Casablanca – Use of Sound
Casablanca, directed by Michael Curtiz is well known for its use of sound. Sound effects are an important part of a movie and help in showing the importance of a scene as well as the aid in displaying the emotions of the actors. Casablanca is the story of the man who helps a woman, whom he loved before to escape from Casablanca with her husband. The film is based at the very beginning of the Second World War after the Germans had invaded France. This movie carries rich sound effects and musical tones. One comes across both Diegetic and Non-Diagetic Sounds in a film. Diegetic sounds are real and can be seen on the film, such as the voices of characters, music coming from an instrument and sounds made by objects. The non-diegetic sounds are in the background and are placed to enhance the experience of the film and make it more believable.
In Casablanca, there are a lot of sound effects. For example, the producer makes the use of rain where she is shown running from the guards with Humphrey and when she is leaving with her husband. The audience feels sadness and torture because of the presence of the sound of the rain and a sense of melancholy. As Captain Strasser plane lands, there are shrill violins and low, bombastic brass that make the viewer feels uncomfortable, and they can sense doom. The sound indicates that the audience should be wary of Captain Strasser’s character. This same music is played again during Nazi’s invasion so as to make the viewer feel uncomfortable and sense danger.
There are different tones in the sounds used throughout the film. For example, quiet and slow tones, when the police man and Humphrey are talking, reflect that both of them are comfortable and relaxed. In other scene, the high and faster volumes of sound show the anger of the police man.Humphrey has used a low tone during the whole movie, and this reflects his personality that comes across as cool and composed. Ingrid speaks in different tones, showing that she can often get stressed.
Music plays a very important role in nay movie and lends more creativity to it. At the beginning of the movie, the music makes use of low tone music that stands for a simple life. However, the music gets high-toned when police started making the chase. The high-toned music makes the viewers alert and makes them realize the importance of the scene and what is happening. "Knock on Wood" by M.K. Jerome is a particular song that has been played in the movie and symbolizes a group chore song.
Sam playing in a low tune on the piano when Victor and his wife Ilsa pass by him suggest that Rick is remembering the face of Ilsa, his ex-lover. The audiences feel that there might be a clash of old memories between Rick and Elsa. The song "As Time Goes By" by Frank Sinatra is played on the request of Ilsa, and the love song triggers great memories between Rick and Ilsa when they were together in Paris. The use of a romantic song when Ingrid and her husband escape tell the audience that the story has a happy ending.
Another type of music has been used by the editor, and it is the music that was sung by the actors, which gives the movie more reality. One can find the music when French and Nazi soldiers are singing their national anthem. The audience can feel the hope, love and fight for one’s country in the heart of the soldiers. In the last scenes, the editor uses a high pitch volume when Victor and his wife Ilsa are fleeing and as the German Major Strasser is speeding towards the airport to stop the plane.
Michael Curtiz has made wonderful use of sound in Casablanca to highlight political tension, captivate viewers and enhance their overall experience.