Casablanca (1943)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 44 mins

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In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine, an exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. A cynical lone wolf, Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault does what he can to please him, including detaining a Czechoslovak underground leader Victor Laszlo. Much to Rick's surprise, Lazslo arrives with Ilsa, Rick's one time love. Rick is very bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan....
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman

Crew: Michael Curtiz (Director), Arthur Edeson (Director of Photography), Max Steiner (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Drama, Romance, War

Release Dates: 23 Jan 1943 (India)

Tagline: They had a date with fate in Casablanca!

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Did you know? During the shoot, Humphrey Bogart was called to the studio to stand in the middle of the Rick's Cafe set and nod. He had no idea what the nod meant in the story - that he was giving his O.K. for the band in the cafe to play the "Marseillaise." Read More
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Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Mono
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1, 1.37 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Taglines:
They had a date with fate in Casablanca!
As big and timely a picture as ever you've seen! You can tell by the cast it's important! gripping! big!
As exciting as the landing at Casablanca! (NY Premiere Poster Ad)
Goofs:
Audio/Video Mismatch
There are multiple instances throughout the film where the action of Sam's hands on the piano bears no resemblance to the piano part heard. Especially notable is the first time Sam sings "As Time Goes By" for Ilsa; a rapid treble run is executed that would have necessitated the movement of his right forearm. None is seen.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When Yvonne is kicked out of Rick's in the first scene there, the comments she shouts as she walks outside don't match her lip movement at all.

Audio/Video Mismatch
When the trumpet and trombone players raise their instruments to play "La Marseillaise", the music begins a split second before they start playing.

Character Error
Ferrari's "blue parrot" is a different species. It is hard to tell in black and white, but based on the face patch, size and gray scale of the colors, the parrot is a scarlet macaw (red and yellow with blue wing tips) or Ara Macao; and not a blue macaw (hyacinth or blue and gold).

Character Error
During Rick and Ilsa's night together in Paris they hear artillery firing; and Rick says that "it's German's new 77." The German's didn't use the 77 in World War II. They did use a 77mm gun in World War I; but in World War II the 88mm gun was the new gun.

Character Error
When Rick and Ilsa are listening to the sound of German guns out the window in Paris, Rick comments that they are from the "New German 77s". Actually, the German Army used a 77 mm. field gun in World War I, not World War II. The script writers, (or perhaps Rick himself) may have been thinking of this older weapon.

Continuity
Right before showing Rick the letters of transit, Ugarte begins lighting a new cigarette with his previous cigarette, but gives up doing so and puts the unlit cigarette on the ashtray in front of him, where it rests partially on the table. Moments later there are two cigarettes in the ashtray, none of which are resting on the table. Moments later, as Ugarte leaves the table, the cigarettes have disappeared from the ashtray.

Continuity
When Rick is listening to Annina explain the situation in Bulgaria with his back to the camera, we see him take a drink of brandy. The shot switches before he put his glass down. But in the new shot with the camera facing him, Rick only has a cigarette in his hand and the brandy glass isn't visible.

Continuity
When Rick gets on the train after standing in the rain, his coat is completely dry.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When the German plane approaches the airport the camera pans across a large group of refugees with their passports lined up outside the Police Headquarters. The camera moves close to the crowd and we suddenly see the individual persons. We see for a second or two a shadow moving across the wall behind them, which is most likely the camera crane.

Errors in Geography
On the map shown during the movie credits at the beginning, the area where Poland is shown (actually in reality Poland did not exist in 1942, it was politically considered part of Germany or more properly called "Occupied Poland") is in reality parts of Belarus and the Ukraine, which were dissolved into the USSR at the time.

Errors in Geography
The railroad car Rick boards in Paris is an American railroad passenger car. French railroad cars of the time would likely board from multiple doors into individual compartments. The two cars shown reveal their American heritage in handrails, side moldings and other minor details. Given the unavailability of French cars at the time of filming, the error is understandable.

Errors in Geography
Throughout the film, liquor bottles are seen with USA tax revenue stickers across the tops of the bottles.

