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As Time Goes By...

As Time Goes by, Casablanca continues to be loved by millions of moviegoers. As the turn of the century approaches, Cyberblanca attempts to preserve the importance and impact of Casablanca for the next generation.

Special Thanks to Mark Rowan for all his information and input.

Most of the following information comes from the book Casablanca: As Time Goes By by Frank Miller.
 
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MOVIE NOTES

Casablanca, considered by many professional and non-professional movie critics to be the best movie ever made, was released in 1942, although its general release did not happen until January 1943. (See Timeline) It stars Humphrey Bogart as American Rick Blaine. Ingrid Bergman stars as Bogarts lost love and wife to freedom fighter Victor Laszlo, played by Paul Henreid. The movie itself boasts an all star cast, including Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Dooley Wilson.

The movie itself is based on an unpublished play bought from playwrite Murray Burnett entitled Everybody Comes to Rick's. Producer Hal Wallis immediately changed the name to Casablanca.

The studio system that produced Casablanca was very different than the studio system we know today. For openers, actors were usually the "property" of a particular studio. For instance, Humphrey Bogart was under contract with Warner Bros. This means that all the movies he starred in were produced by Warner Bros. In many instances, studios would borrow actors from other studios. This was the case with Ingrid Bergman. She was under contract with MGM, and they loaned her to Warner Bros. for $25,000, and in return Warner Bros. loaned MGM Olivia de Havilland for the same price. Studios at that time would also produce hundreds of movies a year. Casablanca was just one out a hundred and luckily for Warner Bros. it turned out to be one in a million.

For those who have not had the pleasure of seeing Casablanca, let me first say that it must be viewed in black and white. Turner has done a fantastic job using modern technology to colorize many of the classics, but in my opinion it does not compare to the original. It's a personal choice, much like letterboxing (which I also prefer) both of which reproduce the movie the way it was originally intended to be seen. Next thing you know, Turner will want to colorize Raging Bull.

Here is some interesting trivia on the movie:

Ronald Reagan was originally slated to play Humphrey Bogart's character, Rick Blaine. George Raft was Warner Bros. second choice.

In one rewrite of the script, Laszlo is killed at the airport, leaving Ilsa free to marry Rick. A typical Hollywood Happy Ending.

Dooley Wilson's part of Sam was almost Ella Fitzgerald's part as Molly. Ella was never approached to play the part.

The final script for the movie was not completed until after shooting had begun. Ingrid Bergman has commented that throughout the movie, she truly did not know who she would end up with, Laszlo or Rick.

The classic line "Louis, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship" was added after shooting was completed. Hal Wallis called Bogart back into a sound studio to dub the famous line.

The line "Play it again, Sam" never appears in the movie. In 1972, Woody Allen made a movie by this title... perhaps making it famous.

In the original play, Everybody Comes to Rick's, the character we know as Ilsa Lund was an American called Lois Meredith.

Warner Bros. paid $20,000 for Everbody Comes to Rick's which (reportadly) was the highest fee ever paid for an unproduced play.

In 1982, writer Chuck Ross wrote an article for "American Film." For the article, he retyped the screenplay to Casablanca and gave it the name Everybody Comes to Rick's. He submitted it to 217 agencies. 85 of them read it. Of that 85, only 33 recognized it, 8 recognized it as Casablanca, 3 thought it was sellable, one suggested to turn it into a novel, and 38 rejected it completely.

Info on the Stars


Humphrey Bogart

Bogie made 75 feature films, although many of them were "lousy" (As Bogart himself said, "I made more lousy pictures than any actor in history"). Of the 75, here is a list of my favorites:

Bogie was born in 1899 in New York City. He served in the Navy during WWI aboard the USS Leviathan. He worked for a short while on Broadway, but left for the big screen. His first role was in a movie called Broadway's Like That in 1930. He was married three times before meeting the 19 year old Lauren (Betty) Bacall on the set of To Have and Have Not. They married and had two children, Leslie, their youngest, and Stephen (named so because one of Lauren's lines to Bogart in To Have and Have Not was "You do know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? Just put your lips together and blow." Bogart's character was named Harry). Bogart died of cancer in 1957. Three years later, on February 9, 1960, he was honored with a star on Hollywood Boulevard.

Bogie also has a slab in front of what is now Mann's Chinese Theater, in which he wrote, in classic gangster style, "Sid, may you never die till I kill you." The Sid refers to Sid Grauman, who owned the theater at the time.

Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm in 1915. She attended the Royal Dramatic School in Sweden in 1933. She left the following year after receiving a studio contract from the Svensk Filmindustri, becoming only the second student to leave the school's highly esteemed training program. Greta Garbo was the first. In 1936, for her sixth film, Bergman starred in Intermezzo. When the film got to the U.S. almost a year later, producer David O. Selznick quickly approached Bergman to star in an American remake of the same movie. At the time, Bergman was eight months pregnant, and insisted that she would not work outside of Sweden until 1940 at the earliest. In May, 1939, Bergman stepped into a Hollywood sound stage and took America by storm. The remake Intermezzo: A Love Story merely faired well in the theaters, but Bergman was immediately loved by the critics. In the meantime, Bergman had returned to Sweden, and the beginning of a European war threatened the possibility of her ever returning to America. Selznick could not afford to give up such talent, so he offered to pay Bergman's living expenses in America if she would leave Sweden immediately. She and her husband, Petter Lindstrom, left for America on January 2, 1940. For the next couple of years, Bergman was handed small, less-than-great roles to keep her busy and in America. The Epsteins, who had been working on Casablanca rewrites, were sent to meet with Selznick to pitch their story in attempt to get Bergman for the role of Ilsa and the rest is history.

Paul Henreid


Paul Henreid plays resistance leader Victor Laszlo. He was born Paul George Julius von Henreid, in Austria-Hungary in 1908. Like the character of Laszlo, Henreid was a refugee from the Third Reich and an opponent of Naziism. In 1933, he entered Max Reinhardt's acting school. From there, he continued his acting career in England, playing Prince Albert in Victoria the Great. The war made it dangerous to return home, and U.K.'s process of rounding up German, Austrian and Italian citizens for deportation made it dangerous to stay in England. However, due to his friends in the British theater including Conrad Veidt influence in the government, the English government reclassified him, allowing him to remain in England albeit under constant surveillance. After appearing in two other films, including Sir Carl Reed's Night Train which is considered one of the greatest espionage thrillers ever, Henreid was offered a role on Broadway, reprising his role in The Jersey Lilly. This gave him the opportunity to come to America and free himself from the fear of being deported. Hal B. Wallis had just been given a new contract at Warner Bros. and had begun production of Olive Higgins Prouty's best seller Now, Voyager. Wallis was looking for an actor strong enough to play opposite Bette Davis, and Henreid's performance in Joan of Paris convinced Wallis that Henreid was that actor. The role of Victor Laszlo was then offered to Henreid, but in his eyes, a supporting role in a minor suspense story was a step backward for his career. Again, the war in Europe intervined, and as America entered the war, they began to round up Japenese, German, and Austrian refugees for concentration camps. Henreid had to find a studio strong enough to keep him in America and out of the camps. His agents approached Warner Bros. and a contract was signed. With Henreid now under contract at Warners, Wallis again approached him for the role in Casablanca. A month before shooting began, Wallis and Henreid reached an agreement; Henreid would take the role for third billing above the title, and Wallis would build up the part of Victor Laszlo.

Claude Rains


In a very uncharacteristic move by the producers of Casablanca, Claude Rains was the ONLY actor considered to play Renault. Rains began acting in 1900 at the age of eleven. His debut in Hollywood films came unnoticed in the title role of Universal's The Invisible Man. He frequently appeared in Wallis productions, and when Wallis negotiated a contract for independent pictures, he cast Rains in his first two productions. The first was Now, Voyager and the second was Casablanca.


Conrad Veidt


Veidt plays Major Strasser, the representative of the Third Reich sent to stop Victor Laszlo from reaching America. Ironically, the hated Nazi villian of Casablanca is played by one of Hollywood's strongest enemies of the Nazi movement. He was born in Germany, making his stage debut in 1913. Upon coming to America and signing a contract with MGM, Veidt insisted that a clause be written into his contract stating that he would only play villians. According to Veidt, the best way he could do his part in fighting the Nazis in Germany was by portraying them unsympathetically in Hollywood. Many film students may recognize Veidt as the Cesare the somnambulist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the German Expressionist horror film by Robert Weine.


