was a snide put down of a film that many sci fi fans today still hail as one of the classics. I can't say that my opinion of the film, though, has really altered all that much since then.

 

Kubrick films that I DO like: The Killing, Paths of Glory, Spartacus (which he disowned or, at least, couldn't stand because producer/star Kirk Douglas had so much say in it) Loilta, and, now, finally, I have come to appreciate the black humour and performances of Dr. Strangelove.

 

But 2001, sorry, still not "getting" it.

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I'm certain many will disagree with me, but for me, the most overrated film is Casablanca (1942), mainly because of the weak writing.

 

Don't get me wrong; I think the movie has its strong points, but for my tastes, the writers fail to provide the viewer with reasons to believe the motivations of some of the key characters in some of the key scenes of the movie.

 

For example, I don't buy Ilsa's supposed continued love for Rick (at least not at that level of intensity), or her "think for both of us" because I'm too in love with you -- now that you've treated me like cr@p and thrown a jealous temper tantrum -- to be rational, weakness.

 

Nor do i buy Rick's change of heart and all of his BS about "But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of." Even if the writers had given the viewer a strong enough reason to believe Rick's change of heart, his speech still comes off as insulting to Ilsa and to Laszlo.

 

Nor do I buy Renault's rekindled patriotism, with the cheesy device of him being thirsty at a time like that, and throwing away of the amazingly handy bottle of Vichy water to prove his change of heart.

 

All just one person's opinion, of course.

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I'm certain many will disagree with me, but for me, the most overrated film is Casablanca (1942), mainly because of the weak writing.

 

Don't get me wrong; I think the movie has its strong points, but for my tastes, the writers fail to provide the viewer with reasons to believe the motivations of some of the key characters in some of the key scenes of the movie.

 

For example, I don't buy Ilsa's supposed continued love for Rick (at least not at that level of intensity), or her "think for both of us" because I'm too in love with you -- now that you've treated me like cr@p and thrown a jealous temper tantrum -- to be rational, weakness.

 

Nor do i buy Rick's change of heart and all of his BS about "But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of." Even if the writers had given the viewer a strong enough reason to believe Rick's change of heart, his speech still comes off as insulting to Ilsa and to Laszlo.

 

Nor do I buy Renault's rekindled patriotism, with the cheesy device of him being thirsty at a time like that, and throwing away of the amazingly handy bottle of Vichy water to prove his change of heart.

 

All just one person's opinion, of course.

 

While Casablanca is one of my favorite movies, you make some solid points.   The movie has many camp moments the most famous one being Renault closing Rick's for gambling and than receiving his winnings.   Lines like 'is that cannon fire or my heart pounding' would get a laugh in most movies.     But the sum of the parts overcome the sub-par script.   Of course I'm just a silly romantic so what do I know!

 

As for Rick's speech at the end.  Well Renault tells Rick that he knows he was lying by playing noble.    Rick really sent Ilsa away because of his deep respect for Laszlo.   One could say Rick was more in love with Laszlo then he was with llsa!

 

I agree that Renault turning patriot is phony.   Renault was a very bad egg.  He had his men tortured and kill people,  took bribes and had sex with underage gals for exit visas.    So he wouldn't have given up that lifestyle to support the cause.   

 

But I still love the movie.    That says a lot about the actors and director.  They took sub-par material and turned it into what I feel is a masterpiece. 

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While Casablanca is one of my favorite movies, you make some solid points.   The movie has many camp moments the most famous one being Renault closing Rick's for gambling and than receiving his winnings.   Lines like 'is that cannon fire or my heart pounding' would get a laugh in most movies.     But the sum of the parts overcome the sub-par script.   Of course I'm just a silly romantic so what do I know!

 

As for Rick's speech at the end.  Well Renault tells Rick that he knows he was lying by playing noble.    Rick really sent Ilsa away because of his deep respect for Laszlo.   One could say Rick was more in love with Laszlo then he was with llsa!

