Trivia / Casablanca


  • Acting in the Dark: Legend has it that during filming, after each scene was filmed, Humphrey Bogart and the writers would sit down together and decide what should happen next. Ingrid Bergman had no idea until the very last scene was filmed whether her character would leave with Victor or stay with Rick.
  • Actor Allusion: Possibly, Rick's quip that there are parts of New York which the Germans should avoid invading. One year before Casablanca, All Through the Night featured Humphrey Bogart fighting against a Nazi cell in New York.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: It was Humphrey Bogart's idea for Rick to be a chess player.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The line is "Play it, Sam", not "Play it again, Sam". Hilariously enough, the first time Ilsa says it, she specifically tells Sam to play it once.
  • California Doubling: The film was shot on the Warner Bros. backlot and at the Van Nuys Airport, a general aviation airport near Los Angeles. A lot of Stock Footage was used for Paris and other locales for obvious reasons.
  • The Cast Showoff: Dooley Wilson (Sam) was a singer and bandleader in the 1920s as well as an actor, hence the inordinate amount of time that he spends singing. (Though he only pretends to be playing the piano.)
  • Defictionalization: There is a real Rick's Cafe in modern-day Casablanca which closely recreates the decor of the film.
  • DVD Commentary: Roger Ebert makes one awesome commentary track. He breaks down things such as shot design, subtle character motivations, the "La Marseillaise" awesomeness and the MacGuffin disaster.
  • Fake Nationality: A good portion of the cast, the most obvious being the very British Claude Rains as French Captain Louis Renault.
    • Austrian actor Paul Henreid played Victor Laszlo, who's Czech (though his name actually sounds Hungarian).
    • Swedish Ingrid Bergman playing Norwegian Ilsa Lund. The two countries border each other and have a shared cultural history dating back to the Viking Age - but there was one very important difference between them in 1942: Norway was under occupation by Nazi Germany, and Sweden was neutral.
    • Austrian Helmut Dantine as Jan Brandel, the young Bulgarian who tries to win the money for a passage to America at the roulette table. American Joy Page played Annina, his wife. She was one of only four American born actors in the film (Bogart, Wilson and Dan Seymour (Abdul, Ferrari's doorman) were the other three).
    • Canadian John Qualen as Berger, the Norwegian resistance fighter, and Canadian-born George London as one of the singers of the Marseillaisenote .
    • British Sydney Greenstreet played the Italian Ferrari, without attempting an Italian accent.
    • Austro-Hungarian-American Peter Lorre plays the Italian Ugarte.
  • Follow the Leader: After the success of this movie, Hollywood decided they should try and get Humphrey Bogart to make it again. And again. Annnnd again. To Have And Have Not is pretty similar (and very good), but could possibly claim plausible deniability. Tokyo Joe and Sirocco, on the other hand, are just Casablanca again in other countries with crappier supporting casts, writers, and directors.
  • Going Native: Greenstreet wanted to wear full Moroccan attire to show that Ferrari had fully assimilated into the local culture. The director wouldn't allow it, emphasizing that like all the other principals, Ferrari came from outside. Greenstreet settled for a fez and the traditional salaam or temend gesture (touching heart, lips, brow) when he first enters.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor:
    • Conrad Veidt as Major Strasser — It has been reported, though not verified, that Veidt identified himself as Jewish on Nazi questionnaires as an act of protest.
      • Veidt's wife was Jewish and Veidt himself was a target due to, among other things, starring in a pro-gay rights film in 1919. If you read Strasser as Armored Closet Gay, that might be because Veidt was bisexual himself, yet another reason for the Nazis to hate his guts. There were rants in Nazi papers at the time claiming that because of the aforementioned gay rights movie and his other human rights films (including ones clamoring for women's reproductive rights), he was responsible for making young German boys and girls homosexual and promiscuous. A lifelong supporter of human rights and liberal causes, he donated a large amount of his personal fortune, and a fair chunk of his paycheck from this movie to the English war effort.
      • He helped Paul Henreid escape Europe. The Austrian Henreid arrived in Britain just after war had been declared and was therefore an enemy alien, whereas Veidt had become a British citizen in 1939. Veidt sheltered Henreid at his own house and vouched for Henreid to the British authorities, so that Henreid could stay in the UK until Veidt had scraped up the money for Henreid to cross the Atlantic.
    • Ironically, all of the German actors in the film were either Jews or German expatriates who fled the country when the Nazis took over, only to play Nazis in Hollywood—which most of them (Veidt in particular) were pleased to do, seeing it as a form of resistance by telling the world what the Nazis were like.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: The trailer contains a brief sequence of Rick saying "You asked for it" before shooting Strasser; the dialogue does not appear in the movie.
