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Casablanca, Nest of Spies (1963) - Plot Summary Poster

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Synopsis

  • Casablanca 1942. While French Police Chief Maurice Desjardins is busy having careless fun with some loose girls, members of the French Resistance kill a man at the harbor and steal his briefcase full of important documents from the Third Reich. At an apartment building in the distance, Andre Kuhn watches the whole operation through his powerful binoculars. He is posing as a businessman but actually working as a spy for the Germans a fact totally ignored by his live-in girlfriend Teresa Villar, a beautiful Spanish singer who works at El Dorado Night Club. Andre telephones Max von Stauffen, the head of German Intelligence in Casablanca, to inform him of what he has just witnessed. Max tells him to stay put until he arrives in order to get the information personally but, by the time he reaches Andres apartment, he finds him dead with a gun shot on his temple.

    At El Dorado is show time and Teresa performs to an appreciative audience. In her dressing room she finds Max von Stauffen who notifies her of Andres assassination and the whole spy business. Teresa is both surprised and devastated by the news. Max promises to avenge Andres death and asks for her assistance to achieve that goal. Not quite knowing how she can help, Teresa accepts. Later that night Max instructs Police chief Maurice to arrest Teresa and bring her to Intelligence headquarters. In spite of her protests, Teresa is arrested and thrown in a cell where she spends all night.

    The following morning she is led to von Stauffens office and he apologizes for the incident explaining that it was necessary for his plans to capture Andres killers. By arresting her, she is now publicly perceived as at odds with the Nazis and more likely to be trusted by the French resistance. From now on Teresas job will be to continue charming the public at El Dorado while befriending certain men that Max considers suspects of anti-German activities. Teresa agrees reluctantly believing it is her duty to help catch her boyfriends assassin and Max strengthens his control over her by retaining her passport. With all matters taken care of, the Nazi official releases Teresa to Maurice with instructions to take her back home. During the drive back, Maurice openly flirts with Teresa much to her annoyance. Meanwhile, a Swiss named Lucien and his comrades in the French resistance are trying to decipher the documents seized from the man they killed at the harbor. Unfortunately they cant break the code and decide to wait for their leader whom they call El Lobo (The Wolf) to get his opinion on the matter. Lucien doesnt know that he is the first suspect targeted by von Stauffen and assigned to Teresa.

    At El Dorado, Lucien is in attendance with some friends and Teresa spots him from the stage. She flirts with him using all her powers of seduction and is finally asked to join him at his table. After a few drinks, Lucien takes her to his place where, in more intimate surroundings, Teresa tries to dig information from him but he is more interested in romancing her. However, they are interrupted by Luciens comrade Pierrot and Teresa manages to listen to their conversation. They talk about an Arab native who assisted in the harbor attack and is now demanding more money since his camel was killed in the shooting. Lucien tells Pierrot to come back later for a meeting and sends him away. Alone again, Teresa continues seducing Lucien but they are interrupted again, this time, surprisingly by Police Chief Maurice who arrives with a gang of male and female revelers. Suddenly, there an impromptu party going on and Teresa tries to leave but is stopped by Maurice who seems intent in befriending her. She stays at the party and is later driven back to her hotel by Maurice who asks her about her feelings for Lucien. She slips away without giving him a straight answer.

    Later that night, back at Luciens, there is a formal meeting of the Resistance attended by the mysterious El Lobo, who happens to be Maurice. He orders Pierrot to kill the money-hungry Arab with the dead camel and reminds all that there is a war going on and that they should all be ready to kill whenever necessary. He stresses the point that sometimes is necessary to kill a friend before allowing him to be arrested and tortured by the Nazis. The following morning Teresa meets with von Stauffen and gives him a detailed account of what transpired the previous night. He finds her story quite interesting and tells Teresa that the Secret Service will try to catch the Arab native and get from him the necessary information to catch Lucien. That way Teresa will not be suspected by anybody and she can continue her work for the agency. Teresa is quite surprised and even amused when Max orders her to concentrate her efforts now on Maurice since she considers him a womanizer good-for-nothing clown but the officer is quite serious about the request.

    Soon the Nazis locate and arrest the native with the dead camel who, upon interrogation, reveals the identity and whereabouts of Pierrot. Meanwhile, Teresa and Maurice are all over Casablanca romancing and having fun. All of the sudden, at the street market place, there is a big commotion and they see how the police has cornered Pierrot. Maurice catches up with the action and cold-bloodily kills Pierrot while Teresa watches in horror. The Nazis are also upset since their orders were to catch Pierrot alive. Visibly shook up, Maurice leaves with Teresa and they go back to her place where Maurice tries to justify his actions by confessing the truth about his life but she stops him. Teresa has realized that she truly cares for him and doesnt want to know anything that she might have to report to Max later. With show time approaching, Teresa and Maurice drive to El Dorado . He stays in the audience while she goes to her dressing room to change for the nights performance. Teresa is shocked to find Lucien hiding there who informs her that the Nazis are after him and that he must talk to Maurice immediately. Teresa locks him up and, during her performance, passes the dressing room key to Maurice who immediately understand whats going on. Maurice tries to help Lucien escape but he is caught anyway by von Stauffen and his men.

    After these developments, Teresa knows that Maurice and his closest comrades must leave the country at once. However all visas and travel permits have been suspended by Max and the only way to travel abroad is with documents stamped with the Secret Service seal. Teresa suggests that she could help obtain the seal and Maurice all of the sudden realizes that she works for the Germans. However he loves her and trusts her and, as it is, she is the only hope. Next they stop at a building where Maurice collaborators run underground radio communications. They have received a message from a U.S. submarine that is willing to wait offshore to pick them up in case they can get out of Casablanca. Maurice informs them of Teresas offer and convinces them to give her the chance to try, although they are not too happy to trust a Nazi spy. At Secret Service headquarters, Teresa meets with Max and gives him information about the underground radio operation and other details. While briefly alone in the office she goes into Max desk, finds the seal and stamps the documents that will allow Maurice and his friends to flee the country. In the desk she also finds her own passport but leaves it there so that Max doesnt suspect anything and the men have time to get away. Outside she turns over the documents to Maurice and lies to him about her passport assuring him that she has it and will meet him in Lisbon in a few days. Actually she knows she is doomed and will never be able to leave Casablanca alive.

    At El Dorado Teresa sings again what might be her last song. In her dressing room von Stauffen waits for her. He already knows what shes done and his duty is to put her in jail where she would certainly be tortured and killed. However, he is impressed when she tells him that she did it for love and would do it again if necessary. She is ready to face her destiny. Max draws from his pocket her passport, stamps it and hands it over to her while reminding her of the next flight to Lisbon. Teresa can hardly believe this turn of events and thanks Max profusely. He exits while pointing out that he had always cared for the safety of his agents. Offshore, Maurice and his friends are safely in their way to freedom. THE END.

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