The deep moral question: “Do you stick your neck out?”

Two from the Times today link to my essays about Casablanca and Aristides de Sousa Mendes–who did stick his neck out.

Will anyone in our so-called government have the moral strength to do the same?

ICE courthouse arrests and deportations prey on vulnerable people …

And, from the Times Back Story, vulnerable people desperate for exit visas…


“We’ll always have Paris.”

Seventy-five years ago today, The Times published its review of “Casablanca,” the romance filmed and released during World War II that became one of the most beloved — and oft-quoted — Hollywood movies of all time.

The film is set in Rick’s Café Américain, a swinging bar “through which swirls a backwash of connivers, crooks and fleeing European refugees,” as the Nazis take over Europe. Vichy France controls the port city — and the exit visas required to leave it. The price is high, and refugees are desperate to snag one on the black market.

The stars were Hollywood A-listers: Humphrey Bogart as Rick; Ingrid Bergman as his long-lost love, Ilsa; and Paul Henreid as her husband, the heroic resistance leader Victor Laszlo.

Mr. Henreid was, in fact, a staunchly anti-Nazi European. Critics have written that the film was strengthened by the many refugees and exiles in the supporting cast, including Madeleine Lebeau, who belts out “La Marseillaise” through tears in one of the most famous scenes.

Noah Isenberg, the author of a recent book on the film, said it still retains its magic, in part because it confronts a deep moral question: “Do you stick your neck out?”

Karen Zraick contributed reporting.


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