Director: Michael Curtiz
Original Release: 1942
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The story takes place in 1941 Morocco. Rick (Humphrey Bogart), an American ex-pat with a shady past, owns a thriving night club in Casablanca. One evening, an old flame (Bergman) walks into the place: Ilsa, the love of his life who abandoned him in Paris when the Nazis invaded and they were both scrambling to leave the country. Now in Morocco, she and her activist husband are trying to stay one step ahead of the Third Reich. Running into Rick, however, was never part of the plan.
As Bogey puts it,"Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
It's an interesting movie to watch from an historical perspective. The United States had just entered the Second World War by the time Casablanca was released. In fact, the opening was rushed to capitalize on the recent Allied invasion in North Africa. Watching in 2013, we all know how the rest of the war turned out. But the viewing public in 1942 didn't. The prospect of the Nazis occupying London, for instance, would have been a genuine concern.
Casablanca is the source of film's most famous misquotation. The line "Play it again, Sam" never actually occurs. The initial line, delivered by Ilsa, is "Play it, Sam, for old times' sake." The song in question is "As Time Goes By." The song was written in 1931 by Herman Hupfeld for the Broadway musical, Everybody's Welcome. While not yet the American Songbook standard it would become thanks to Casablanca, "As Time Goes By" would already have been familiar to many of the audience in 1942. Dooley Wilson, the actor who played Sam, was a drummer by trade, not a pianist. It's his voice in the film but the piano is dubbed.