Errors in Geography
In the initial scene with a map of Africa, Rabat is incorrectly placed at the location of the town of Kinitra and thus is too far north. Rabat is actually about 20 miles further to the southwest at the place where the map indicates a river flowing into the Atlantic. Note that Rabat is correctly placed on the map on the wall in the Prefect's office.

Errors in Geography
When Renault calls Strasser to tell of the upcoming events at the airport, Major Strasser is in the office of the "German Commission of Armistice" according to the sign on the door. The name should have been in German - or perhaps French, but not in English.

Factual Mistake
Major Strasser is wearing the uniform of a Luftwaffe Major, but his rank insignia and stripes on the trousers are those of a Luftwaffe General.

Factual Mistake
At the start of the final airport scene, the weather report that is telephoned to the radio tower visibility is quoted as being one and one half mile, light fog, but if the visibility is 1½ miles then it is called haze rather than fog. And the weather report is missing some very important items such as wind direction, wind speed, and air pressure.

Factual Mistake
During the flashback scene in Paris, loudspeaker trucks are shown with the Gestapo telling the Parisians not to act when the Germans arrive tomorrow. In fact, Paris issued no warnings about the German advance at all. The German blitzkrieg overwhelmed the French so completely that all communications were either stymied or went astray.

Factual Mistake
There was never any such thing as a "letter of transit".

Factual Mistake
Ugarte tells Rick about the "letters of transit signed by General DeGaulle". Since Charles DeGaulle was the Free French leader and the movie takes place in a Vichy France colony, letters signed by DeGaulle would have been meaningless.

Factual Mistake
There is a French tricolor with crescent and star in the middle waving over the Police offices at the beginning of the film. Such flag was never used in Morocco. During the time of the French Protectorate the flag of Morocco was the same as today, red with a green pentagram in the middle. The civil ensign used between 1923 and 1956 added a small French tricolor in the canton but never a crescent and star.

Revealing Mistakes
After police break up underground group's meeting and Laszlo escapes to Rick's café, Laszlo is trying to bandage his arm with a dish towel. The towel falls off several times yet there is no blood on it.

Revealing Mistakes
As Major Strasser gets shot, he falls down holding the telephone handset-the telephone cord between the phone and the handset is not connected. However, he actually got a hold of an operator and requested to speak to the radio tower. The phone was successfully operated earlier when the weather report was phoned to the radio tower, the cord is clearly connected-and the phone works.
Trivia:
Although M.K. Jerome and Jack Scholl are listed in the opening credits for 'songs', they are in fact represented by only one song (Knock on Wood). The other song they wrote for Casablanca (1942) (Dat's What Noah Done) was cut from the picture.

Other actresses considered for the part of Ilsa were Edwige Feuillère, Michèle Morgan and Tamara Toumanova. Ingrid Bergman was one of the first choices, but she was under contract to David O. Selznick, who was stalling because he wanted her for For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943). Selznick finally agreed when he learned that the Epstein brothers and Michael Curtiz were working on the film, all of whom he respected and trusted. Warner Bros. also agreed to loan Selznick the services of Olivia de Havilland in return.

Carl's back story is hinted at once, when he is referred to as "Professor" by a waiter.

The first shot of Rick sees him playing chess, a personal favorite game of Humphrey Bogart's.

The "Casablanca Hanger" at the Van Nuys Airport, built in 1928, was demolished in 2007.

Howard Hawks had said in interviews that he was supposed to direct Casablanca (1942) and Michael Curtiz was supposed to direct Sergeant York (1941). The directors had lunch together, where Hawks said he didn't know how to make this "musical comedy", while Curtiz didn't know anything about "those hill people." They switched projects. Hawks struggled on how to direct the scenes that involved singing, namely the "La Marseillaise" scene. It is ironic to note that most of his other films involved at least one singing scene.

The scene of Major Strasser's arrival was filmed at Metropolitan Airport, now known as Van Nuys Airport, just outside of Los Angeles.

Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid later reprised their roles for a radio performance of on the CBS radio program "The Screen Guild Players", a war benefit show on April 26, 1943.

During Rick's flashbacks to Paris, he and Ilsa are shown dancing at a nightclub. The song to which they are dancing is "Perfidia" Theme of the song is a lover's betrayal, a hint at what Rick thought of Ilsa when she disappeared and now, when she reappears.

