Way Back These Facts About Casablanca Will Make You Want To Play It Again Published 6 months ago on Aug 20, 2018 By Michael Berdy There’s simply no way to discuss the history of modern cinema and its triumphs without focusing on Casablanca. At nearly eighty years old, this World War II classic made us laugh, sob inconsolably, and sprinkled its memorable one-liners into our everyday vocabulary. As Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund, screen legends Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman became practically immortal. But behind the scenes of filming was a complicated bunch of characters and their stories. Read on to find out about the incredible ensemble of people who came together to create this masterpiece, their unique quirks and hardships. You’ll never play it again the same way. 1. Broken Telephone Among the famous quotes spawned by Casablanca is one that’s been repeated again and again, in comedies and homages, as well as everyday life, ever since the film’s release. The problem is, ninety-nine percent of people saying “Play it again, Sam” don’t realize they’re saying it wrong! movieplayer.it It’s possibly the most misquoted line in film history. The closest anyone ever comes to saying this is when Ilsa tells Sam the piano player: “Play it, Sam”. That didn’t stop Woody Allen from making a film titled by the incorrect version. 2. Of All The Gin Joints It’s the plot twist that still tortures us. Why couldn’t Ilsa leave Victor Laszlo for Rick? Sure, he’s a Czech Resistance fighter with a history of bravado, but she clearly knows who her heart desires. So why can’t she just give us that catharsis? Turns out, there’s an important reason. Culturalist The strict prohibitions of the Hays Code in Hollywood monitored everything, from plot to language to dress. There was one rule Casablanca‘s plot just couldn’t break: it was forbidden to show a woman on screen leaving her husband for another man! So Ilsa was doomed to fly away. 3. Could You Repeat That? It wasn’t just the cast that was filled with a cacophony of accents from all over Europe. Casablanca‘s director, Michael Curtiz, was already forty years old when he came to America from Hungary, and he had quite the accent to go with it. This caused a few kerfuffles. MyBurbank.com/The Lucas Family There was great confusion on set when Curtiz wanted a “poodle” in one scene. One of the prop men scoured the area to find the proper dog breed. When he returned with one, Curtiz was furious at having held up production, and reportedly screamed at him: “A poodle! A poodle of water!” 4. Rick Is Ronnie? One of the best-known rumors surrounding Casablanca is the casting agent’s original choice to play Rick Blaine: none other than up-and-coming screen actor (and future US president) Ronald Reagan. The problem is, it’s not true — and studio executives were to blame. IMDb A publicity release from Warner Bros. Studios about their future film project Casablanca stated quite plainly that Reagan was intended to take the lead. There was just one issue with that: he had already enlisted in the military and was unavailable for filming. 5. Sleight Of Camera For the legendary final scene of Casablanca on the airport tarmac as Ilsa and Laszlo dash to make their escape from the Nazis, a few secrets are concealed in the moment’s magic. For starters, because of wartime security restrictions, it was forbidden to film at an airport after dark. thefilmspectrum.com To this day, it’s unclear whether any filming actually took place at Van Nuys Airport, or if it was all on a sound stage. But that plane in the fog in the background is made from cardboard, with dwarf actors around it to make it look bigger! We’re only getting started. Keep reading to find out more incredible facts that Casablanca such a classic. 6. The Tears Are Real One of the most memorable moments in Casablanca is when Victor Laszlo leads the bar’s patrons in drowning out the Nazis’ singing by belting out the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. Considering France was still occupied by the Nazis and their collaborators at the time, it was deeply meaningful. netnews.com.mt Some of the singers had even survived concentration camps. But the actress who is clearly most enthusiastic and defiant in her singing is Madeleine Lebeau, who plays Yvonne. Like Rick and Ilsa, she and her Jewish husband, who also appears in Casablanca, had escaped Paris when the Germans invaded. 7. If It Ain’t Broke Despite the recent trend in Hollywood to produce high-budget CGI-infected remakes of old films, there’s one they wouldn’t dare touch: Casablanca. To alter this most classic of classic films would be sacrilege. The thing is, the idea has been brashly raised in the past — more than once. Firstpost In 1973, a Warner Bros. executive approached French New Wave director François Truffaut asking if he’d be keen on remaking Casablanca. He declined, wondering how in the world he’d find actors to outshine Bogart and Bergman. But that didn’t stop Madonna from wanting to remake it — with Ashton Kutcher! 