It was just a coincidence…maybe. But just last week, after reading Tim Berry’s True Story: Business By Handshake post on his Planning Startups Stories blog, I was watching for the umptyteenth time, the movie Casablanca and saw one scene with an entirely new light.

Monsieur Rick is negotiating the sale of his saloon, Rick’s Cafe American, to his friendly rival, Signor Ferrari keeper of the Blue Parrot.

A waiter brings tea to Rick and Ferrari, who sit alone at a table in a secluded nook off the main room.

Ferrari: Shall we draw up papers, or is our handshake good enough?

Rick: It’s certainly not good enough. But since I’m in a hurry, it’ll have to do.

Ferrari pours a cup of tea for Rick, who takes a sip.

Ferrari: Ah, to get out of Casablanca and go to America! You’re a lucky man.

Rick: Oh, by the way, my agreement with Sam’s always been that he gets twenty-five percent of the profits. That still goes.

Ferrari: Hmmm. I happen to know that he gets ten percent. But he’s worth twenty-five.

Rick: And Abdul and Carl and Sacha, they stay with the place, or I don’t sell.

Ferrari: Of course they stay. Rick’s wouldn’t be Rick’s without them.”

Rick: Well, so long.

Rick gets up, followed by Ferrari. They shake hands to seal the deal. He walks to the door, then stops and turns around.

Rick: Don’t forget, you owe Rick’s a hundred cartons of American cigarettes.

Ferrari: I shall remember to pay it… to myself.

—Warner Brothers Pictures 1942, screenplay by Julius J Epstein, Philip G Epstein, Howard Koch

Classic!! There is the business deal by handshake.

And there’s more business there. Taking care of partners. Recognizing the value of employees to the success of a newly acquired business. Squaring up of existing debts.

Watch the film again sometime. It is much more than a romantic adventure. It is filled with business. Up front business, shady business, back room business, intrigue business, political business. Business business everywhere!

Steve Lange
Senior Editor
Palo Alto Software

Was this article helpful?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)