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USA, 1942

Director: Michael Curtiz

Production: Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.; black and white, 35mm; running time: 102 minutes. Released November 1942. Filmed at Warner Bros. studios.

Producer: Hal B. Wallis; screenplay: Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, contributions by Aeneas Mackenzie and Hal Wallis among others, from an unpublished play Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison; photography: Arthur Edeson; editor: Owen Marks; sound: Francis J. Scheid; production design: Carl Jules Weyl; set decoration: George James Hopkins; music: Max Steiner; songs: Herman Hupfeld and M. K. Jerome; special effects: Laurence Butler and Willard Van Enger; costumes: Orry-Kelly (gowns); technical advisor: Robert Alsner; opening montage: Don Siegel.

Cast: Humphrey Bogart (Rick); Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa Lund); Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo); Claude Rains (Captain Louis Renault); Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser); Sydney Greenstreet (Senor Ferrari); Peter Lorre (Ugarte); S. Z. Sakall (Carl, a Waiter); Madeleine LeBeau (Yvonne); Dooley Wilson (Sam); Joy Page (Annina Brandel); John Qualen (Berger); Leonid Kinsky (Sascha, a Bartender); Helmut Dantine (Jan); Curt Bois (Pickpocket); Marcel Dalio (Croupier); Corinna Mura (Singer); Ludwig Stössel (Mr. Leuchtag); Ilka Gruning (Mrs. Leuchtag); Charles La Torre (Tonelli, the Italian officer); Frank Puglia (Arab vendor); Dan Seymour (Abdul); Lou Marcelle (Narrator); Martin Garralaga (Headwaiter); Olaf Hytten (Prosperous man); Monte Blue (American); Paul Pracasi (Native); Albert Morin (French offcer); Creighton Hale (Customer); Henry Rowland (German officer); Richard Ryen (Heinz); Norma Varden (Englishwoman); Torben Meyer (Banker); Oliver Blake (Blue Parrot waiter); Gregory Gay (German banker); William Edmunds (Contact); George Meeker (Friend); George Dee (Casselle); Leo Mostovoy (Fydor); Leon Belasco (Dealer).

Awards: Oscars for Best Film, Best Director, and Best Screenplay, 1943.



Epstein, Julius J., Philip G. Epstein, and Howard Koch, Casablanca:Script and Legend, edited by Koch, New York, 1973; also in Michael Curtiz's "Casablanca," edited by Richard Anobile, New York 1975.


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Baker, M. Joyce, Images of Women in Film: The War Years 1941–45, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1980.

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Ray, Robert B., A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema1930–1980, Princeton, New Jersey, 1985.

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Kinskey, Leonid, "It Lingers Deliciously in Memory as Time Goes By," in Movie Digest, September 1972.

Vernhes, M., in Cinéma (Paris), March 1973.

Day, B., "The Cult Movies: Casablanca," in Films and Filming (London), August 1974.

"Casablanca Revisited: 3 Comments," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), October 1976.

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Greenberg, J., "Writing for the Movies: Casey Robinson," in Focuson Film (London), April 1979.

Hanson, Stephen L., in Magill's Survey of Cinema 2, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1981.

Ross, C., "The Great Script Tease," in Film Comment (New York), November-December 1982.

Sigal, Clancy, in Listener (London), 12 July 1984.

Eco, Umberto, "Casablanca: Cult Movie and Intertextual Collage," in Substance (Madison, Wisconsin), vol. 14, no. 2, 1985.

Altman, R., "Dickens, Griffith, and Film Theory Today," in SouthAtlantic Quarterly (Durham, North Carolina), no. 2, 1989.

Parshall, P. F., "East Meets West: Casablanca vs. The Seven Samurai," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), no. 4, 1989.

Jorholt, E., "Spil den igen og igen og igen, Sam!" in Kosmorama (Denmark), Fall 1989.

Wilson, Robert F., Jr., "Romantic Propaganda: A Note on Casablanca's Prefigured Ending," in Film and History, vol. 19, no. 4, December 1989.

Gabbard, K., and G. O. Gabbard, "Play it Again," in Journal ofPopular Film and Television (Washington, D.C.), no. 1, 1990.