The scene in which Victor Laszlo leads the band and patrons of Rick's in singing "La Marseillaise" was copied from Jean Renoir's 1937 film La Grande Illusion (1937), in which French service members in a German POW camp sing the song as a similar gesture of defiance. In La Grande Illusion (1937) the song was led by a prisoner who was in drag for a show the prisoners were putting on.

Dooley Wilson was borrowed from Paramount at $500 a week.

Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid make their first appearance 24 minutes into the film.

The influx into Hollywood of large numbers of European exiles fleeing the war helped the casting enormously. In fact, of all the featured players in the film who get screen credit, only three were born in the United States: Humphrey Bogart, Dooley Wilson and Joy Page.

Warner Brothers purchased the play for $20,000, the most anyone had ever paid for an unproduced work.

Renault tells Rick he knows that he ran guns to Ethiopia, referring to Italy's invasion in 1935. In the Italian version of the picture, Renault's line became, "You ran guns to China."

When Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein won an Oscar for their script, they became the first (and as for 2007 the only) Academy Award winning twins.

The script was based on the unproduced play "Everybody Comes to Rick's". Samuel Marx of MGM wanted to offer authors (Murray Burnett and Joan Alison) $5,000 for it, but MGM boss Louis B. Mayer refused; Irene Lee of the Warner Brothers story department praised it to Jack L. Warner, who agreed to buy it for $20,000.

S.Z. Sakall, who plays the maitre d' at Rick's Cafe, actually has more screen time than Peter Lorre or Sydney Greenstreet.

At a salary of $25,000 for five weeks' work, Conrad Veidt was the highest-paid actor on the set and on loan from MGM. His main competition for the Major Strasser role was Otto Preminger, under contract to 20th Century-Fox, for whom Darryl F. Zanuck had demanded the outrageous sum of $7,000 per week.

The French dialogue between Yvonne and the French officer translates as: French Officer: "Hey you, you're not French to go out with a German like that!" Yvonne: "What are you butting in for?" French Officer: "I am butting in..." Yvonne: "It's none of your business!"

The film's success led to plans for a sequel, which was to be called Brazzaville. Ingrid Bergman was not available, so Geraldine Fitzgerald was considered for Ilsa before the project was killed. It was not until the late 1990s and Michael Walsh's novel "As Time Goes By" that a true sequel ever came to pass.

Conrad Veidt's wife was Jewish and that is one of the reasons why Veidt had to flee Germany before his wife or himself was arrested.

Rick and Ilsa standing over Sam's piano in Paris was the first scene to be shot. Filming a tender love scene with two actors who had just met was not planned, but the filming of Now, Voyager (1942) had gone over schedule, so Paul Henreid and Claude Rains were not available.

The original unproduced play, "Everybody Comes to Rick's", was found by Irene Lee, who headed the story department at Warner Brothers, on a trip to office of Jack Wilk, story editor for Warner East Coast operations in New York, where the typed script had sat for a year. It arrived at Warner Bros. Studios to be read as a potential film project on the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

"As Time Goes By" was written by lifelong bachelor Herman Hupfeld and debuted in 1931's Broadway show "Everybody's Welcome", sung by Frances Williams, It had been a personal favorite of playwright and high school teacher Murray Burnett who, seven years later, visited Vienna just after the Nazis had entered. Later, after visiting a café in south France where a black pianist had entertained a mixed crowd of Nazis, French and refugees, Burnett was inspired to write the melodrama "Everybody Comes to Rick's", which was optioned for production by Martin Gabel and Carly Wharton, and later, Warners. After the film's release, "As Time Goes By" stayed on radio's "Hit Parade" for 21 weeks. However, because of the coincidental musicians' union recording ban, the 1931 Rudy Vallee version became the smash hit. (It contains the rarely-sung introductory verse, not heard in the film.) Max Steiner, in a 1943 interview, admitted that the song "must have had something to attract so much attention".

Michèle Morgan asked for $55,000, but Hal B. Wallis refused to pay it when he could get Ingrid Bergman for $25,000.

