Casablanca poster featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Unknown – Courtesy of IMDB Media Gallery
CAIRO – 25 November 2017: “Casablanca,” considered one of Hollywood’s greatest films, turns 75 tomorrow, November 26.
Released in 1942, “Casablanca” was directed by Michael Curtiz and filmed during WWII; premiering in New York City just days after joint British-U.S. forces invaded North Africa. The film features Humphrey Bogart and
as its lead characters, establish their illustrious cinematic careers and enduring fame.
Bogart portrays Rick Blaine, owner of a cafe in the city of Casablanca, Morocco during the early days of WWII. Exiled from America, Blaine uses his nightclub as a front to help refugees escape the country. He encounters his old love, Ilsa Lund (Bergman), accompanying her husband, resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) who is being pursued by Nazis. Ilsa asks Rick for help, reminding him of how she abandoned him in Paris, opening up old wounds. An opportunity emerges between the two to rekindle their passionate relationship, but forces greater than they are may prevent that from happening.
The story, based on the unproduced play “Everybody Comes To Rick's” by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, bought by Warner Bros and adapted into “Casablanca.” After its wide release on January 23, 1942, the film went on to win three Oscars; “Best Picture,” “Best Director” and “Best Writing, Screenplay.”
“Casablanca’s” enduring legacy is a perfect storm; from the incredible on-screen chemistry of Bogart and Bergman, the tense situation of a world at war reflected both in the film and while it was being shot, stylish cinematography, timeless use of black-and-white ensuring it would remain forever distinct. In his glowing 1996 review of the movie, acclaimed film critic Roger Ebert, awarding “Casablanca” a full rating and thumbs up remarking that:
“Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over-familiar. It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it. The black-and-white cinematography has not aged as color would. The dialogue is so spare and cynical it has not grown old-fashioned. Much of the emotional effect of “Casablanca” is achieved by indirection; as we leave the theater, we are absolutely convinced that the only thing keeping the world from going crazy is that the problems of three little people do after all amount to more than a hill of beans.”