Davis, J. H., "Still the Same Old Story: The Refusal of Time to Go By in Casablanca," in Literature/Film Quarterly (Salisbury, Maryland), no. 2, 1990.

Deutelbaum, M., "The Visual Design Program of Casablanca," in Post Script (Commerce, Texas), no. 3, 1990.

Helman, A., "Dekonstruuje Casablanke," in Kino (Warsaw), March 1990.

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Larson, R.D., in Soundtrack! (Mechelen), December 1997.

* * *

"I have discovered the secret of successful filmmaking," says Claude Chabrol sarcastically, "Timing!" Casablanca belongs in the vanguard of films created by the era they so flawlessly reflect. Assured and expert, it is not in either substance or style superior to its director Michael Curtiz's Mildred Pierce or Young Man With a Horn. Bogart, Bergman, Rains, and Henreid all gave better performances; of those by Greenstreet, Lorre, Kinsky, and Sakall, one can only remark that they seldom gave any others. Producer Robert Lord categorized the story on the first reading as "a very obvious imitation of Grand Hotel;" Jerry Wald saw parallels with Algiers. Both were right.

Hal Wallis wanted George Raft to star and William Wyler to direct. Both declined. (There is some evidence he also planned it as a vehicle for the Kings Row team of Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan, with Dennis Morgan in the Henreid role. And both Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald had a chance at the singing part taken eventually by Dooley Wilson.) Vincent Sherman and William Keighley likewise refused the project before it went to Curtiz.

Casablanca might have joined Sahara and Istanbul on the shelf of back-lot travelogues had an Allied landing and summit conference in the north African city not coincided with the film's November 1942 release. Topicality fed its fame. Curtiz, accepting an unexpected Academy Award in March 1944, betrayed his surprise. "So many times I have a speech ready, but no dice. Always a bridesmaid, never a mother. Now I win, I have no speech." The broken English was entirely appropriate to a film where only Bogart and Dooley Wilson were of American origin.

Beyond its timing, Casablanca does show the Warners' machine and Curtiz's talent at their tabloid best. The whirling globe of Don Siegel's opening montage and the portentous March of Time narration quickly define the city as a vision of the wartime world in microcosm. The collaborative screenplay, signed by Julius and Philip Epstein, and Howard Koch, but contributed to by, among others, Aeneas Mackenzie and Wallis himself (who came up with Bogart's final line), draws the characters in broad terms, each a compendium of national characteristics.

Bogart, chain-smoking, hard-drinking, arrogant, is the classic turned-off Hemingway American. Henreid, white-suited and courteous, is a dissident more akin to a society physician, untainted by either Communism or bad tailoring. The Scandinavian virgin, untouchable in pale linen and communicating mainly through a range of schoolgirl grins, Bergman's Ilsa succumbs to passion only when she pulls a gun on the unconcerned Rick, triggering not the weapon but a revival of their old affection.

The remaining regulars of Rick's Cafe Americain, mostly accented foreigners, dissipate their energies in Balkan bickering, petty crime, and, in the case of Claude Rains's self-satisfied Vichy policeman, some improbable lechery dictated by his role as the token, naughty Frenchman, all moues and raised eyebrows. Cliché characterization leads to a range of dubious acts, notably the fawning Peter Lorre, an arch intriguer and murderer, entrusting his treasured "letters of transit" to Bogart's moralizing ex-gunrunner, a gesture exceeded in improbability only by Bogart's acceptance of them.

As with most formula films, technique redeems Casablanca. Arthur Edeson's camera cranes sinuously through Carl Jules Weyl's Omar Khayyam fantasy of a set. Typical of Curtiz's work is the razor-sharp "cutting on action" by Owen Marks, a legacy of the former's Hungarian and Austrian training. He forces the pace relentlessly, even to dissolving the back projection plate in mid-scene during the Parisian flash-back, an audacious piece of visual shorthand.

Narrative economy distinguishes the film. As its original material (an unproduced play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison) suggests, Casablanca in structure is a one-set play; many events take place offstage, from the murder of the couriers to the resistance meeting attended by Henreid and Sakall that is broken up by the police. Everybody Comes to Rick's is an apt title, since it's the ebb and flow of people through the cafe's doors that gives the story its sole semblance of vitality. As an entity, Casablanca lives on the artificial respiration of ceaseless greetings, introductions, and farewells. Even the Parisian flashback does little to elucidate the characters of Rick and Ilsa. They remain at the end of the film little more than disagreeable maitre d' and troublesome patron.

