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Monday, February 26, 2024

What did RAW think of 'Casablanca'?

Theatrical release poster for Casablance, believed to be public domain, via Wikipedia.

When I look at the list of Robert Anton Wilson's 100 favorite movies, supplied to me in 2014 by Jesse Walker, one thing jumps out at me: My favorite movie is missing. My personal favorite is Casablanca, which of course is a favorite for many other people, too.

The list is described as RAW's "personal and eccentric list," so maybe he was just trying to avoid cliche selections, but I'm still curious what he thought of the movie. I thought perhaps Scott Apel might know; Scott has written books about movies and would watch films with RAW. But Scott says, "As for Casablanca, I can't recall ever discussing it with RAW. I love it, but I have no idea how he felt about it (as opposed to the movies we did discuss regularly, like Silence of the Lambs, and -- of course -- Citizen Kane). Sorry I can't help you out there."

It seems odd if RAW never held forth on a classic famous movie (see the recent discussion at Marginal Revolution). Can anyone weigh in? Then again, I've always been surprised there is no evidence RAW was  interested in Twin Peaks


Spookah said...

Casablanca made it into the list I keep of films mentioned by RAW, so I knew it could be found somewhere. Since I do not source my findings, it took a bit of searching, but I found it.
A reference to this film can be found in Cosmic Trigger II, in the chapter 'Get Out Your Hankies' (p. 62 in the Hilaritas edition):
"my mother -like Rick when he moved to Casablanca- had been misinformed."

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised to see Sid and Nancy there and I'm surprised not to see The Wicker Man. I wonder if his list changed each time he chatted on the subject with one of his buddies. It's a fascinating list.

Sent from Iain

michael said...

A flashback scene to college in The Walls Came Tumbling Down, film direction note:
"On the juke box we hear Chuck Berry. On the wall is a blow-up of Bogart with drooping cigarette from Casablanca."-p.85 in my New Falcon ed.

"Envision Bogart and Bergman in the flashback sequences from Casablanca. It was like that: a passion so intense a Paris so beautiful (recovering from the war it had been slipping toward the Bogart-Bergman epic), a couple so radiant that any observer with an eye for nuance would have foretold a storm ahead." - p.708, Illuminatus!

an allusion: Reality Is What You Can Get Away With, p.115:
Billy (in Bogart's voice): When a man's partner is shot, he's supposed to do something about it.

Jane: But I thought Victor died in a concentration camp.

RAW is discussing popular culture and information from it that has become non-local by being in many peoples' brains; jumping off from burning of books in Fahrenheit 451 and people who take it upon themselves to memorize entire books:

"Some of us have similarly preserved some George Carlin routines, not out of any paranoid fear that our society will soon enter a similar totalitarian nightmare, but simply because we have played his videos so often that we have memorized large portions of them. Quite large parts of Casablanca have achieved a similar degree of non-locality."
-p.184 of my olde tattered New Falcon edition


Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Thank you, Spookah and Michael! Maybe RAW left Casablanca off his list because it was took obvious to be on a "personal and eccentric" list?