 

I agree that Renault turning patriot is phony.   Renault was a very bad egg.  He had his men tortured and kill people,  took bribes and had sex with underage gals for exit visas.    So he wouldn't have given up that lifestyle to support the cause.   

 

But I still love the movie.    That says a lot about the actors and director.  They took sub-par material and turned it into what I feel is a masterpiece. 

 

I'm sorry; I was a unclear.

 

I wholly agree with you about Rick's respect for Laszlo, and that being a believable reason for Rick to break it off with Ilsa. I can certainly buy that. Respect is a powerful thing. On the other hand, it's Rick's implied decision to get into the fight (as it were), for whatever reason, that I don't buy.

 

If Rick was just making up a story to get Ilsa to go with Laszlo, and if he really had no intentions of getting into the fight, then I've been taking the scene far too literally. But, if he was sincere in getting into the fight (something we really don't know, but considering that he sold the bar, we can assume that he might mean it), it is at that point that I suggest the writers fail to provide a convincing reason. And without a convincing reason, his whole speech seems contrived.

 

I don't mean to imply that the movie isn't any good. Rick's character, as rendered, is a great character, and Bogart does a excellent job with it. And the acting, directing, cinematography, music, etc. are all spot-on. But toward the end of the movie, when, to me, the weak points of the writing become more noticeable, I'll usually get up and start doing something else -- big glass of vino, or maybe dish up some desert, or something -- while the movie finishes up.

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I'm sorry; I was a unclear.

 

I wholly agree with you about Rick's respect for Laszlo, and that being a believable reason for Rick to break it off with Ilsa. I can certainly buy that. Respect is a powerful thing. On the other hand, it's Rick's implied decision to get into the fight (as it were), for whatever reason, that I don't buy.

 

If Rick was just making up a story to get Ilsa to go with Laszlo, and if he really had no intentions of getting into the fight, then I've been taking the scene far too literally. But, if he was sincere in getting into the fight (something we really don't know, but considering that he sold the bar, we can assume that he might mean it), it is at that point that I suggest the writers fail to provide a convincing reason. And without a convincing reason, his whole speech seems contrived.

 

I don't mean to imply that the movie isn't any good. Rick's character, as rendered, is a great character, and Bogart does a excellent job with it. And the acting, directing, cinematography, music, etc. are all spot-on. But toward the end of the movie, when, to me, the weak points of the writing become more noticeable, I'll usually get up and start doing something else -- big glass of vino, or maybe dish up some desert, or something -- while the movie finishes up.

 

My take is that Rick decided to give up his bar and lifestyle to join the cause because of his respect for Laszlo.   Some combination of guilt (i.e. Laszlo is willing to give his all,  shouldn't I) and his sense of justice for helping those that need help (something that was buried by his bitterness). 

 

Rick knew he couldn't help Laszlo escape without having to run out of Casablanca (if he wasn't killed in the process),  so that was a motive as well to join.  

 

Does that all add up?   Well NO,  but we are talking about a movie hero. 

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My take is that Rick decided to give up his bar and lifestyle to join the cause because of his respect for Laszlo.   Some combination of guilt (i.e. Laszlo is willing to give his all,  shouldn't I) and his sense of justice for helping those that need help (something that was buried by his bitterness). 

 

Rick knew he couldn't help Laszlo escape without having to run out of Casablanca (if he wasn't killed in the process),  so that was a motive as well to join.  

 

Does that all add up?   Well NO,  but we are talking about a movie hero. 

 

Interesting observations. I hadn't thought of those before.

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Interesting observations. I hadn't thought of those before.

 

I should also have pointed out that the play was written with Rick representing America,  which at the time,  hadn't declare war (since the setting was prior to Dec 7th 1941).   So of course Rick had to join the cause since they were trying to make a political point. 

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I'm certain many will disagree with me, but for me, the most overrated film is Casablanca (1942), mainly because of the weak writing.

 

Don't get me wrong; I think the movie has its strong points, but for my tastes, the writers fail to provide the viewer with reasons to believe the motivations of some of the key characters in some of the key scenes of the movie.