8. Ad-Lib Genius It’s the most quoted film ever. So many famous lines were generated from Casablanca and entered the fundamentals of modern language that it’s hard to keep track of them all. But one phrase that returns again and again throughout the film actually didn’t appear in the original screenplay. Golden Days It’s unbelievably sweet and poignant when Rick says to Ilsa: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” But this phrase had existed in pop culture long before Casablanca. As the story goes, the director heard Bogie say it to Ingrid Bergman while teaching her poker in between takes. 9. Professional Disagreements Admit it: even if Victor Laszlo is a Czech Resistance leader, he rubs you the wrong way — probably because he’s standing in the way of Rick and Ilsa. But you wouldn’t be alone in feeling that. The actor playing him, Paul Henreid, had mixed feelings about the character. Ultimate Movie Rankings Henreid had experience for the part. He’d escaped German-occupied Austria, and was officially on the Nazis’ hit-list. He disapproved of how Laszlo had been written, declaring a rebel hero would never saunter around in an aristocratic white suit. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t get along with his fellow actors. Ingrid Bergman called him a primadonna! 10. The Song Remains The Same It’s timeless and haunting and has withstood the test of time. So why on Earth did the song “As Time Goes By” nearly get chopped from Casablanca? The film’s composer, Austrian-born Max Steiner, didn’t like it, and wanted to switch it out with something he’d written. He faced stiff opposition. CNN.com Though Steiner had composed scores for King Kong and Gone With The Wind, this time his professional opinion went ignored. Studio executives found the perfect excuse to tell him off: Ingrid Bergman had cut her hair short for her next flick, so they couldn’t re-shoot her scenes with the song! Did you know that one? You certainly won’t have known these next facts about Casablanca coming up! 11. Mind Your Tongue, Bogie Following the introduction of the Hays Code in Hollywood several years before Casablanca, the ‘anything goes’ attitude of cinema came to a halt. Everything had to be carefully monitored, and that meant cleaning up content. Despite its heavy content, the script for Casablanca had to be squeaky clean. picmog.com There had been a storm three years before when Clark Gable had said “damn” as Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind, so even saying “Hell” was a big deal! Writers had to beg and plead just to have the characters say it a few times. 12. Here’s Looking — Where Exactly? “We’ll always have Paris.” That flashback scene was one of the first to be shot, and it was terribly confusing for actors Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The writers hadn’t finished the script, so no one had any idea who was meant to be in love with whom. tennimuhou.com There was an even bigger problem: the director himself didn’t even know how to answer! He expertly covered his act and told Ingrid Bergman: “Play it in between”. It was a puzzling command; she wasn’t sure if she was meant to fall for Rick or Laszlo. 13. One-Hit Wonders The pairing of Humphrey Bogart with Ingrid Bergman as Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund in Casablanca is easily the most classic onscreen romantic duo of all time. That unrequited passion has haunted movie lovers for decades upon decades. So it would make sense for them to pair up again, right? Stylist Unfortunately, that’s just not how things played out. It would have certainly spelled box-office gold to put Bogart and Bergman in a film together after Casablanca, but it never happened. Casablanca is the only time these two Hollywood legends ever shared the screen. 14. Piano Man Sam the piano player really tied together that bar with its hodgepodge of characters. In fact, Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald were in the consideration to play the part, until Dooley Wilson was chosen. But even then, there was a problem — he was a drummer by trade, not a pianist! The Bogie Film Blog Because Wilson didn’t know how to play piano, a professional pianist had to record from behind a curtain. Wilson watched his hand movements and did his own impression of them. Fooled us well enough — Sam’s piano sold at auction in 2012 for $600,000. 