In 1982, the journalist Chuck Ross circulated Casablanca's script as a new work to 217 American literary agents. Of those who acknowledged reading it (most returned it unread) 32 recognized the original, while 38 did not. Clearly this betrays the profound ignorance of the agenting community. But also implicit in their ignorance is Casablanca's unsure standing as a work of art. Unremarkable in 1942, it rose to fame through an accident of timing. No better written or constructed today, it exists primarily as a cultural artifact, a monument of popular culture. Woody Allen was right in his Play It Again, Sam to show the film as one whose morality, characters, and dialogue can be adapted to social use; icons now, they transcend their original source. It is as folklore rather than as a cinematic masterwork that Casablanca is likely to survive.

—John Baxter

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largest city in morocco.

As of 2002, Casablanca (al-Dar al-Bayda, in Arabic) had a population of 3,334,300. The wilaya (province) of Greater Casablanca, which covers 646 square miles (1,615 sq km), is composed of twenty-three urban districts and six prefectures. Situated on the Atlantic coast, the city is the principal maritime and air transport hub and the major industrial center of the country.

The site of modern Casablanca was occupied by Anfa, a commercial center in the thirteenth century. After being held briefly by the Portuguese, who called it Casa Branca (White House), it was abandoned in ruins about 1468. The village was rebuilt in 1770 by Sultan Muhammad III (17571790), who translated the name into Arabic as al-Dar al-Bayda. It was later retranslated into Spanish as Casablanca.

Muhammad III hoped to encourage trade with Europe through the port of Essaouira (Mogador); thus Casablanca remained small and inactive. When the tribes of the Shawiya district around Casablanca revolted in the 1790s, Sultan Sulayman (17921822) closed Casablanca and several other ports to European commerce. It began to revive under Sultan Abd al-Rahman (18221859), who reopened it to commerce in 1831. Trade slowly grew from 3 percent of Moroccan maritime trade in 1836 to 10 percent in 1843. The port handled mainly agricultural produce: hides, wool, and grain. The population was estimated at 1,500 in the late 1850s and perhaps 4,000 a decade later as European merchants set up agencies, and steamship services started to call. By the late 1880s the population had increased to around 9,000. Although the port still had no proper wharves, it was important enough for French agents to take control of the customhouse following the Act of Algeciras (1906). European attempts to construct a modern port in 1907 led to an attack on

the worksite by people from the surrounding countryside. A French warship bombarded the port, local people looted the town, and French and Spanish troops then occupied it.

The population grew quickly after the imposition of the French protectorate in 1912. It rose from perhaps 40,000 in 1914 to around 250,000 in 1930. The first French resident general, Louis-Hubert Gonzalve Lyautey, decided to make Casablanca the main port and the commercial center of Morocco; Rabat became the political capital. The port relied in particular on the export of phosphates, which became Morocco's largest and most valuable export.

European speculators quickly bought up land, and the city began to grow haphazardly. In 1914 Lyautey gave the French architect Henri Prost the task of designing the city. Prost developed an overall master plan for a European city surrounding the old Muslim madina and Jewish mellah. Public buildings were required to harmonize with traditional Moroccan styles; the post office, the city hall, and the Palais de Justice made particular use of Islamic architectural elements within a European-style structure. The commercial district was dominated by the kilometer-long Boulevard de la Gare (now Boulevard Muhammad V). The European suburbs spread quickly with little control. To the rapidly growing European population was added an explosive growth in the Moroccan population. This led to the emergence of shantytowns (bidonvilles) in the early 1930s. By the mid-1930s, some 70,000 to 80,000 Moroccans lived in bidonvilles.

European working-class immigrants brought French socialist politics with them, and Moroccan workers were soon involved. In June 1936 a series of strikes began in state enterprises and spread to commercial enterprises in Casablanca; both European and Moroccan workers took part.

