Sunday, May 15, 2016

Adieu, Enfant de la Patrie

It wasn't a grand career - but it did include one of the most stirring moments ever put on film. I hope that Madeleine LeBeau - gone this weekend to meet Rick over at his new place in Fabulon - knows what she meant to all of us who love Casablanca.

LeBeau, of course, played Yvonne, the lost soul washed up for reasons unknown in Morocco, possibly fleeing something or possibly just wandering.  In a moment that defined not just who was who - and why - in one of the great films of the Studio Era, but that came to underscore the greater question (very much an unanswered even as late as when the film was released in 1942) of Why We Fight, her character threw caution to the wind and stood up to Fascism with the only weapon at her disposal, her simple faith in France and her stirring, sobbing voice.

She was herself a refugee, so she brought to her one great part a special sense of identification that seems to charge her few moments on screen with an extra poignancy.  It's nice to know, reading her obituary, that she went on to have an interesting and varied life.

She was the last credited survivor of Casablanca.

1 comment:

  1. I always liked the scene where she's at the bar and has had a few too many because of being rejected by Rick. Rick tells Sasha to get her a cab. She resists and he says "Yvonne, I love you but he pays me". Then Rick tells Sasha to come right back and Sasha says "yes, boss".
    Ain't that the truth!
    Great post today!