Although this was an overtly anti-Nazi film, it wasn't the first one that Warner Bros. had made (it had come out several years earlier with Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)). Warners was the first Hollywood studio to be so open about its opposition to the Nazi regime, and the first to prohibit its films from being distributed in Nazi-occupied territories. Indeed, Harry M. Warner was making speeches denouncing Nazi activities in Germany as early as 1936.

Around nine minutes into the movie, Rick OKs a credit slip dated 2-Dec-1941.

Producer Hal B. Wallis nearly made the character Sam a female. Hazel Scott, Lena Horne, and Ella Fitzgerald were considered for the role.

At the beginning of the film, the spinning globe shows the extent of three empires during the Second World War. The German 'Third Reich' in Europe, the 'Great Japanese Empire' in South-East Asia and the British Empire in Africa and South Asia (notably modern-day India and Pakistan).

On December 7th 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered the Second World War. The next day a Warner Brothers reader began to evaluate the unproduced play "Everybody Comes To Rick's" as a possible movie. It was perfect timing as studios raced to get patriotic pictures into production. Two weeks later, Warners' executive in charge of production, Hal B. Wallis, decided to make the film, changed the title to mirror the exotic romanticism of the studio's hit Algiers, and announced it as a done deal before contracts were signed (Writers Murray Burnett and Joan Alison received a record $20,000 for the rights to an unproduced play).

Casey Robinson, who re-wrote the romantic scenes between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, was offered screen credit but turned it down because at the time he was only taking credit for scripts he wrote entirely by himself. By declining credit, he did himself out of an Academy Award.

In the original script for Casablanca (1942), then titled "Everyone Come to Rick's", Ilsa was not a 'virtuous' woman. She was living with an already married American business man. It was Rick who left her when he found out. And when she and Victor come to Casablanca, she is not married to him, either.

Sydney Greenstreet wanted to wear something more ethnic to show that his character had assimilated into the Moroccan lifestyle. This idea was nixed by producer Hal B. Wallis who insisted that he wear his now-iconic white suit.

Early in the production, studio head Jack L. Warner offered the role of Rick Blaine to George Raft, but the actor turned it down. As the shooting script took shape, producer Hal B. Wallis began to envision actor Humphrey Bogart in the Rick Blaine role. As Bogart was under contract to Warner Bros. the role was assigned to him by Wallis. But after Bogart had been cast in the role, George Raft reconsidered his decision and contacted Warner to deliver the news that he had decided to accept the 'Casablanca' part after all. After consulting with Wallis - who had never envisioned anyone but Bogart in the role - Warner decided to support his producer: Warner explained to Raft that Humphrey Bogart had been cast in the role of Rick Blaine, and that the part was no longer available.

Madeleine Lebeau, who plays Yvonne, and Marcel Dalio, who plays croupier Emil, were husband and wife at the time of filming. They had not long before escaped the Nazis by fleeing their native France.

Ingrid Bergman's contract was owned by producer David O. Selznick, and producer Hal B. Wallis sent the film's writers, Philip G. Epstein and Julius J. Epstein, to persuade Selznick to loan her to Warner Bros. for the picture. After 20 minutes of describing the plot to Selznick, Julius gave up and said, "Oh, what the hell! It's a lot of shit like Algiers (1938)!" Selznick nodded and agreed to the loan.

"Rick's Café Américain" was modeled after Hotel El Minzah in Tangiers.

After shooting, Max Steiner spoke against using "As Time Goes By" as the song identifying Rick and Ilsa, saying he would rather compose an original song in order to qualify for royalties. However, Hal B. Wallis replied that since the filming had ended, Ingrid Bergman had cut her hair very short for For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) which was shooting at a distant locale and she therefore could not re-shoot already-completed scenes that had used "As Time Goes By".

Sam's piano sold for more than $600,000 (£370,000) at a New York auction in December 2012.

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.

Warner Brothers claimed that people of 34 nationalities worked on the film.

Rick's Cafe was one of the few original sets built for the film, the rest were all recycled from other Warner Brothers productions due to wartime restrictions on building supplies.

A $100,000 insurance policy was taken out on the films leading player, Humphrey Bogart, in case he died during the film's production.

