“Casablanca”: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage

I found “Casablanca”: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage by Umberto Eco to be an interesting read if not a little scattered. The main idea I took away from this reading is that nothing is new and everything is taken from someplace. This is not a new concept for me but was interesting in the reading how they distinguished how certain texts play into this concept i.e. Raiders of The Lost Ark referencing Casablanca and how some are only enjoyable because the audience does not realize or is not paying attention to the texts that came before it i.e. Casablanca.

I didn’t quite understand in whole how it those qualities in whole that make Casablanca a cult classic. This is something I wish had been expanded upon in class. Though, I did take away the concept that some movies are born to be “cult” do the amount of previous knowledge needed to ‘get’ it.

“The required competence is not only inter-cinematic. It is inter-media, in the sense that spectator must know not only other movies, but the whole of mass media gossip about the movies.”  1

This is especially true when I think about one of my favorite “cult” classics Camp. A story of a group of kids who are spending their summer vacation at a Musical Theatre camp. To truly enjoy this movie one must have some level of knowledge of the archetypes within the musical theater community (especially at a high school level). One of these archetypes would be the ‘random straight guy’ or ‘the kid who struggles coming out/ the kid who gets beat up for being gay/trans’. This movie is also filled to the brim with references to other musicals in particular many of Stephen Sondheim’s musicals who also makes a cameo at the end of the film.



  1. Eco, Umberto. (1985). “Casablanca”: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage. SubStance, 14(2), pp. 3-12.
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