The story of Rick Blaine, a cynical world-weary ex-patriate who runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco during the early stages of WWII. Despite the pressure he constantly receives from the local authorities, Rick's cafe has become a kind of haven for refugees seeking to obtain illicit letters that will help them escape to America. But when Ilsa, a former lover of Rick's, and her husband, show up to his cafe one day, Rick faces a tough challenge which will bring up unforeseen complications, heartbreak and ultimately an excruciating decision to make. Written by
The first writers assigned to the script were twins Julius Epstein and Philip Epstein, who, against the wishes of Warner Brothers, left at Frank Capra's request early in 1942 to work on the "Why We Fight" series in Washington, DC. While they were gone, Howard Koch was assigned. He produced some 30-40 pages. When the Epstein brothers returned after about a month, they were reassigned to "Casablanca" and--contrary to what Koch claimed in two published books--his work was not used. In the final Warner Bros. budget for the film, the Epsteins were paid $30,416, while Koch earned $4,200. See more »
As Rick steps out of his office to hear the Germans sing, Major Strasser is seen sitting at the end of the piano. Moments later, Strasser has shifted to the right, and the German officer, Heinz, and a large vase has appeared. A few moments later, as Yvonne appears in a shot, Heinz has disappeared again and Strasser shifted back. Also, the table that Yvonne is sitting at was occupied by another couple when Rick stepped out of his office. Later, as the La Marseille is being sung, Heinz reappears at the German table. See more »
With the coming of the Second World War, many eyes in imprisoned Europe turned hopefully, or desperately, toward the freedom of the Americas. Lisbon became the great embarkation point. But, not everybody could get to Lisbon directly, and so a tortuous, roundabout refugee trail sprang up - Paris to Marseilles... across the Mediterranean to Oran... then by train, or auto, or foot across the rim of Africa, to Casablanca in French Morocco. Here, the fortunate ones through money, or ...
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As Time Goes By
Written by Herman Hupfeld
Performed by Dooley Wilson (piano dubbed by 'Jean V. Plummer' )
Variations played often in the score
(originally from the 1932 Broadway show "Everybody's Welcome") See more »
While there's not anything new to be said about "Casablanca", it's good to see one of the classics still getting some attention. By most standards it is at least very good, and there are good reasons why so many still remember it so fondly. Not everyone who watches it today shares the opinion that it is a classic, but it's still good to see fans of modern movies giving it a try for themselves.
The cast is one of its main strengths, not just Bogart and Bergman but also the fine supporting cast. Rains, Greenstreet, Lorre, and the others are indispensable to the atmosphere and the story, and each has some very good moments. It does have its imperfections, but it was not expected to be a classic or blockbuster - everything you read about the production suggests that it was made in a rather slap-dash fashion, under constraints that would have wrecked most other films. It's not hard to see the little ways that this affected the finished product, such as the times when the plot strains credibility a bit, or the characters seem to behave somewhat oddly. (In particular, it might have been even more satisfying if Bergman's character had been a little stronger - Ilsa is charming, but that's entirely thanks to what Bergman does with her; the character herself as written seems somewhat shallow.)
But it turned out anyway to be an excellent combination of actors, characters, and story, a combination that more than makes up for everything else. Different viewers probably remember and enjoy "Casablanca" for different reasons, because it seemingly has a little of everything. While perhaps not perfect, it is well worth remembering and watching.
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