Can anyone give me ideas for a thesis on how Casablanca relates to a classic Hollywood style?
I think that you might want to spend some time assessing the storyline of the film. It is one of those films that plays up the Hollywood notion of the good guy battling overwhelming odds to win and triumph over evil. Even though Rick doesn't get Ilsa, we know that he is "still in the fight" and will eventually triumph, as America does, over the Nazis. The classical Hollywood elements would be present in both Rick and also in the Nazis and General Strasser as being the embodiment of evil. There is little in ways of complexity of the evil side here. This is something that is seen in many of the old time Hollywood films. At the same time, I think that the manner in which the personal is set amidst the backdrop of the political is another example of the Hollywood style. In films such as "Casablanca," "From Here to Eternity," and "Doctor Zhivago," the backdrop of historical reality merges with the clashes of the personal realm. The love two people share "might not add up to a hill of beans," but Hollywood felt it perfect to set it against a historical conflict in order to make that historical reality more understandable to the audience.