Sydney Greenstreet


Greenstreet's screen debut came when he was 61. His work with Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon endeared him to critics, and won him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. That role also brought him a contract with Warner Bros. where he became the second highest character actor demanded by producers. The first was Claude Rains. Casablanca was the third time Bogart and Greenstreet had worked together, the first being The Maltese Falcon and the second being Across the Pacific. Weighing in at 280 pounds (an average throughout his career), he is credited with bringing down the stage when, in an outdoor production of As You Like It, the stage collapsed beneath him, to which he commented after the lauging had subsided "True it is, we have seen better days." The play had to be stopped when he proclaimed above the roaring laughter, "Sit you down in gentleness." Greenstreet's role as Senor Ferrari brings a realm of intrigue if not personal gain to the theme of Casablanca.


Peter Lorre


The final piece in this gigantic cast is former psychiatrist Peter Lorre. He was born in Rosenberg, Hungary in 1904 and turned to the stage after his patients bored him away from psychiatry. With this background, Lorre developed the psychodrama based on his patients' acting out of their problems. This project failed, but a job was awaiting him in Poland. Form there he went to Austria, Switzerland and Germany. He starred in the fictionalized version of a crutal serial-killer which was entitled M. He then worked with Alfred Hitchcock in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Lorre finally settled down in America and came to work with Warner Bros. John Huston used him in The Malteses Falcon as Joel Cairo alongside Sydney Greenstreet and Bogie. The chemistry between the three was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Dooley Wilson


Who could forget perhaps the most famous line in all of Casablanca. "Play it agiain, Sam." Well, the line may have never appeared in the movie, but Dooley Wilson would have been there to play it if it had. Arthur "Dooley" Wilson was the only key member of the movie who had actually been to Casablanca. He had faced the constraints of America's ethnic prejudices, and formed a band to tour Europe called the Red Devils. They were a tremendous hit throughout Europe, and in Casablanca they performed at an event honoring WWI hero T.E. Lawrnece. Wilson returned to America and attempted to survive as an actor. Eventually, he got a contract with Paramount for what he called "pullman-porter" roles. Disgusted, Wilson was on the verge of leaving Hollywood when Hal Wallis began the auditions for the role of Sam. Wilson tested for the part, as did another black actor, Clarence Muse. Wallis decided to go with Muse, because Wilson could not play the piano, but two days after this decision, it was announced that Wilson would play the part. Warner's agreed to pay Paramount, who held Wilson's contract, $500 for the seven week shoot. Wilson only got $150 of that money.

Bogie also has a slab in front of what is now Mann's Chinese Theater, in which he wrote, in classic gangster style, "Sid, may you never die till I kill you." The Sid refers to Sid Grauman, who owned the theater at the time.

Ingrid Bergman

Ingrid Bergman was born in Stockholm in 1915. She attended the Royal Dramatic School in Sweden in 1933. She left the following year after receiving a studio contract from the Svensk Filmindustri, becoming only the second student to leave the school's highly esteemed training program. Greta Garbo was the first. In 1936, for her sixth film, Bergman starred in Intermezzo. When the film got to the U.S. almost a year later, producer David O. Selznick quickly approached Bergman to star in an American remake of the same movie. At the time, Bergman was eight months pregnant, and insisted that she would not work outside of Sweden until 1940 at the earliest. In May, 1939, Bergman stepped into a Hollywood sound stage and took America by storm. The remake Intermezzo: A Love Story merely faired well in the theaters, but Bergman was immediately loved by the critics. In the meantime, Bergman had returned to Sweden, and the beginning of a European war threatened the possibility of her ever returning to America. Selznick could not afford to give up such talent, so he offered to pay Bergman's living expenses in America if she would leave Sweden immediately. She and her husband, Petter Lindstrom, left for America on January 2, 1940. For the next couple of years, Bergman was handed small, less-than-great roles to keep her busy and in America. The Epsteins, who had been working on Casablanca rewrites, were sent to meet with Selznick to pitch their story in attempt to get Bergman for the role of Ilsa and the rest is history.