After the Allied landings in North Africa in November 1942, Sultan Muhammad V had two meetings with U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. This assured the sultan of American interest and support for Moroccan independence and raised his reputation in the eyes of the Moroccans. After the war, the political movements in Casablanca became increasingly militant for independence. This was reinforced by an incident on 7 April 1947, when

Senegalese troops in France's colonial army fired on a crowd in Casablanca, apparently after an argument over the molestation of a Moroccan woman. French officials did little to stop the massacre, in which several hundred people were reported killed.

Following Morocco's independence in 1956, Casablanca's population continued to grow and to become predominantly Moroccan as the Europeans left. By 1960 the population was nearly 1 million, and by 1970, 1.8 million. Although some attempt was made to house the new residents, most of whom moved in from the countryside, the apartment blocks that were built were woefully insufficient. This led to continued political radicalization in Casablanca, and there were riots in the poorer districts in 1965, in which large numbers of people were killed. A state of emergency was declared and remained in force for five years. Tension continued throughout the 1970s, and there were more, and very serious, riots in June 1981. In the 1980s and 1990s Ali Yata, the leader of the Party of Progress and Socialism (Parti du Progrés et Socialisme, the renamed Communist Party) repeatedly won election for a Casablanca constituency. There has been some Islamist activity as well. The importance of Casablanca politically was graphically shown when King Hassan II chose it as the site of the world's biggest mosque (the Hassan II Mosque), which was opened in 1993.

see also bidonville; communism in the middle east; lyautey, louis-hubert gonzalve; muhammad v; roosevelt, franklin delano; yata, ali.


Issawi, Charles. An Economic History of the Middle East and North Africa. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.

Wright, Gwendolyn. The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.

Zartman, I. William, ed. The Political Economy of Morocco. New York: Praeger, 1987.

C. R. Pennell

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Casablanca (kă´səblăng´kə, kă´zə–, Span. kä´säbläng´kä), Arab. Dar-al-Baida, city (1994 est. pop. 2,940,623), W Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean. The largest city and principal port of Morocco, it accounts for more than half of Morocco's industrial production. The city's leading industries produce textiles, glass, electronics, bricks, beer, and soft drinks. Fish and seafood are abundant in the coastal waters. Major imports include petroleum products. Casablanca is the seat of numerous Arab and French schools, an art school, the Goethe-Institut, and the Hassan II mosque (1993), one of the world's largest.

Casablanca is on the site of Anfa, a prosperous town that the Portuguese destroyed in 1468; they resettled it briefly in 1515 under its present name. Almost destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, Casablanca was rebuilt (1757) by Muhammad XVI. It was occupied by the French in 1907. During World War II, Casablanca was the scene of one of the three major Allied landings in North Africa (Nov., 1942) and of a conference between Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (Nov., 1943).

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Casablanca (Dar el-Beida) City in w Morocco, on Africa's Atlantic coast. Resettled in 1515 by the Portuguese after their destruction of the old town. An earthquake damaged the city (1755). Today, Casablanca is Morocco's largest city and a busy commercial centre, exporting phosphates and importing petroleum products. Industries: tourism, textiles. Pop. (2002 est.) 3,595,100.

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Casablancaalpaca, attacker, backer, clacker, claqueur, cracker, Dhaka, hacker, Hakka, knacker, lacquer, maraca, paca, packer, sifaka, slacker, smacker, stacker, tacker, tracker, whacker, yakka •Kafka •anchor, banker, Bianca, canker, Casablanca, Costa Blanca, flanker, franker, hanker, lingua franca, Lubyanka, rancour (US rancor), ranker, Salamanca, spanker, Sri Lanka, tanka, tanker, up-anchor, wanker •Alaska, lascar, Madagascar, Nebraska •Kamchatka • linebacker • outbacker •hijacker, skyjacker •Schumacher • backpacker •safecracker • wisecracker •nutcracker • firecracker • ransacker •scrimshanker • bushwhacker •barker, haka, Kabaka, Lusaka, marker, moussaka, nosy parker, Oaxaca, Osaka, parka, Shaka, Zarqa •asker, masker •backmarker • waymarker •Becker, checker, Cheka, chequer, Dekker, exchequer, Flecker, mecca, Neckar, Necker, pecker, Quebecker, Rebecca, Rijeka, trekker, weka, wrecker •sepulchre (US sepulcher) • Cuenca •burlesquer, Francesca, Wesker •woodpecker

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