10 Fascinating Facts About Casablanca

Warner Home Entertainment
Warner Home Entertainment

At no point during Casablanca does any character say, “Play it again, Sam.” Oh, you knew that already? Well then. Here are 10 other facts about Casablanca, which premiered in New York City on November 26, 1942. A roundup of the less usual suspects, you might say.

1. THE ORIGINAL AUTHORS SIGNED AWAY THEIR RIGHTS.

Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, co-writers of Everybody Comes to Rick’s—the unproduced play on which Casablanca was based—made a bit of a gaffe when they signed their contract, signing away all rights to the story and the characters to Warner Bros. for the then-record sum of $20,000. In 1983, the pair filed a suit against Warner Bros., with Burnett arguing that “These characters are a part of me, and I have a great regard for them … I want them back.” The New York Court of Appeals ruled against Burnett and Alison in 1986, but in order to retain their copyright, Warner Bros. later gave the pair $100,000 apiece and the right to produce the original play. Everybody Comes to Rick’s was produced in London in 1991 and closed less than one month later.

2. TWO CASABLANCA TV SHOWS HAVE BEEN MADE.

There have been two short-lived Casablanca TV series, one that premiered in 1955 and another that aired in 1983. The latter show, a prequel, featured Starsky and Hutch star David Soul as a young Rick Blaine and featured Hector Elizondo, Scatman Crothers, and a twentysomething Ray Liotta in supporting roles. It shot five episodes but was canceled after two.

3. THE SHOOT GOT OFF TO A ROUGH START.

The first scene that director Michael Curtiz and company shot was one of the flashback scenes in Paris, which caused some problems for stars Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Bogart because, in his own words, “I’m not up on this love stuff and don’t know just what to do,” and Bergman because, as the script had not yet been finished, she didn’t know whether her character was supposed to be in love with Rick or Victor Laszlo. Curtiz, who did not know himself, covered marvelously and told her to “play it in between.”

4. IT’S THE MOST QUOTABLE MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

Casablanca is the most quotable movie of all time. And that’s not just an arbitrary distinction: The AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movie Quotes list, assembled in 2005 and based on the opinions of 1500 filmmakers, critics, and historians, includes six Casablanca quotes, by far more than any other movie. The quotes in question are: “Here’s looking at you, kid” (#5); “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” (#20); “Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’” (#28); “Round up the usual suspects” (#32); “We’ll always have Paris” (#43); and “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine” (#67).

5. PART OF THE POSTER IS FROM ANOTHER BOGIE MOVIE. 


Warner Bros.

In many of Casablanca’s better-known posters, the shot of a trench coat- and fedora-wearing Bogart wielding a gun was pulled almost exactly from a publicity shot from earlier Bogie film, Across the Pacific, by poster artist Bill Gold, who repainted it in a photorealistic style. 


YouTube

6. RONALD REAGAN WAS RUMORED TO STAR.

The first bit of press on Casablanca came on January 5, 1942 from The Hollywood Reporter, which announced that Ann Sheridan (Angels with Dirty Faces) and her Kings Row co-star Ronald Reagan (“General Electric Theater,” the Presidency) had been cast as Ilsa and Rick. Needless to say, the rumors had no truth to them. Reagan was in the U.S. Cavalry Reserve at the time and would be called into active duty before the film even began shooting.

7. THE FIRST SCENE WAS SHOT BY ANOTHER FAMOUS DIRECTOR.

Casablanca’s opening scene, the map sequence with a voiceover explaining how refugees from World War II came to be in Casablanca, was created by Don Siegel, who in later years would direct some classics of his own, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Dirty Harry (1971).

8. EDWARD GOREY’S STEPMOTHER HAS AN UNCREDITED ROLE.

The Café Américain’s nightclub singer, who in the famous "La Marseillaise" scene can be seen strumming away at a guitar, is one Corinna Mura: actress, cabaret singer, and—from 1936 to 1952—the stepmother of American writer and artist Edward Gorey, creator of The Gashlycrumb Tinies.

9. THERE WERE SOME ODD TABLOID RUMORS ABOUT THE MOVIE.

Prior to the release of Casablanca, gossip items circulated that Humphrey Bogart was taking Swedish lessons from co-star Ingrid Bergman and that Paul Henreid had adopted his father’s gardener’s two daughters, refugees from Europe. Neither story, as it happens, was true.

10. FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT TURNED DOWN THE CHANCE TO REMAKE IT.

In 1973, a Warner Bros. executive approached French New Wave icon François Truffaut about directing a Casablanca remake. The director refused, noting that Casablanca “[isn’t] my favorite Humphrey Bogart film, and I rate it much lower than The Big Sleep or To Have and Have Not ... [but] I know American students adore this film, especially the dialogue, and they know every line by heart. I would be equally intimidated by the actors; I can’t imagine Jean-Paul Belmondo and Catherine Deneuve succeeding Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.”

Additional Sources:
Casablanca: Inside the Script, by The Editors of Warner Bros. Digital Publishing

David Lynch's Amazon T-Shirt Shop is as Surreal as You'd Expect It to Be

Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images
Dominique Faget, AFP/Getty Images

David Lynch, the celebrated director behind baffling-but-brilliant films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks, is now selling his equally surreal T-shirts on Amazon.

Each shirt bears an image of one of Lynch’s paintings or photographs with an accompanying title. Some of his designs are more straightforward (the shirts labeled “House” and “Whale” feature drawings of a house and a whale, respectively), while others are obscure (the shirt called “Chicken Head Tears” features a disturbing sculpture of a semi-human face).

This isn’t the first time Lynch—who is celebrating his 73rd birthday today—has ventured into pursuits outside of filmmaking. Previously, he has sold coffee, designed furniture, produced music, hosted daily weather reports, and published a book about his experience with transcendental meditation. Art, in fact, falls a little closer to Lynch’s roots; the filmmaker trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts before making his mark in Hollywood.

Lynch’s Amazon store, known as Studio: David Lynch, currently sells more than 40 T-shirts and hoodies, ranging in size from small to triple XL, with prices starting at $26. As for our own feelings on the collection, we think they’re best reflected by this T-shirt named “Honestly, I’m Sort of Confused.”

Check out some of our favorites below:

T-shirt that says "Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"
"Honestly, I'm Sort of Confused"

Buy it on Amazon

Studio: David Lynch Octopus T-shirt
Amazon

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt that says Peace on Earth over and over again. The caption is pretty on the nose.
"Peace on Earth"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a screaming face made out of turkey with ants in its mouth
"Turkey Cheese Head"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an odd sculpted clay face asking if you know who it is. You get the idea.
"I Was Wondering If You Know Who I Am?"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an image of a sculpted head that is not a chicken. It is blue, though.
"Chicken Head Blue"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with a drawing of a lobster on it. Below the drawing, the lobster is labeled with the word lobster. Shocking, I know.
"Lobster"

Buy it on Amazon

T-shirt with an abstract drawing of what is by David Lynch's account, at least, a cowboy
"Cowboy"

Buy it on Amazon

Jon Snow's Game of Thrones Fate Could Have Spelled Divorce for Showrunner David Benioff

Christopher Polk, Getty Images for Turner
Christopher Polk, Getty Images for Turner

The emotional toll that Game of Thrones's twists and turns takes on its fans has been well-documented. Between the TV show's massive body count and its never-ending series of other shocking moments, the show has left viewers shaken to theirs core for the past eight years (which is part of its massive appeal). But one of Game of Thrones's most heartbreaking moments—the death of Jon Snow at the hands of Alliser Thorne and other members of the Night's Watch in the fifth season—didn't leave just fans crushed. It nearly cost showrunner David Benioff his marriage.

While being interviewed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2015, The Romanoffs star Amanda Peet, who has been married to Benioff since 2006, told Kimmel that she was close to divorcing Benioff for killing off Jon Snow.

"I made him promise me, I begged him … I said, 'I've heard all this stuff … [Kit Harington] got a haircut, I don't want to divorce you, what's happening?'" Peet recalled. Benioff assured his wife that Jon wasn't going to die, but obviously that wasn't true—or at least not at the time. "I don't love you anymore," Peet (jokingly) told her husband. "I said, 'If you kill him, that's it.'"

As we all know, the sixth season saw Jon brought back to life, but Peet likely had no idea it was going to happen due to the intense secrecy of the show. "It's a little like being married to someone in the CIA or something," the actress stated. "He's in bed and he has his earphones and we angle the computer so that I can't see the dailies."

Though Jon's resurrection may have saved their marriage, who knows how Peet will feel about how it all ends when Game of Thrones's eighth and final season premieres on April 14, 2019.

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