Paul Henreid


Paul Henreid plays resistance leader Victor Laszlo. He was born Paul George Julius von Henreid, in Austria-Hungary in 1908. Like the character of Laszlo, Henreid was a refugee from the Third Reich and an opponent of Naziism. In 1933, he entered Max Reinhardt's acting school. From there, he continued his acting career in England, playing Prince Albert in Victoria the Great. The war made it dangerous to return home, and U.K.'s process of rounding up German, Austrian and Italian citizens for deportation made it dangerous to stay in England. However, due to his friends in the British theater including Conrad Veidt influence in the government, the English government reclassified him, allowing him to remain in England albeit under constant surveillance. After appearing in two other films, including Sir Carl Reed's Night Train which is considered one of the greatest espionage thrillers ever, Henreid was offered a role on Broadway, reprising his role in The Jersey Lilly. This gave him the opportunity to come to America and free himself from the fear of being deported. Hal B. Wallis had just been given a new contract at Warner Bros. and had begun production of Olive Higgins Prouty's best seller Now, Voyager. Wallis was looking for an actor strong enough to play opposite Bette Davis, and Henreid's performance in Joan of Paris convinced Wallis that Henreid was that actor. The role of Victor Laszlo was then offered to Henreid, but in his eyes, a supporting role in a minor suspense story was a step backward for his career. Again, the war in Europe intervined, and as America entered the war, they began to round up Japenese, German, and Austrian refugees for concentration camps. Henreid had to find a studio strong enough to keep him in America and out of the camps. His agents approached Warner Bros. and a contract was signed. With Henreid now under contract at Warners, Wallis again approached him for the role in Casablanca. A month before shooting began, Wallis and Henreid reached an agreement; Henreid would take the role for third billing above the title, and Wallis would build up the part of Victor Laszlo.


Claude Rains


In a very uncharacteristic move by the producers of Casablanca, Claude Rains was the ONLY actor considered to play Renault. Rains began acting in 1900 at the age of eleven. His debut in Hollywood films came unnoticed in the title role of Universal's The Invisible Man. He frequently appeared in Wallis productions, and when Wallis negotiated a contract for independent pictures, he cast Rains in his first two productions. The first was Now, Voyager and the second was Casablanca.

Conrad Veidt


Veidt plays Major Strasser, the representative of the Third Reich sent to stop Victor Laszlo from reaching America. Ironically, the hated Nazi villian of Casablanca is played by one of Hollywood's strongest enemies of the Nazi movement. He was born in Germany, making his stage debut in 1913. Upon coming to America and signing a contract with MGM, Veidt insisted that a clause be written into his contract stating that he would only play villians. According to Veidt, the best way he could do his part in fighting the Nazis in Germany was by portraying them unsympathetically in Hollywood. Many film students may recognize Veidt as the Cesare the somnambulist in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the German Expressionist horror film by Robert Weine.

 
Sydney Greenstreet


Greenstreet's screen debut came when he was 61. His work with Humphrey Bogart in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon endeared him to critics, and won him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. That role also brought him a contract with Warner Bros. where he became the second highest character actor demanded by producers. The first was Claude Rains. Casablanca was the third time Bogart and Greenstreet had worked together, the first being The Maltese Falcon and the second being Across the Pacific. Weighing in at 280 pounds (an average throughout his career), he is credited with bringing down the stage when, in an outdoor production of As You Like It, the stage collapsed beneath him, to which he commented after the lauging had subsided "True it is, we have seen better days." The play had to be stopped when he proclaimed above the roaring laughter, "Sit you down in gentleness." Greenstreet's role as Senor Ferrari brings a realm of intrigue if not personal gain to the theme of Casablanca.

 
Peter Lorre


The final piece in this gigantic cast is former psychiatrist Peter Lorre. He was born in Rosenberg, Hungary in 1904 and turned to the stage after his patients bored him away from psychiatry. With this background, Lorre developed the psychodrama based on his patients' acting out of their problems. This project failed, but a job was awaiting him in Poland. Form there he went to Austria, Switzerland and Germany. He starred in the fictionalized version of a crutal serial-killer which was entitled M. He then worked with Alfred Hitchcock in The Man Who Knew Too Much. Lorre finally settled down in America and came to work with Warner Bros. John Huston used him in The Malteses Falcon as Joel Cairo alongside Sydney Greenstreet and Bogie. The chemistry between the three was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


Dooley Wilson


Who could forget perhaps the most famous line in all of Casablanca. "Play it agiain, Sam." Well, the line may have never appeared in the movie, but Dooley Wilson would have been there to play it if it had. Arthur "Dooley" Wilson was the only key member of the movie who had actually been to Casablanca. He had faced the constraints of America's ethnic prejudices, and formed a band to tour Europe called the Red Devils. They were a tremendous hit throughout Europe, and in Casablanca they performed at an event honoring WWI hero T.E. Lawrnece. Wilson returned to America and attempted to survive as an actor. Eventually, he got a contract with Paramount for what he called "pullman-porter" roles. Disgusted, Wilson was on the verge of leaving Hollywood when Hal Wallis began the auditions for the role of Sam. Wilson tested for the part, as did another black actor, Clarence Muse. Wallis decided to go with Muse, because Wilson could not play the piano, but two days after this decision, it was announced that Wilson would play the part. Warner's agreed to pay Paramount, who held Wilson's contract, $500 for the seven week shoot. Wilson only got $150 of that money.

