By Joseph Martinez –
Casablanca, one of the most beloved films in cinema history is turning 70 this year. With a strong plot, an exotic setting and cherished and memorable performances from a terrific cast, it is no wonder film fans love this movie.
It’s been said that there has never been a bad review written about this movie, and for good reason. Not only is it exceptionally well-crafted and immensely entertaining, but, just as noteworthy, it features timeless themes with which virtually all viewers can identify – redemption, love, and sacrificing personal interests for a greater cause (like defeating the Nazis). Almost no other movie better exemplifies the classic filmmaking style of Hollywood’s revered Golden Age.
Most of the film takes place in and around the Cafe Americain, which is run by American Expatriate Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a cynical isolationaist and gunrunner who gets involved in the Free French cause in order to help Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) a resistance leader and husband of Rick’s former lover Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman). Bogart and Bergman’s flashbacks to their love affair before the war is one of the most celebrtated relationships in cinema history. It won the Academy Award for best picture for 1942. (photo: Warner Bros / The Hollywood Archive)
Casablanca Trivia per IMDB.com:
- In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #3 Greatest Movie of All Time.
- The song “As Time Goes By” from the film is number 2 on the American Film Institute’s (AFI) 100 Years… 100 Songs list.
- Paul Henreid was loaned to Warners for the role of Victor Lazlo by Selznick International Pictures against his will. He was concerned that playing a secondary character would ruin his career as a romantic lead.
- Rick never says “Play it again, Sam.” He says: “You played it for her, you can play it for me. Play it!”. Ilsa says “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By”‘.
- The scene of Maj. Strasser’s arrival was filmed at Metropolitan Airport, now known as Van Nuys Airport, just outside of Los Angeles.
- “Rick’s Café Américain” was modeled after Hotel El Minzah in Tangiers.
- Captain Renault’s line, “You like war. I like women,” was changed from “You enjoy war. I enjoy women,” in order to meet decency standards.
- The movie’s line “Here’s looking at you, kid” was voted as the #5 movie quote by the American Film Institute
- To maximize profits from foreign distribution of the film, the studio suggested that any unpleasant characters other than the Nazis should also be from an enemy country, namely Italy. This is why Ugarte, Ferrari, and the dark European pickpocket are Italian.
- Hal B. Wallis didn’t want Humphrey Bogart wearing a hat too often in the film, as he thought it made Bogart look like a gangster.
- When this film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Jack L. Warner was first on stage to accept the award, beating the film’s actual producer, Hal B. Wallis, who was incensed at this slight and never forgave Warner. Wallis, at the time regarded as the “wunderkind” at the studio, left Warner Brothers shortly afterwards.
- Humphrey Bogart had to wear platform shoes to play alongside Ingrid Bergman.
View more classic celebrity photos at The Hollywood Archive Picture Vaults