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

Virginia’s University of Lynchburg is Adding a Harry Potter Class to Its Fall Curriculum

Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.
Warner Bros. Ent. Harry Potter Publishing Rights J.K.R.

While it’s not exactly an invitation to Hogwarts, students at Virginia’s University of Lynchburg are getting just about the next best thing. This fall, the campus is adding a Harry Potter-themed class to its curriculum as a general education course.

The university is in the process of changing some of its course offerings and streamlining classes in recognition of its modern students. According to WSET ABC 13, Dr. Sharon Foreman, director of general education, said of the new curriculum: "It is very targeted towards 21st century students who are going out into a global society and so we want faculty, staff, and administrators to know what that means, what it looks like, and [to] experience it first hand.”

Faculty have decided providing an education for a global society includes offering courses like the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Good Life," which will ask students to read J.K. Rowling’s books alongside the works of philosophers to create connections between the past and present.

University of Lynchburg coordinator of integrated seminars Amy Merrill Willis told WSLS 10 News that the course's instructor, Devin Brickhouse Bryson, is "going to be introducing philosophical concepts from [Plato], Socrates, and Aristotle, and asking students to think about the Harry Potter series in depth.”

Although there may not be a sorting hat or Butterbeer involved, the class sounds like a creative way to engage students in philosophy and critical issues, all while focused on the beloved Harry Potter series.

[h/t WSET ABC 13]

Wizarding World Orlando’s New Roller Coaster Is Full of Harry Potter Easter Eggs

Universal Orlando
Universal Orlando

While Universal Studios Orlando is already home to some incredible attractions in its Wizarding World of Harry Potter, such as its very own Hogsmeade, the Hogwarts Express, and even a Hogwarts Castle, the newest roller coaster seems to be bringing out the most dedicated of Potterheads. The ride, called Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, saw whopping 10-hour waits in its opening days, and for those lucky enough to have experienced the brand-new attraction already, it looks like many have deemed it worth the line.

GameSpot got to take a ride on the Motorbike Adventure, and writer Meg Downey noted all the great details riders will encounter as they soar through the Forbidden Forest—which included a load of Easter eggs.

In particular, Downey calls out the many Harry Potter nods on the walls of the castle ruins. The graffiti, which resembles cave drawings, includes a joke about a Hippogriff attempting to catch Draco Malfoy (likely in reference to the Prisoner of Azkaban scene where the cocky wizard encounters Buckbeak), a drawing of a Phoenix that looks just like Fawkes, and even some sweet writings from Harry’s parents, James and Lily Potter.

A Blast-Ended Skrewt within Universal Orlando's Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
A Blast-Ended Skrewt within Universal Orlando's Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, a reference to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Universal Orlando

Additionally, the ride includes a reference to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, according to Downey, who reports that Hagrid has a poster of Nifflers in his main workshop.

The new ride seems to be a must-do experience for diehard Harry Potter fans, exploring some of the most mysterious parts of Hogwarts and the fun style of Hagrid and his creatures.

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