Take a look at the lyrics to "As time goes by".

Timeline

1940-- Play-write Murray Burnett collaborates with Joan Allison to write a play entitled Everybody Comes to Rick's. The play is never published.

December 8, 1941-- Everybody Comes to Rick's arrives at the Warner Bros. Story Department.

December 31, 1941-- Hal Wallis, a producer at Warner Bros., officially changes the title to Casablanca.

January 5, 1942-- In a press release given to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. announces the stars of the upcoming movie to be called Casablanca. Ronald Reagan is slated to play Rick, Ann Sheridan as Ilsa, and Dennis Morgan as Victor Laszlo.

January 12, 1942-- Burnett and Allison sign a contract with Warner Bros. for the rights to Everybody Comes to Rick's.

January - March, 1942-- Screentests for the leading roles take place.

April 20, 1942-- Dooley Wilson tests for the role of Sam.

April 24, 1942-- Warner Bros. makes a deal to borrow Ingrid Bergman from MGM.

May 1, 1942-- Paul Henreid agrees to play the role of Victor Laszlo in return for third billing above the title.

May 3, 1942-- An announcement is made that Dooley Wilson will play the role of Sam.

May 13, 1942-- Production No. 410 is assigned to Casablanca.

May 22, 1942-- Conrad Veidt signs on to play Major Strasser.

May 25, 1942-- Shooting begins with the Paris flashback sequence.

May 26, 1942-- Claude Rains signs on to play Capt. Renault and Peter Lorre signs on to play Ugarte.

May 28, 1942-- Shooting moves to Soundstage 8 which contains the set of Rick's Cafe.

June 15, 1942-- S.Z. Sakall signs on to play headwaiter Carl.

June 25, 1942-- Paul Henreid reports to the set of Casablanca after finishing Now Voyager.

Jully 11, 1942-- Max Steiner is assigned to write the score.

August 1, 1942-- Humphrey Bogart completes shooting his scenes.

August 3, 1942-- Last official day of shooting.

August 21, 1942-- Bogart is called back to add the final line, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

September 22, 1942-- Casablanca is previewed in Huntington Park and Pasadena, California.

November 8, 1942-- Allied forces land in North Africa.

November 26, 1942-- Casablanca premieres at the Hollywood Theatre in New York.

January 23, 1943-- Casablanca opens in Los Angeles and in general release throughout the country.

April 26, 1943-- Bogart, Bergman and Henreid perform a radio adaptation of the movie on CBS radio.

March 3, 1944-- The Academy Awards are held. Casablanca leaves with Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

September 27, 1955-- A television series based on the movie premieres. It runs for one season.

November 1977-- Casablanca ranks third as the greatest American films of all time in an American Film Institute poll. Gone With the Wind is first, Citizen Kane second.

1983-- Casablanca is named by the British Film Institute as the best film ever.

April 1983-- The second series based on the movie appears on NBC. It runs three weeks.

November 1987-- An unauthorized version of Casablanca is shown at the Rio Film Festival. It ends with Ilsa staying with Rick in Casablanca.

November 1988-- Turner's colorized version of Casablanca appears on his TBS Superstation.

September 1989-- The National Film Registry names its first twenty-five movies, Casablanca is among them.

1992-- Turner releases the 50th anniversary edition of Casablanca. It is in Black and White.

August 1995-- Casablanca is brought to life on the Internet, by way of Cyberblanca.

June 1998-- The American Film Institute announces its "100 Greatest American Films", Casablanca is second, beat only by Orsen Wells' Citizen Kane.

Ugarte: Heh, you know, watching you just now with the Deutsche Bank, one would think you've been doing this all your life.
Rick: Oh, what makes you think I haven't?
Ugarte: Oh, n-n-n-nothing, but when you first came to Casablanca, I thought...
Rick: You thought what?
Ugarte: Hm, what right do I have to think, huh?