There’s a lot to unpack with the cultural ripple effect “Casablanca” started 75 years ago. This is just a small sampling. Keep reading for a few surprises.
- This is another one of those movies that started off as a hit and became a classic over time. Its regular airings on television, as well as the annual screenings of the film at Harvard (and other colleges) throughout the ‘70s helped boost the film’s standing as a classic, to the point where Francois Truffaut cited these showings when refusing to direct a potential remake.
- Warner Bros. originally planned on making a sequel shortly after the film’s release. “Brazzaville” would have followed Rick and Louis as they travelled to the Congo to join the Free French. It never happened, but Bogie in the Congo, now there’s an idea…
- The film did receive an official sequel in novel form with 1998’s “As Time Goes By”. It tried to give “Casablanca” the “Godfather Part II” treatment by being both prequel and sequel, but failed on both counts. The Britcom is spawned, however, is a delight.
- Unproduced for decades, the play “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” made its West End premiere in 1991; a run that lasted 3 weeks. I mean, we’re not making “Casablanca” here.
- There have been two attempts to turn “Casablanca” into a TV series, one in the ‘50s that acted as a prequel, and one in the ‘80s that was set a year after the events of the movie. When will Hollywood leave well enough alone?
- Perhaps the greatest misquote in film history comes from “Casablanca”. Ilsa says, “Play it, Sam”, but no one says, “Play it again, Sam”. But that hasn’t stopped generations of misattribution, as well as a Woody Allen movie.
- Speaking of quotes, “Round up the usual suspects” inspired Christopher McQuarrie to write a crime thriller called…uh…
- Though not written for the film, the song “As Time Goes By” became a popular standard thanks to “Casablanca”. A few bars are sampled during the current Warner Bros. Studios logo.
- “You Must Remember This” is the name of easily the best podcast for film buffs. Karina Longworth (that’s her) consistently proves there is no substitution for thorough research.
- Sooooo many spoofs, too many to mention. Let’s go with easily the weirdest: The 1995 Bugs Bunny cartoon “Carrotblanca”. Someone really liked the bizarre casting of Tweety Bird as Peter Lorre.
- Okay one more spoof; one of my favorite underrated SNL skits. There’s just something about the way Kate McKinnon says “Noooooo, Rick, noooooo”.
- Julius Epstein tried on two separate occasions to turn “Casablanca” into a stage musical. He could never make it happen, but we did get a Japanese all-female musical in 2009. And how many films on this list can say that?
- My mandatory shout-out to the late “Great Movie Ride”.
- “Never show a good movie in the middle of your crappy movie.”
- Last spoof, I promise.
This write-up had several “Other notes” that I had great difficulty cutting. So rather than kill my darlings, I’ve relocated a few to a new segment: Other Other notes
- Fun Fact: I share a birthday with the Epstein Brothers! The greatest screenplay ever was written by either Leos or Virgos (depending on which horoscope you subscribe to).
- Louis spends a lot of time complimenting Ilsa on her appearance. It’s good practice for when Claude Rains obsesses over Ingrid Bergman four years later.
- One of filmdom’s more bizarre debates is whether or not one of the background waiters is Jack Benny in a gag cameo. One theater even held a contest to see who could spot him. Do I believe this story?
I’M THINKING IT OVER!