 

For example, I don't buy Ilsa's supposed continued love for Rick (at least not at that level of intensity), or her "think for both of us" because I'm too in love with you -- now that you've treated me like cr@p and thrown a jealous temper tantrum -- to be rational, weakness.

 

Nor do i buy Rick's change of heart and all of his BS about "But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of." Even if the writers had given the viewer a strong enough reason to believe Rick's change of heart, his speech still comes off as insulting to Ilsa and to Laszlo.

 

Nor do I buy Renault's rekindled patriotism, with the cheesy device of him being thirsty at a time like that, and throwing away of the amazingly handy bottle of Vichy water to prove his change of heart.

 

All just one person's opinion, of course.

I am in your corner about Casablanca. I like the movie okay. I just can't rave about it and I always like Humphrey Bogart. I thought it must be me because everyone loves this movie so I watched it many times and my opinion is the same. I can't even explain why.

I'm trying to get over my aversion to musicals as well. I've seen A King and I, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. Any recommendations? I want to like all movies and actors/actresses so I keep trying. Guess we won't like everything all the time.

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I'm trying to get over my aversion to musicals as well. I've seen A King and I, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. Any recommendations? I want to like all movies and actors/actresses so I keep trying. Guess we won't like everything all the time.

I love Casablanca, so I won't even touch upon the discussion going on.

 

Regarding musicals, however...I love musicals.  I realize that they're not everyone's cup of tea, but I love them. I am partial to the musicals that are more dancing than singing.  If the film is light on the dancing, then it better have interesting lead actors and/or fun songs.  I love Gene Kelly, he's one of my favorites.  I also like Fred Astaire.  I found that I preferred Fred Astaire solo or with other partners other than his famed partnership with Ginger Rogers.  However, after having seen two Astaire/Rogers films, I think the duo is starting to grow on me.  I'll admit that I'm not a fan of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals.  I found South Pacific so incredibly boring that it became a chore to watch.  There are also musical stars like Esther Williams, Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel that I find incredibly annoying. 

 

These are my favorite musicals:

 

Singin' in the Rain, regarded as not only one of the best musicals ever made, but one of the best movies ever made, Gene Kelly, Donald O' Connor, and Debbie Reynolds

On the Town, Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Vera-Ellen and Ann Miller

An American in Paris, Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron

Easter Parade, Fred Astaire and Judy Garland

Meet Me in St. Louis, Judy Garland

You Were Never Lovelier, Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth

West Side Story, Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno

Gypsy, Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell

Little Shop of Horrors, Rick Moranis

A Star is Born, Judy Garland and James Mason

Summer Stock, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly

The Pirate, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly

Three Little Words, Fred Astaire and Vera-Ellen

White Christmas, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen

Holiday Inn, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire

Funny Face, Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn

Grease, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John

The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon

Bells Are Ringing, Dean Martin and Judy Holliday

 

 

There are probably more, but this is what I've come up with so far.  I love musicals, so I might be more forgiving of them. 

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I am in your corner about Casablanca. I like the movie okay. I just can't rave about it and I always like Humphrey Bogart. I thought it must be me because everyone loves this movie so I watched it many times and my opinion is the same. I can't even explain why.

I'm trying to get over my aversion to musicals as well. I've seen A King and I, My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. Any recommendations? I want to like all movies and actors/actresses so I keep trying. Guess we won't like everything all the time.

 

I have a hard time getting into musicals, too. I like opera though, mainly because of the music. The only musical I can say I truly like is Fiddler on the Roof, primarily because of the music, but also because there seems to be a bit more meat to the story. There are only a few other musicals I can sit through, but I wouldn't say that I like them. If you haven't seen it, you might give Fiddler on the Roof a try.

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I don't "get" 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

I saw it at the show when it first came out, accompanied by a friend who then ranked it as his new favourite film of all time. I didn't understand it then, nor do I now, having seen it once or twice since then.

