HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY: Now…Unshred My Heart!

 ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.’


Gosh, I dunno. I don’t know about that. I STILL struggle to reconcile that philosophy with my heart. Movies, you see, already have it alllll figured out. And since I willingly admit movies are smarter than me, the least I can do is pay attention and learn from them.

My good Capricorn friend asked me…



As a Capricorn, I can’t duck this, so here I am. I love happy endings and I believe ‘Love Conquers All’. At least I want to believe. But, heart breakingly, sometimes it does not. I guess these movies could only end one way, the way they do. I think for the generation before mine, their word was their bond. My generation ( may be moreso the one after mine ) is more adamant about one’s “Rights” – their individual rights, than doing “what’s right.” ( Feel free to disagree. ) With the “Great Generation” duty and responsibility trumps love. One played the hand that’s dealt them. Have these couples simply walked AWAY from  love?

Let me look at “Casablanca” “Brief Encounter” and “Roman Holiday.”


CASABLANCA” ( 1942 )

CASABLANCA ( Ilsa & Rick )

When his ex-lover walks into his gin joint, the world turns upside down, he falls to pieces, and a piano’s refrain haunts filmgoers for decades to come. Could it be the heart grows fonder when the break-up is bad… unexplained? A rain-soaked “Dear John” letter is Rick’s last memory of love and Ilsa’s got a lotta ‘splaining to do.

Casablanca   CASABLANCA ( XVI ) copy

Before they can get back together, recriminations must be thrown around. But here’s the thing, their love is rekindled. Actually it never left. Is it genuine? Is Ilsa just playing up to Rick for the papers? No. She might love her husband…feel a duty …an obligation to him ( he’s a Resistance, freedom fighting POW-escapee. ) We see she’s really in love with Rick, so he’s got to think for the both of them. In fact, he’s got to think beyond the both of them; the world’s at war for goodness sakes and everything, even love, is rationed.


But how can he compete opposite a husband who has given his life towards a Cause? Rick has his sense of duty awakened that’s been buried deep by a broken heart, the spin of a roulette wheel and some casual flings with French cutie pies. He’ll give Ilsa the papers, but  it’s best for  the world if she goes with Victor Laszlo. Rick can have the memory of Paris, and this one night in Casablanca. I’m not 100% sure Ilsa can make do with just this, but she gets on that plane.  The scene in the airport where they part is iconic…sad…bittersweet. Love…denied for the greater good.





14 thoughts on “HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY: Now…Unshred My Heart!

  1. I love BRIEF ENCOUNTER…There is also the theme of men returning from the war and wives not knowing how to relate to their husbands, now changed by the horrors they had witnessed. The ending is so sad and yet so right and true to the characters. If it was made today the husband would be a brute and she would end up with the Trevor Howard character, but then it wouldn’t have the same impact.


    • Hello there – I agree with you on all points. That restraint the film shows is just killer. Today they’d certainly make brutes and nags…just so we’ll know who to root for. Luckily for us classic film fans, we understood subtlety. We have to; the Hays Code didn’t let us see a thing. You know what film I just saw recently that had a scene of lovers saying goodbye but unable to speak it: “Fallen Idol.” Yes, mean ol’ Ralph ( “The Heiress” ) Richardson was so totally in love and because his young charge was with him, he couldn’t say a proper goodbye to the woman he loved. It’s a heart wrenching scene. “Brief Encounter” — a heartbreaker! Thanx.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Casablanca”. Its a decent movie. If not for Henreid, Bergman, Bogart, Raines, Lorre, Veidt, and Curtis and several superb character actors it would not amount to much, pretty dull actually. As for romance I’d give it a ‘7’, after all it has a pretty good beat and you can dance to it. If you’re under 40 you probably have no idea what I’m talking about! Okay, okay, just kidding. This movie remains one of the best ever! Great chemistry, acting, directing, its got it all! When it comes to intrigue and romance there is none better, individual tastes and preferences in consideration, and it remains one of the most popular movies in film history and rightly so, so there!


    • Hiya Kid. “Casablanca” – one of the great stories. Without the big stars, you say, the story might be pretty dull. I dunno. All movies need some good actors to put over a story. And this one has them in spades. But think about it, the story is pretty compelling. A man’s ex-lover comes to see him about papers that could set her husband free. Can she get ’em or not. Again, this might not be a classic without Bogart, Bergman, Henreid, Rains, Lorre and Veidt in charge some seventy-odd years later. But the story itsel, the plot machinations are pretty good.

      L0L! Your American Bandstand reference went straight to the heart of my memories. “Casablanca” has a pretty good beat and my heart dances to it. I’ll give it an “8”.


  3. Thanks Theresa and Happy Valentines Day.As usual your essays were informative and fun,and all three films deserve to be the classics that they did become.A little real life drama comes to mind where another actress wins Oscar,gives up Hollywood career,deserts country.and becomes a real life princess…and that of course would be (our) Philly’s own Grace Kelly.


    • Hi there Bob. Thanks for reading. Glad you’re enjoying my essays and picked up on my Princess Grace reference. Appreciate your comments. Thanxx! And a good Valentine’s Day to you as well.


  4. Just finished watching ‘Casablanca’ for the hundreth time. Well-written, T. Bogie unleashed his heart, and then had to unleash it again….


  5. I’ll never forget seeing the first act of La Boheme with two men, even older than I. Though it is not the sad part of the story, the three of us were in tears before the act ended.


  6. Oh, Roman Holiday…watching Peck swallow while he’s on that line, willing her the strength to carry on…he has the most expressive Adams apple in history of the movies.


    • Now THAT is the best commentary I’ve ever heard on this movie. L0L!! Peck is an actor down to his Adam’s Apple. ( I’m amazed that Wyler kept us on that line as she greeted the reporters. That would NEVER go in today’s movies. The suspense… )


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