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75th Anniversary of Casablanca, Part IV

January 25, 2017

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This is a continuation of the blogs that were posted on January 4th, 11th and 18th. All the excerpts in these blogs are from Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca – Bogart, Bergman and World War II by Aljean Harmetz.

 The stellar cast of featured actors in Casablanca

DOOLEY WILSON (Sam) – Cont’d from 1/18/17

  • His singing talent: In Casablanca the filming was complicated by the fact that the music was not prerecorded, but was being recorded on stage. Dooley Wilson was pretending to play As Time Goes By to Bogart and Bergman. However, Elliot Carpenter played the song on a piano that was out of camera range so Wilson could see his hand movements.

OPINIONS OF EACH OTHER

  • Ingrid Bergman called Paul Henreid a prima donna.
  • In turn, Paul Henreid applied the same words to Claude Rains.
  • Bergman on her leading man: “I kissed him but I never knew him,” she would often say of Bogart after Casablanca became an artifact that demanded explanation and explication.
  • Claude Rains on Bogey: “My father loved Humphrey Bogart,” says Jessica Rains. “He told me so.” The cockney who turned himself into a gentleman was unexpectedly compatible with the gentle-born son of a doctor and a famous illustrator who turned himself into a rowdy. “Professional” is the word the people they worked with pinned – like l a badge – to both men.

CRITIC’S OPINIONS

  • On Bogart: “I remember,” says film critic Pauline Kael, “my friends and I talked about when are the executives going to discover this guy. It was early in his career, when he appeared in horror movies and all sorts of stuff that Warners threw at him. We liked him years before he got all the leading roles. He had a tension, like a coiled spring. You didn’t want to take your eyes off him.”
  • On Bergman: She projected an innocence and purity that enraptured men. The movie critic of The New York Times, Bosley Crowther, met her boat when she returned from Europe in 1940 and wrote: “Picture the sweetheart of a Viking, freshly scrubbed with Ivory soap, eating peaches and cream from a Dresden china bowl on the first warm day of Spring, and you have a fair impression of Ingrid Bergman.”
  • Roger Ebert said, “Casablanca is probably on more lists of the greatest films of all time than any other single title, including Citizen Kane.

PLAYING OF THE MARSEILLAISE: Dan Seymour [the actor who had guarded the door to Rick’s gambling room] remembers looking up during the singing of the Marseillaise and discovering that half of his fellow actors were crying. “I suddenly realized that they were all real refugees,” says Seymour. Of the 75 actors and actresses who had bit parts and larger roles in Casablanca, almost all were immigrants of one kind or another.

Click here. [Comment: This is the greatest scene in the entire movie. I’m in tears every time I watch it.]

AT THE END: Bogart and Bergman didn’t see each other after Casablanca was finished. Both had become major stars because of Casablanca. Both were about to be nominated for Academy Awards for the first time.

The Oscar statuette is 13 ½ inches high and weighs 8 ½ lbs. Casablanca was nominated for eight awards and won three. At the 1943 Academy Awards, it won the Oscar for Best Picture. This is the award that adds millions to a movie’s ticket sales.  

MEMORABLE LINES IN CASABLANCA: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By’.” “Round up the usual suspects.”  “We’ll always have Paris.” “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

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