15. Be The Bigger Man Swedish ladies often have a reputation for being statuesque. And in the case of Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart, this did not work to the actors’ advantage. For this sweet pairing, it just so happened that Bergman was about two inches taller than Bogart! Twita They had already signed on the actors when the problem was discovered, so how could they get around this ‘problem’? By improvising with props: when the two were seated together, Bogart sat on cushions. When they were standing, he had to wear platform shoes beside her! 16. Role Reversal Filmed and released at the height of World War II, Casablanca was yet another opportunity for audiences to rally around despising one clear enemy: the Nazis. But who would play such icons of evil? You’ll be surprised to discover that many of the actors were German Jewish refugees. abc.es But there were far more cast members who had fled persecution. Playing the waiter, Carl, was actor S.Z. Sakall, who had escaped Nazi Germany and then his native Hungary. Even criminals, like the swindler Ugarte and the pickpocket, were played by Jewish actors who had fled the Nazis. 17. Plot Puzzle The world-weary owner of Café Américain, Rick Blaine, had left war-torn Europe and opened his business in Morocco. At various points throughout the film, different characters allude to the fact that Rick couldn’t go back home to America. So what’s the reason for that? PinMash Oddly enough, the film never actually explains why Rick won’t be able to return to the US. The writers, the Epstein Brothers, couldn’t agree on a reason that would be fitting — so they decidedly to drop it, and just left it out of the script entirely. 18. Perfect Timing Just before Casablanca was released, the course of history changed, and Hollywood raced to keep up. After American troops successfully invaded Casablanca and captured it on November 8th, 1942, studio execs went nuts. They even considered adding a scene where Rick and Captain Renault hear about the news. New York Post They bumped up Casablanca‘s premiere to celebrate this great turn of events, and it opened at the Hollywood Theater in New York City just over two weeks later. Wide release in January 1943 also had an awesome historical coincidence: Churchill and Roosevelt were meeting exactly then, in Casablanca! 19. Fact Check Sticklers for details, get ready, because this next one is a doozy. There are two major logistical errors in Casablanca. One of the writers of the play the film was based on, Joan Alison, figured audiences would challenge them, but they never did. Pinterest The documents allowing refugees in transit the opportunity to go abroad to freedom never existed. What’s more, they were signed by the leader of the Free French — and his Vichy French enemies would never have accepted that! On top of that, there were never any uniformed German soldiers in Casablanca. Oops? 20. Recycled Art One of the main posters for Casablanca, plastered across dorm room walls and the hallowed halls of classic film art collectors worldwide, is actually a fraud. It features Humphrey Bogart posed across the center with a pistol. What’s wrong with it? cineweekly.com The image in question didn’t come from Casablanca in the first place. That shot of Bogie was actually taken from another one of his films, Across the Pacific, which had been released earlier the same year. It was another World War II film, but set against the Japanese. Continue reading and learn even more juicy behind the scenes tidbits about Casablanca. 21. Secret Hero Major Strasser, the chief villain of Casablanca, was played by his character’s total opposite. Conrad Veidt had been a vocal opponent of Nazism in his home, Germany. Soon after the rise of the regime, Veidt had to escape for his life, taking his Jewish wife with him. A Screen Odyssey He changed his harrowing experience into a clever way of standing up for his beliefs. Veidt had a clause written into his contract: if he was going to play Nazis onscreen, they had to be exclusively villains. As the sneering Strasser, he was the highest-paid actor on set. 22. In Living Color One of the appealing aspects of Casablanca is its rich black and white tones, punctuated by use of shadows. After all, the cinematographer for the film had previously worked on…Frankenstein! And if remaking Casablanca would be a terrible sin, just imagine the uproar if anyone dared colorize it. GamesRadar Television mogul Ted Turner incurred the wrath of millions of fans in the 1980s when he had Casablanca remade in color. Film critic Roger Ebert compared it to vandalism. Humphrey Bogart’s son Stephen had some choice words for Turner, telling him: “Why not put arms on the Venus de Milo?” 23. Stiff-Lipped When you think of unforgettable screen couples, Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund are bound to make any list. The smoldering longing of their relationship has made fans dream for generations. But for someone who seems practically born for his role, playing Rick was unlike anything Humphrey Bogart