  • Reality Subtext: A number of the actors and extras were actually refugees of Nazi oppression, including Conrad Veidt, who played Major Strasser (he hated the Nazis and spent much of his career playing Nazi officers who were evil, incompetent, or both as a way of striking back at them). This added extra meaning to the "Marseillaise" scene, as most of the emotion from the actors was genuine. It also adds more meaning to Ugarte's arrest, since Peter Lorre was a Jew who fled Nazi Germany to escape exactly what happens to Ugarte. The line where he begs Rick, "Hide me!" particularly stands out.
  • Recycled Set: Rick's cafe was a purpose-built set. The Casablanca airport was, depending on the scene, either Van Nuys Airport in Los Angeles or a foggy indoor set laid out in Forced Perspective. Every other locale in the movie is a set recycled from an earlier Warner Bros. production. The Casablanca street was built for the 1943 film version of The Desert Song, which was released after Casablanca but filmed before. The Paris train station was earlier a Boston train station in the Bette Davis film Now, Voyager. There was even recycling within Casablanca itself as the Paris street was a redress of the Casablanca street.
  • Romance on the Set: Averted. Humphrey Bogart's then-wife Mayo Methot continually accused him of having an affair with Ingrid Bergman, often confronting him in his dressing room before a shot. Bogart would come onto the set in a rage. In fact, despite the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Bogart and Bergman, they hardly spoke, and the only time they bonded was when the two had lunch with Geraldine Fitzgerald. According to Fitzgerald, "the whole subject at lunch was how they could get out of that movie. They thought the dialogue was ridiculous and the situations were unbelievable... I knew Bogart very well, and I think he wanted to join forces with Bergman, to make sure they both said the same things." For whatever reasons, Bogart and Bergman rarely spoke after that.
  • Scully Box: Ingrid Bergman was actually two inches taller than Bogart, which was made up for by him standing on a box or sitting on additional pillows when closeups were called for.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: Everybody Comes to Ricks, the unproduced stage play that this movie was based on, ended with Rick and Ilsa running away together to America; the movie only got its iconic Bittersweet Ending because The Hays Code forbade movies from showing characters getting away with adultery.
  • Stillborn Franchise: The film was successful enough that a sequel, Brazzaville, was planned; Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains signed on to reprise their roles, but Ingrid Bergman was unavailable, which should have ended things right there, but Geraldine Fitzgerald was ultimately tapped to play Ilsa. By most reports, Brazzaville would have completely undone everything that made Casablanca great: Rick and Louis would both have been revealed to have been spies for the Allies, invalidating their apparently genuine Character Development in the previous film, and Victor Laszlo finally would have met his end, freeing Ilsa to be with Rick without guilt (or that pesky Hays Office breathing down the studio's neck); this would result in a Love Triangle between Rick, Ilsa, and a Spanish woman Rick had to seduce as part of his spy activities; ultimately, Rick and Ilsa would have wound up together and on a boat to the United States, living Happily Ever After. The studio (unsurprisingly) didn't care for this plot outline and (given that the war was winding down and Warner Bros. had a backlog of war pictures to get through before V-J Day) the idea of a sequel was dropped, and never revisited (at least on the screen).
  • Throw It In:
    • Legend has it that "Here's lookin' at you, kid" was improvised.
    • Most of these extras in the National Anthem scene were Europeans displaced by the Nazis and the crying was genuine.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The iconic "La Marsaillaise" sequence was intended to been even more pointed against the Nazis. The original song Major Strasser and the other Germans were to sing was not "Die Wacht am Rhein", a patriotic song written in 1840 and extensively used in the Franco-German War and in World War I, but instead "Das Horst-Wessel-Lied", the Nazi Party anthem and unofficial second national anthem of Nazi Germany. However, Warner Bros. changed it when they realized that the song was under copyright, which wouldn't have been a problem if the film were only being distributed in Allied territory. However as the film was also going to be released in neutral countries as well, it could have caused major diplomatic headaches and even opened Warner Bros. to the absurd possibility of being sued by the Nazis for copyright infringement. Or having to pay them royalties.
    • Joan Alison always envisioned Clark Gable as Rick, who "was my concept of a guy that I would like... I hated Humphrey Bogart. I thought he was a common drunk."
    • Early press materials announced Ronald Reagan as Rick. Seriously.
    • Rita Hayworth was the original choice for Ilsa.
    • Joseph Cotten was considered for Victor Lazlow.
    • Later, there were plans for a further scene, showing Rick, Renault and a detachment of Free French soldiers on a ship, to incorporate the Allies' 1942 invasion of North Africa. It proved too difficult to get Claude Rains for the shoot, and the scene was finally abandoned after David O. Selznick judged "it would be a terrible mistake to change the ending."
    • Hal B. Wallis's first choice for director was William Wyler. Howard Hawks was offered the job, but he turned it down in favour of Sergeant York.
    • A remake was planned in the early 2000s by Madonna. Seeing how iconic Casablanca is, you can see how well that turned out.
    • Another was to star then-couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The film was made at a time when America was neutral in World War II.
  • Writing by the Seat of Your Pants: The script was being written as it was filmed. Some things had to be changed to comply with The Hays Code, and it took a while to come up with a satisfying ending.

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