Film debut of Joy Page, stepdaughter of studio head Jack L. Warner. She played the young Bulgarian wife. She, Humphrey Bogart and Dooley Wilson were the only American-born people in the credited cast.

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.

The movie's line "We'll always have Paris." was voted as the #43 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100).

The letters of transit that motivate so many characters in the film did not exist in Vichy-controlled France - they are purely a plot device invented by the screenwriters. Playwright Joan Alison always expected somebody to challenge her about the letters, but nobody ever did.

Because the film was made during WWII they were not allowed to film at an airport after dark for security reasons. Instead they used a sound stage with a small cardboard cutout airplane and forced perspective. To give the illusion that the plane was full-sized, they used little people to portray the crew preparing the plane for take-off. Years later the same technique was used in the film Alien (1979), with director Ridley Scott's son and some of his friends in scaled down spacesuits.

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.

Dooley Wilson (Sam) was a professional drummer who faked playing the piano. As the music was recorded at the same time as the film, the piano playing was actually a recording of a performance by Elliot Carpenter who was playing behind a curtain but who was positioned such that Dooley could watch, and copy, his hand movements.

Dooley Wilson was, in fact, the only member of the cast to have ever actually visited the city of Casablanca.

Ingrid Bergman's line "Victor Laszlo is my husband, and was, even when I knew you in Paris" was almost cut from the film because during that time it was deemed inappropriate for a film to depict or suggest a woman romancing with another man if she were already married. However, it was pointed out that later in the film she explains that she had thought Laszlo was dead at the time, and the censors allowed the line to stay in.

"Here's looking at you, kid" was improvised by Humphrey Bogart in the Parisian scenes and worked so well that it was used later on again in the film. He originally used the same line in Midnight (1934). It is also rumored that during breaks, Ingrid Bergman would play poker with other cast members. Since she was still learning English, Bogart would occasionally watch the game, and he added "Here's looking at you" to her poker repertoire.

Rick never says "Play it again, Sam." He says: "You played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can take it, I can take it so Play it!". Ilsa says "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By"'. The incorrect line has become the basis for spoofs in movies such as A Night in Casablanca (1946) and Play It Again, Sam (1972).

During the shoot, Humphrey Bogart was called to the studio to stand in the middle of the Rick's Cafe set and nod. He had no idea what the nod meant in the story - that he was giving his O.K. for the band in the cafe to play the "Marseillaise."

Humphrey Bogart's wife Mayo Methot continually accused him of having an affair with Ingrid Bergman, often confronting him in his dressing room before a shot. Bogart would come onto the set in a rage. In fact, despite the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Bogart and Bergman, they hardly spoke, and the only time they bonded was when the two had lunch with Geraldine Fitzgerald. According to Fitzgerald, "the whole subject at lunch was how they could get out of that movie. They thought the dialogue was ridiculous and the situations were unbelievable... I knew Bogart very well, and I think he wanted to join forces with Bergman, to make sure they both said the same things." For whatever reasons, Bogart and Bergman rarely spoke after that.

Some years ago in a shop dealing with historic documents, a photo still from Casablanca (1942) was found, showing Rick sitting at the chess board. Accompanying the photo was a letter from Humphrey Bogart to a friend in New York, indicating a specific chess move. The document dealer explained that the chess game in the movie was a real game Bogart was playing by mail with his friend during the course of filming.

It is never revealed why Rick cannot return to America. Julius J. Epstein later said that "My brother (Philip G. Epstein) and I tried very hard to come up with a reason why Rick couldn't return to America. But nothing seemed right. We finally decided not to give a reason at all."

Conrad Veidt, who played Maj. Strasser, was well known in the theatrical community in Germany for his hatred of the Nazis, and his friendship with Jews (including his Jewish wife), and in fact was forced to hurriedly escape the country when he found out that the SS had sent a death squad after him because of his anti-Nazi activities. Veidt had it in his contract that he only played villains because he was convinced that playing suave Nazi baddies would help the war effort.

In the famous scene where the "Marseillaise" is sung over the German song "Watch on the Rhine", many of the extras had real tears in their eyes; a large number of them were actual refugees from Nazi persecution in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotions the scene brought out.

Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany.