Hollywood Lost and Found - Making "Casablanca"
Hollywood Lost and Found

The Making of "Casablanca," page 3

The script continued to be rewritten during production, and the writers were delivering new pages of the script directly to the set. Although the Epstein brothers and Koch worked on each other's drafts of the film, they never worked together.

According to Julius Epstein, he and his brother Philip solved one of the major problems with the ending to the film one night when they were driving down Sunset Boulevard toward Beverly Glen. Reportedly, the two of them turned to each other and simultaneously said "Round up the usual suspects!" The phrase, which was not in the play, was used several times by Renault, showing his disdain for his job as they routinely gathered Casablanca's troublemakers. But this time, Renault would use it to cover for his friend Rick when Major Strasser is shot.

The last line in the film was reportedly written by Hal Wallis, and recorded in post production by Humphrey Bogart: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

After fifty-nine days of filming (eleven days over schedule), "Casablanca" wrapped principal photography on August 3, 1942. Editor Owen Marks completed a cut of the film shortly afterward, having already been working alongside the production.

Max Steiner, a Warner Bros. composer since 1936, was assigned to write the score for the film on July 11. After viewing the film, he did not want "As Time Goes By" to be used, and lobbied to replace it with an original composition he would create for the film. This would mean some scenes that directly referred to the song would have to be reshot - and Ingrid Bergman had already cut her hair for her role as Maria in "For Whom the Bell Tolls." "As Time Goes By" stayed in the film. In 1943, the song would be on the radio program "Hit Parade" for 21 straight weeks.

The release date for the film had been announced as June 1943, but in early November 1942, the Allies had landed in North Africa... at Casablanca. The film was released in New York on Thanksgiving Day, only 18 days after the landing. And during the Roosevelt-Churchill-Stalin conferences held in Casablanca, the film had its general release: January 23, 1943.

Because of the film's success, the popularity of lead actors soared. Ingrid Bergman would go on to make her most successful films, including "Gaslight," "Spellbound," and "Notorious." And with his role in "Casablanca," and previously "The Maltese Falcon," Humphrey Bogart was established as a romantic star - and his new contract with Warner Bros. made him the highest paid actor in the world.

The film would be nominated for eight Academy Awards and would go on to win three: Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture.

- Steve Lee
18 June 2006

Behlmer, Rudy. America's Favorite Movies. New York: Frederick Unger Publishing, 1982.

Harmetz, Aljean. The Making of Casablanca. New York: Hyperion, 2002.

Siegel, Jeff. The Casablanca Companion. Dallas: Taylor Publishing, 1992.

"Casablanca" (DVD and Supplementary Materials). Directed by Michael Curtiz. Produced by Hal B. Wallis. Warner Bros, 1942.

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