Esca, the Celtic Slave, and Aquila, the Roman master, may appear an unlikely team in The Eagle, but the plot of enemies turned friends is a classic cinematic trope.
Slide 2: Apolitical/Collaborator | Casablanca (1942)
Among the many memorable lines in Michael Curtiz' quote-worthy Hollywood romance Casablanca is the aside that Rick (Humphrey Bogart) gives to Captain Louis Renault’s (Claude Rains) on a fog-draped airport runway at night: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” This sentiment alone could well become the rally cry for the Frennemy genre. The two men, while not passionate enemies, were each cynical and hardened it their own way. Rick, an ex-pat bar owner in Casablanca, wants nothing to do with the Nazi conflict sweeping Europe. Renault, a French bureaucrat now working for the pro-Nazi Vichy government, had long ago traded patriotism for the profit motive. But when Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), the luminous wife of a Czech Resistance fighter, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) (and Rick’s ex-love), find themselves in Casablanca trying to secure safe passage out of occupied territories, the two men find a strange bond. Initially the Rick and Renault simply trade favors (Rick providing tidbits of info, Renault looking the other way), but over time the two men seem to risk more and more. Assessing the import and meaning of the friendship that emerges between Bogart and Rains' characters, film historian Kevin Starr writes, “Interpretations of Casablanca, and they are multiple, range from straight allegory, with Rick (Humphrey Bogart) as Roosevelt, Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) as Churchill, and Casablanca as exactly that, the White House. Rick and Renault, Roosevelt and Churchill, agree at Casablanca that, in Renault's phrase, theirs is going to be a beautiful friendship. ...Others detect a submerged homosexual attraction between Rick and Renault or at least a strong homoerotic bond, while others, more plausibly, see Casablanca as a paradigm of the new world order brought on by the Second World War with its mixing of cultures, nations and languages.”