 

I'm not a fan of Kubrick films, on the whole, mind you, with the exception of his earlier efforts. I've finally come around to appreciate Strangelove, certainly more than previously.

 

But, getting back to 2001, any film in which a computer is the principle character that you remember is a film that has got a problem, as far as I'm concerned. The coldness of the characters in many Kubrick films, perhaps none more so than 2001, in turn, leaves me cold. There's no warmth by which to make a human connection in this film.

 

I appreciate many of the visuals, of course, and the selections of classical music. I suppose this film resulted in a lot of extra record sales of Strauss and Wagner for a while. But the final half hour of the film is such a confusing structural mess for me that I remember my first comment when I left a theatre after seeing it in 1968, "They should have stuck to the monkeys."

 

Of course, it was a snide put down of a film that many sci fi fans today still hail as one of the classics. I can't say that my opinion of the film, though, has really altered all that much since then.

 

Kubrick films that I DO like: The Killing, Paths of Glory, Spartacus (which he disowned or, at least, couldn't stand because producer/star Kirk Douglas had so much say in it) Loilta, and, now, finally, I have come to appreciate the black humour and performances of Dr. Strangelove.

 

But 2001, sorry, still not "getting" it.

The book makes more sense. It actually explains what the monkey scene is about and so on.

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The book makes more sense. It actually explains what the monkey scene is about and so on.

I've heard others state that you have to read the Arthur C. Clarke book in order to understand some of the more obscure aspects of the Kubrick film. To me that reflects a failure on the part of the filmmaker. 

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I feel the same way about Antonioni's so-called "masterpiece" BLOW-UP as Tom feels about 2001. I find it a confusing mess with the principle roles that are hard to identify with. 

 

Funny, but the last time TCM presented this film, there was quite a discussion that went on on these boards, and someone found a website link which attempted to explain the reasons for this convoluted and overly cryptic(and I also find, boring) film's storyline. (once again, my opinion of it anyway)

 

It seems the producer of this film had become frustrated with Antonioni's penchant for wasting time and money while filming it, and so said producer ended up pulling the plug on it about 2/3's of the way through filming it. And so, Antonioni had to make due with what he had filmed at the point, and so what we see as the "finished product" is what was ultimately released.(or maybe "escaped") 

 

But as is often the case, when a film that IS released(or escaped) is one that leaves a lot of "loose ends" for the audience to attempt to decipher later on, many of the critics will automatically hail such a film as being so "avant garde" simply because most films DO tie up all the loose ends by their ending. Well, at least this is MY little "theory" about this, anyway!

 

(...and btw...and for those here who have previously stated that the "script of Casablanca is its downfall"...are you KIDDING?!!!...people, there are few other films in the history of cinema which contain as many memorable lines of witty dialogue as what's in THAT script!...heck, THAT'S one of the best things ABOUT it...well, that and as you guys said, all the superb acting in it)

 

(...oh, and one more thing here...welcome to the boards, NotableNostalgic2!!!...I'm just gonna call you "NN2" from now on if that's alright with ya, 'cause THAT'S one long handle to completely type out every time, ya know!) ;)

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I've heard others state that you have to read the Arthur C. Clarke book in order to understand some of the more obscure aspects of the Kubrick film. To me that reflects a failure on the part of the filmmaker. 

 

I can certainly see where you're coming from on that, but bear in mind that Clarke and Kubrick wrote the book together (although Clarke got full credit) at the same time the film was being made. Also, the book wasn't published until after the film came out. The impetus for the book and movie was some short stories Clarke had previously written. It's a possibility that things made it to film before certain logical problems were identified in the developing book.

 

If I recall a documentary I saw about this many years ago, Clarke stayed at the famous Chelsea Hotel while writing the book, and Kubrick would come over after shooting and they would work on it together.

 

One of the aspects I like about many of Kubrick's films is the aspect of an enigma. He makes you think about it and work for it, which is something I enjoy.

