CASABLANCA (1942)

Casablanca is a classic and one of the most revered films of all time. Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in a love triangle in the city of Casablanca which is a refuge for many fleeing foreigners looking for a new life during the war. Political romance with a backdrop of war conflict between democracy and totalitarianism. A landmark in film history. one of my favorite movie of all time. Studio publicity in 1941 claimed that Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan were scheduled to appear in this film, and Dennis Morgan is mentioned as the third lead. This was never the case, however, and the false story was planted, either by a studio publicist or a press agent for the three other actors, to keep their names in the press. Meanwhile George Raft was angling for the part with Jack L. Warner, but Hal B. Wallis had been assigned to search for what would be Humphrey Bogart’s next starring role. He wrote to Warner that he had found the next movie for Bogart and the role was perfect for him. Nobody else was ever considered for the part. The Allies invaded Casablanca in real life on 8 November 1942. As the film was not due for release until spring, studio executives suggested it be changed to incorporate the invasion. Warner Bros. chief Jack L. Warner objected, as he thought that an invasion was a subject worth a whole film, not just an epilogue, and that the main story of this film demanded a pre-invasion setting. Eventually he gave in, though, and producer Hal B. Wallis prepared to shoot an epilogue where Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains hear about the invasion. However, before Rains could travel to the studio for this, David O. Selznick (whose studio owned Bergman’s contract) previewed the film and urged Warner to release it unaltered and as fast as possible. Warner agreed and the premiered in New York on November 26. It did not play in Los Angeles until its general release the following January, and hence competed against 1943 films for the Oscars. Michèle Morgan asked for $55,000, but Hal B. Wallis refused to pay it when he could get Ingrid Bergman for $25,000. 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, with director Ridley Scott’s son and some of his friends in scaled down spacesuits. Many of the actors who played the Nazis were in fact German Jews who had escaped from Nazi Germany. The movie’s line “Here’s looking at you, kid” was voted as the #5 movie quote by the American Film Institute In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #3 Greatest Movie of All Time. When the Epstein brothers won an Oscar for their script, they became the first (and as for 2007 the only) Academy Award winning twins.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. 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. 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.

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