We’ll Always Have Casablanca

  • From the Publisher
January 17, 2017

Casablan­ca was first released in 1942, just two weeks after the city of Casablan­ca itself sur­ren­dered to Amer­i­can troops led by Gen­er­al Pat­ton. Fea­tur­ing a pitch-per­fect screen­play, a clas­sic sound­track, and unfor­get­table per­for­mances by Humphrey Bog­a­rt, Ingrid Bergman, and a deep sup­port­ing cast, Casablan­ca was hailed in the New York Times as a pic­ture that makes the spine tin­gle and the heart take a leap.” The film won Oscars for best pic­ture, best direc­tor, and best screen­play, and would go on to enjoy more revival screen­ings than any oth­er movie in his­to­ry. It became so firm­ly ensconced in the cul­tur­al imag­i­na­tion that, as Umber­to Eco once said, Casablan­ca is not one movie; it is movies.’ ”

We’ll Always Have Casablan­ca is cel­e­brat­ed film his­to­ri­an Noah Isenberg’s rich account of this most beloved movie’s ori­gins. Through exten­sive research and inter­views with film­mak­ers, film crit­ics, fam­i­ly mem­bers of the cast and crew, and diehard fans, Isen­berg reveals the myths and real­i­ties behind Casablan­cas pro­duc­tion, explor­ing the trans­for­ma­tion of the unpro­duced stage play into the clas­sic screen­play, the con­tro­ver­sial cast­ing deci­sions, the bat­tles with Pro­duc­tion Code cen­sors, and the effect of the war’s progress on the movie’s recep­tion. Isen­berg par­tic­u­lar­ly focus­es on the cen­tral role refugees from Hitler’s Europe played in the pro­duc­tion (near­ly all of the actors and actress­es cast in Casablan­ca were immigrants).

Final­ly, Isen­berg turns to Casablan­cas long after­life and the rea­sons it remains so revered. From the Marx Broth­ers’ 1946 spoof hit, A Night in Casablan­ca, to lov­ing par­o­dies in New York­er car­toons, Sat­ur­day Night Live skits, and Simp­sons episodes, Isen­berg delves into the ways the movie has lodged itself in the Amer­i­can psyche.

Filled with fresh insights into Casablan­cas cre­ation, pro­duc­tion, and lega­cy, We’ll Always Have Casablan­ca is a mag­nif­i­cent account of what made the movie so pop­u­lar and why it con­tin­ues to daz­zle audi­ences sev­en­ty-five years after its release.

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