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Note that in the book Max did kill Rebecca and is sentenced for his crimes.   So fault Hollywood for the romantic ending (just like Suspicion, another Hitchcock \ Fontaine film) for that.

 

In the book, Max was not sentenced, it was discovered Rebecca had cancer and goaded him into murdering her but he shot her in cold blood and got away with it. Hence he and the second Mrs de Winter were punished by being 'exiled'.

 

However when it was made the censors would not let a film pass where the hero got away with murder so as they could not make someone else have killed Rebecca without destroying the story the whole death thing was weakened by making the killing an accident.

 

I think you probably need to contextualise some classic movies to understand  them, a little bit like the racism in Gone with the Wind, and attitudes to Indians in westerns because some of the most memorable movies are made in the context of their times. I mean these days  what parents would care about skin colour  if a girl turned up with a rich successful doctor who looked like Sidney Poitier. However at the time it was a shocker.

 

There is a tacit understanding of the times that gives  meaning to both Rebecca and Casablanca.  Rebecaa was not ever intended to be a thriller, it was about evil people destroying something beautiful . As has someone has pointed out, Casablanca was made at a time when America had still not come into the war.

 

The conversion of Renault to the cause of good repesents a feeling of the time, just how frightening the prospect of the Nazis were. He was only a poor corrupt official and he was only a moderate bad man and presented with evil.......

 

 

 

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In the book, Max was not sentenced, it was discovered Rebecca had cancer and goaded him into murdering her but he shot her in cold blood and got away with it. Hence he and the second Mrs de Winter were punished by being 'exiled'.

 

However when it was made the censors would not let a film pass where the hero got away with murder so as they could not make someone else have killed Rebecca without destroying the story the whole death thing was weakened by making the killing an accident.

 

I think you probably need to contextualise some classic movies to understand  them, a little bit like the racism in Gone with the Wind, and attitudes to Indians in westerns because some of the most memorable movies are made in the context of their times. I mean these days  what parents would care about skin colour  if a girl turned up with a rich successful doctor who looked like Sidney Poitier. However at the time it was a shocker.

 

There is a tacit understanding of the times that gives  meaning to both Rebecca and Casablanca.  Rebecaa was not ever intended to be a thriller, it was about evil people destroying something beautiful . As has someone has pointed out, Casablanca was made at a time when America had still not come into the war.

 

The conversion of Renault to the cause of good repesents a feeling of the time, just how frightening the prospect of the Nazis were. He was only a poor corrupt official and he was only a moderate bad man and presented with evil.......

 

Rebecca was about evil people destroying something beautiful?   What,  the house?   Which evil people?    I view Rebecca as a movie about a man haunted by his past who finds a simple women (meant as a complement) that will love him regardless of his past.     Of course if the 'something beautiful' is the love between Max and his new wife, and the evil people are Mrs. Danvers and the Sanders character,  then I agree.

 

As for Renault:  I still say he was a very bad man,  not just a misguided one.   His attitude towards the torturer and killing of the Peter Lorre character makes that clear to me.    While I understand his conversion I still say "only in Hollywood".   

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Of course if the 'something beautiful' is the love between Max and his new wife, and the evil people are Mrs. Danvers and the Sanders character,  then I agree.

 

I did mean that. But I also meant it was not a film whose spookiness depended on the supernatural but on the 'evil men can do" or in the case of Mrs Danvers 'The evil that women can do'

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As for Renault:  I still say he was a very bad man,  not just a misguided one.   His attitude towards the torturer and killing of the Peter Lorre character makes that clear to me.    While I understand his conversion I still say "only in Hollywood".   

I've never seen Louis Renault as a "very bad man." The fact that he is a rogue and morally dubious is without a doubt true (though no more so than any other womanizer who exploits the fair sex for his own selfish purposes; even Rick doesn't seem to hold that against him, a love 'em and leave em type himself). Louis is a pragmatist who blows with the political wind. If you find his conversion to being a French patriot at the film's end rather Hollywood convenient, I fully understand. Lorre's demise was really dictated by the Germans, with Rains, a political survivor, going along with it. You won't respect him for taking that attitude but, at least, you can understand - he's out for himself rather than being wholly evil.

 

But he is played with such suave charm by Claude Rains that it is impossible for me to dislike him. I suppose that is the gift of a highly talented actor/personality, when he can win you over even if you find the actions of his character to be, at times, morally dismaying. It's Rains' likeability in the part that makes the viewer a little more willing to accept his conversion at the end. Never did corruption in the movies look quite so attractive.

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I've heard others state that you have to read the Arthur C. Clarke book in order to understand some of the more obscure aspects of the Kubrick film. To me that reflects a failure on the part of the filmmaker. 

 

I agree.

 

I went to see the film at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, and I wanted to see a space travel sci-fi film, with a lot of new ideas and special effects in it. I did not go to be confused about the meaning of the big black "thing". I still don't know what the big black "thing" is or was or does or did.

 

After a second viewing I finally realized that the odd bedroom scene at the end was supposed to take place in the distant future, maybe 100 years after the main events of the earlier part of the film. But I don't know why that big black "thing" was in the bedroom.

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After a second viewing I finally realized that the odd bedroom scene at the end was supposed to take place in the distant future, maybe 100 years after the main events of the earlier part of the film. But I don't know why that big black "thing" was in the bedroom.

You're ahead of me, Fred, in figuring out that bedroom scene. That big black "thing," the same one the monkeys were seeing at the film's beginning, also threw me, of course. And I wonder how many people who can properly explain what the big black thing or the bedroom scene were really all about can honestly say that they can do so without having received some kind of assistance from others.

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I've never seen Louis Renault as a "very bad man." The fact that he is a rogue and morally dubious is without a doubt true (though no more so than any other womanizer who exploits the fair sex for his own selfish purposes; even Rick doesn't seem to hold that against him, a love 'em and leave em type himself). Louis is a pragmatist who blows with the political wind. If you find his conversion to being a French patriot at the film's end rather Hollywood convenient, I fully understand. Lorre's demise was really dictated by the Germans, with Rains, a political survivor, going along with it. You won't respect him for taking that attitude but, at least, you can understand - he's out for himself rather than being wholly evil.

 

But he is played with such suave charm by Claude Rains that it is impossible for me to dislike him. I suppose that is the gift of a highly talented actor/personality, when he can win you over even if you find the actions of his character to be, at times, morally dismaying. It's Rains' likeability in the part that makes the viewer a little more willing to accept his conversion at the end. Never did corruption in the movies look quite so attractive.

 

As I stated in my OP about Renault,  the charm of Rains does make him impossible to dislike.   So I don't dislike the character but it does appear I feel he is a worst egg than others here (but I didn't go as far as saying he was wholly evil).    I don't view his trading of sex for exit visas as just simple womanizing, especially when he does this to very young,  just married women.     I believe this does bug Rick since he allows the women's husband to win.   The couple was going to get an exit visa one way or the other,  so Rick did this just to avoid that women from having to pimp herself for an exit visa.

 

As for just being a stooge for the Nazis;  Ok, I can understand that, but to me he appeared to get a kick out of it.   He makes a joke about it instead of showing any disgust for what he was forced to do to appease the Nazis. 

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As for just being a stooge for the Nazis;  Ok, I can understand that, but to me he appeared to get a kick out of it.   He makes a joke about it instead of showing any disgust for what he was forced to do to appease the Nazis. 

But making light of everything is just Louis' way. It's a part of his charm. Some people do that because it helps them cope better with uglinesses in life. Frankly, though, I'm not trying to make any kind of case that Renault is a man of hidden depth because I don't see much indication that he is. Perhaps his sudden French patriotism at the film's end indicates that there is something more there.

 

He's a man who benefits from the advantages of being intelligent, debonair, physically attractive and a personable conversationalist while also willing to do whatever it takes to survive. There are far worse than him in many large corporations today.

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