In the nighttime shots, the delicate and nuanced swirls of cigarette smoke through the air.
If you like "Casablanca" but don't know other films from that era, you really owe it to yourself to check them out.
You can start with Bogart, for example, a couple of other films with him that are personal favorites: "Dark Passage" and "The Big Sleep".
Some things, such a sexuality, were more nuanced (my word for the day, I guess) and implied, in those days; but don't tell me they weren't there. And in some ways things were a little more direct; adults were adults, and some of the humor along with it.
There are also any number of excellent comedies, often as sophisticated as anything we have today.
I've had a few younger friends who tell me, 'I'm not interested in that old stuff.' Until I get them to watch a prime example.
The Stanford Theater in Palo Alto is a great one. Best of all, almost everyone puts their phones away without prompting. Almost everyone.
The first time I saw "Casablanca" in its entirety was as the weekly film in college, on a classroom projector and screen.
I remember being shocked and dumbfounded at the credits. "1942? This was made during the most hopeless time of the war?!"
If I had to pick a single movie scene as my favorite, it would be that one.
Nobody knew what would happen. The characters are fantastic, from the French who must obey to Vichs government, to Rick that perfectly represents America's position.
I've watched it with my 10 and 12 years old sons. Had to pause a lot to explain things, but we all loved it.
Step 2 - if they don't have a drink in their hands when the scene starts make sure the scene involves fixing or pouring a drink.
Casablanca is a great movie.
Around 1985 I was living and working at home in Los Gatos, CA, when I got a call out of the blue:
"Hi, I'm Robert Hetkämper from German TV. We are doing a report on Silicon Valley software companies. Could we stop by tonight and interview you?"
I was nobody you'd have ever heard of, but I had a business phone line listed under my company name, Software Wizards. So I guessed that was how they found me, or that maybe it was just a prank.
I explained that the company was just me working at home, and Robert said, "This is interesting, we are looking for unusual companies like that. Do you have some friends or colleagues you could invite over and we could talk with them too?"
So I called up a few friends and asked them if they wanted to be on German TV, and bless their hearts, they all came over. I still thought it might be a prank, but then the film crew showed up and started putting lights on the street for an exterior shot.
My friends and I sat around the living room table talking, and Robert asked if we could get some glasses of water to drink out of, to get a bit of visual activity in the scene.
That was the day I learned that in a very dialog-heavy film, it helps to have the characters holding something. :-)