All Time Classic-Casablanca (1942 Film)

When listing down the greatest love stories ever created, Casablanca is never ignored. This classic and much-loved romantic drama Casablanca (1942), always comes in top hit list of classic Hollywood movies. The tale is about two men struggling for the same woman’s love in a love triangle. The film is directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund and Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo, and featuring Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and Dooley Wilson. The film was based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison’s play Everybody Comes to Rick’s.

The Warner Bros. story analyst who read the play, Stephen Karnot, called it “sophisticated hokum” and story editor Irene Diamond convinced producer Hal Wallis to buy the rights in January 1942 for $20,000. They renamed the project as “Casablanca”. At first the filming date was selected for April 10, 1942 but delays led to a start of production on May 25 of the same year. Filming was completed on August 3rd, and the production cost $75,000, which was over budgeted. Here is the outline of the story. During World War II, Europeans who are fleeing from the Germans, seek refuge in America. But to reach America, they would first have to go Casablanca and once they get there, they have to obtain exit visas which are the hardest thing to do. Apperantly the hottest spot in all of Casablanca is Rick’s Cafe which is operated by Rick Blaine, an American immigrant, who for some reason can’t return there, and he is also extremely cynical.

It seems that two German couriers were killed and the documents they were carrying are taken away. One of Rick’s regulars, Ugarte hand over him some letters of transit, which he intends to sell but before he does he gets accused for killing the couriers and is busted. Captain Renault, the Chief of Police, who is neutral in his political views, informs Rick that Victor Laszlo, the European Resistance leader, is in Casablanca and will do anything to get an exit visa but Renault has been “told” by Major Strasser of the Gestapo, to keep Laszlo in Casablanca. Laszlo goes to Rick’s to meet Ugarte, because he was the one Ugarte was going to sell the letters to. But since Ugarte was arrested he has to find another way. Accompanying him is Ilsa Lund, who knew Rick when he was in Paris, and when they meet some of Rick’s old wounds reopen. And story twists beautifully from here onwards. Because of it release in November 1942, the New York Film Critics decided to include the film in its 1942 award season for best picture. Casablanca was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and won three. Warner Bros. producer(Hall B. Wallis) was nominated for Casablanca and won the Outstanding Best Motion Picture catagory of 16th Academy awards. Michael Curtiz was awarded the Best Director for Casablanca and Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch were awarded the Best Writing, Screenplay for Casablanca in the same Academy Awards ceremony. Several rumors also hit against the film, one being that Ronald Reagan was originally chosen to play Rick. Another interesting story was that the actors did not know until the last day of shooting how the film was to end. Despite of all the troubles and unpredictable mishaps, Casablanca is a all time “hit” and an evergreen romantic melodrama that if once capture a heart never leaves its place.

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