had done. Culture Trip With his signature lisp caused by a lip wound, and his brooding demeanor, Humphrey Bogart was the king of film noir, and was perfect for dramatic roles like a swashbuckler or a gangster. The forlorn Rick Blaine was Bogie’s first time onscreen as a romantic lead. 24. Now, See Here Casablanca may have its clear leads, but its cast is a wonderfully exciting jumble of diverse, slimy, and vibrant characters. And for one trio of actors from among the cast, participating in Casablanca was an opportunity to work together again. Who were they? Silver Screen Classics Behind the scenes, the gentlemen playing the shady characters of Signor Ugarte and Signor Ferrari had a unique relationship with Humphrey Bogart. He, along with actors Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet, had all been together in another classic of their era just one year before: The Maltese Falcon. 25. Citizens Of The World Ask any film critic or even an amateur film buff the world over which films are among the top American films ever, and almost every single one is bound to mention Casablanca. But for a film that’s considered an absolute triumph of Hollywood, it’s not very American at all! tonsoffacts.com Just three of the cast’s main actors are American: Joy Page the Bulgarian refugee, Dooley Wilson as Sam, and of course Humphrey Bogart. The rest are surprisingly diverse, representing different nations from across Europe, many of whose families were suffering under Nazi occupation at that very moment. For more surprising facts about the classic film Casablanca, read on! 26. Round Up The Usual Suspects It’s inspired cocktails, TV series, Marx Brothers and Bugs Bunny parodies, and shaped our modern lingo and cinematic sensibilities. They’ve even opened a Rick’s Café in Casablanca itself, not to mention many other cities across the globe. But few take Casablanca more seriously than Harvard students. Livemint Since the 1960s, Harvard University students have added a seminal event to their long list of school traditions. They screen Casablanca every spring just before finals week. Seems it’s a respectable way to ground yourself and remember the finer things in life. Stay classy, Cambridge. 27. A Beautiful Friendship? Casablanca was certain to win big at the Oscars, so much that they entered into the running for March 1944 so that it could qualify once again. Excited fans mobbed Humphrey Bogart and his then-wife Mayo Methot at the entrance. But then, something unreal happened during the awards ceremony. iimv.org When Casablanca won Best Picture, producer Hal B. Wallis got up to accept the award. He’d been a central force behind the movie. But studio head Jack Warner beat him to the stage. Warner’s whole family was seated blocking him from getting up, as he watched his award speech be taken from him. Awkward! 28. Casablanca In The Congo Almost immediately after Casablanca was released, studio heads were certain the film would be big enough to warrant firing off a sequel with Humphrey Bogart. It bounced off of what Captain Louis Renault had told Rick, that they should join the Free French in Brazzaville, Congo. futuretravel.today Barely weeks into Casablanca‘s run, newspapers everywhere — even in cities where the film hadn’t yet premiered — were talking about the possible sequel in the Congo. It was reported that Geraldine Fitzgerald would replace Ingrid Bergman, as a Red Cross nurse heroine. Would you have wanted to see it? 29. Table For One As part of his character’s exposition, in an early part of Casablanca we see Rick Blaine playing chess with himself. And just as so many other moments in the classic film had a meaning that was more than what meets the eye, there’s a legend behind this simple act. Pinterest Back then, people found far more creative and intelligent ways to get in touch with one another. As the story goes, Humphrey Bogart was playing a long-distance game of chess with a friend of his — by mail! What we see in the film is a continuation of that same game. 30. Quite The Résumé Here’s a crazy trivia question for the ages that even the most ardent fans of Casablanca likely would never have known. What’s the piece that connects the film to alien science fiction and Clint Eastwood? The secret is in those opening montage shots. Pinterest The film’s opening sequence was directed by a different man, Don Siegel. He would go on to direct not only the infamous B-movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but he would also pair with Clint Eastwood in Two Mules for Sister Sara, Dirty Harry, and Escape from Alcatraz. Enjoyed this article? Make sure to SHARE it with your fellow Casablanca fans! Sources: Indie Wire, Classic Movie Hub, Wikipedia UP NEXT Gunsmoke: Top Facts Behind The Longest-Lived Show on Television... 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