Casablanca (1942) movie
One of the greatest
Casablanca is one of the greatest movies in cinema history, a true icon which has captivated people's imaginations for decades. Its sublime script packed with unbeatable dialogue, its masterful direction, that doesn't get in the way of the story while it makes us care for the characters. It displays a great combination of cynicism and sentimentality. Add the magical performances and chemistry between the actors, Max Steiner's music and the mise-en-scène, which reach the highest artistic summits in film and you get this wonderful masterpiece.
Casablanca premiered on November 26, 1942, in New York city.
Runtime: 1h 42 min
IMDB rating: 8.6/10
Director: Michael Curtiz
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet
Producers: Jack L. Warner, Hal B. Wallis
Music: Max Steiner
A timeless classic
Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) an expatriate American citizen in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, runs a business called "Rick's Café", a club where individuals from all walks of life meet: people without a country, exiles from Nazi-occupied France, regular people, 3rd Reich German officers and thieves.
German Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) arrives in Casablanca after the murder of two German couriers carrying important official documents. Ugarte (Peter Lorre), a thief known by Rick, goes to Rick's Café holding the documents, which turn out to be "Letters of transit" (exit visas) which could be used by anybody to travel to Lisbon, the only neutral port in Europe, where boats where leaving for the free New World. Before he can sell the documents, he's stopped by the police, lead by Louis Renault (Claude Rains), an officer sold to the Nazis. Before he disappears, Ugarte secretly gives the documents to Rick.
To make Rick's situation even more difficult, an old lover shows up at his bar. Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) left Rick without in Paris for her husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid), who is with her in Casablanca. Laszlo is a leader of the Czech Resistance who, being aware that Rick is in possession of the documents, wants to buy them.
Rick, who until then has made it clear "he's sticks his neck out for nobody", will have to make the choice of his life between the woman he loves and a just cause he cares for.
Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca (1942)
Casablanca (1942) - Academy Awards
Academy Awards Won
Academy Awards nominations
Best actor in a leading role (Humphrey Bogart)
Best director (Michael Curtiz)
Best actor in a supporting role (Claude Rains)
Best score (Max Steiner)
Claude Rains and Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (1942)
Little known facts
- The inspiration for the play came after a trip to Europe by Murray Burnett and his wife in 1938. In Vienna, they were shocked by the anti-Jews sentiment and in the South of France, they went to a night club full of exiles and refugees and they met somebody similar to Sam.
- Ingrid Bergman is on the right side of the screen in most of her scenes as she thought her left side was her best side, so she insisted on her left side to be shown.
- In the play, the character played by Ingrid Bergman is an American. She only meets Laszlo after her relationship with Rick in Paris is over.
- In real life, the Allies invaded Casablanca in November 1942. Since the film wasn't meant to be released until many months later, studio executives wanted to change it to add the invasion. Jack Warner objected as the main story of this film needed a pre-invasion setting. He finally gave in and producer Hal B Wallis prepared to shoot an episode about it with Bogart and Claude Rains. However, before they could do it, David O. Selznick saw the unreleased film and told Jack Warner to release it as it was as soon as possible, which Warner agreed to.
- Humphrey Bogart was called back a month after the shooting ended to dub the famous last line of the movie.
- Hal B Wallis wanted William Wyler to direct the movie, but he was not available. Wallis then asked his friend Michael Curtiz, who was an Hungarian immigrant from Jewish origin, to direct Casablanca.
- Ted Turner, who purchased MGM/United Artist's film library in 1986, ordered a colorization of Casablanca, which finished in 1988 and cost $450,000.
- The Letters of transit, that everyone talks about in the movie and it's such an important theme in the film did not exist in real life. It was the "MacGuffin", which was something, whether it was some documents, some secrets of state, some object, some formula, information,... which was crucial to the characters of the movie but it unimportant to viewers and to the plot itself many times. The term "MacGuffin" was first made popular director Alfred Hitchock, who used it in so many of his movies and who explained what it meant in public in 1939, at a University lecture.
Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman & Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (1942)
Casablanca dialogue quotes
- Here's looking at you, kid.
- Round up the usual suspects.
- Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine.
- Rick: I stick my neck out for nobody! - Renault: A wise foreign policy.
- You played it for her, you can play it for me!
- We'll always have Paris.
- Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
- Play it, Sam. Play "As Time Goes By."
- Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time.
- If that plane leaves the ground and you're not with him, you'll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.
Many movies that were made after Casablanca's release were certainly influence by Casablanca, such Passage to Marseille, To Have and Have Not, A Night in Casablanca,... Here are just a few movies that might have been quite different, or not existed at all, without Casablanca:
- Passage to Marseille (1944) is arguably one of the most obvious one. Not only it was also directed by Michael Curtiz and starred many of Casablanca's actors: Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains Peter Lorre & Sydney Greenstreet; the plot of the movie had many similarities with Casablanca (men fighting against the Nazis in WWII occupied France). There are even some shots that seem taken from Casablanca (Bogart and Michelle Morgan ride in the car, Bogart and Michelle Morgan toasting, the scene at the airport,...)
- To Have and Have Not (1944) features Humphrey Bogart again in an occupied French territory and he's asked to help la Resistance. There is also a supporting character who is a piano player and who sings at a bar. The movie had been called "Casablanca 2: Rick on a Boat", "Casablanca spin-off",... The main difference is the main female lead, Lauren Bacall, who plays a strong woman who knows what she wants, as opposed to Ingrid Bergman's Elsa, who is more passive.
- A Night in Casablanca (1946) started out as a parody of the movie Casablanca, though the screenplay changed by the time they started shooting the movie. Though it's set after WWII, the Nazis still show up, complicating things.
- Play It Again, Sam (1972) is the story of a movie critic obsessed with Casablanca and the references are many; Woody Allen's character even quotes lines from Casablanca in the movie.
- Indiana Jones character had many traces of Humphrey Bogart's character. The American abroad always in exotic locations, the melancholic man because of the lost of his loved one, even the white tuxedo he's wearing at the opening scene at the club in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) is an homage to Bogart's white tuxedo in Casablanca.
- Havana (1990) shows that the character played by Robert Redford not only Bogart's traits, but he is in a similar exotic location surrounded by the local population in turmoil.
- Casino (1995) introduces Robert De Niro's character, the manager of the casino "joint", in the same way Bogart's Rick is introduced in Casablanca, with a traveling shot from left to right of the actor, who is smoking.
- The Good German (2006), shot in black and white, displays an important scene in an airport, fog included.