In the famous scene where the "Marseillaise" is sung over the German song "Watch on the Rhine", many of the extras had real tears in their eyes; a large number of them were actual refugees from Nazi persecution in Germany and elsewhere in Europe and were overcome by the emotions the scene brought out.
Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, Madonna wanted to remake "Casablanca (1942)" with her playing IIsa Lund and Ashton Kutcher in the role of Rick Blaine. Madonna pitched the idea to every studio but was unanimously rejected by every studio with one studio executive telling her "That film is deemed untouchable". The project has since been scrapped by Madonna.
In the 1980s this film's script was sent to readers at a number of major studios and production companies under its original title, "Everybody Comes to Rick's". Some readers recognized the script but most did not. Many complained that the script was "not good enough" to make a decent movie. Others gave such complaints as "too dated", "too much dialog" and "not enough sex".
Because the film was made during WWII the production was not allowed to film at an airport after dark for security reasons. Instead, it used a sound stage with a small cardboard cutout airplane and forced perspective. To give the illusion that the plane was full-sized, they used little people to portray the crew preparing the plane for take-off. Years later the same technique was used in Alien (1979), with director Ridley Scott's son and some of his friends in scaled-down spacesuits.
Some years ago in a shop dealing with historical documents, a photo still from this film was found, showing Rick sitting at the chess board. Accompanying the photo was a letter from Humphrey Bogart to a friend in New York, indicating a specific chess move. The document dealer explained that the chess game in the movie was a real game Bogart was playing by mail with his friend during the course of filming.
The letters of transit that motivate so many characters in the film did not exist in Vichy-controlled France--they are purely a plot device invented by the screenwriters. Playwright Joan Alison always expected somebody to challenge her about the letters, but nobody ever did.
Although this was an overtly anti-Nazi film, it wasn't the first one that Warner Bros had made (it had come out several years earlier with Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)). Warners was the first Hollywood studio to be so open about its opposition to the Nazi regime, and the first to prohibit its films from being distributed in Nazi-occupied territories. Indeed, Harry M. Warner was making speeches denouncing Nazi activities in Germany as early as 1936.
When this film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Jack L. Warner was first on stage to accept the award, beating the film's actual producer, Hal B. Wallis, who was incensed at this slight and never forgave Warner. Wallis, at the time regarded as the "wunderkind" at the studio, left Warner Brothers shortly afterwards.
Conrad Veidt, who played Maj. Strasser, was well known in the theatrical community in Germany for his hatred of the Nazis, and his friendship with Jews (including his Jewish wife), and in fact was forced to hurriedly escape the country when he found out that the SS had sent a death squad after him because of his anti-Nazi activities. Veidt had it in his contract that he only played villains because he was convinced that playing suave Nazi baddies would help the war effort.
Early in the production studio head Jack L. Warner offered the role of Rick Blaine to George Raft, but the actor turned it down. As the shooting script took shape, producer Hal B. Wallis began to envision Humphrey Bogart in the Rick Blaine role. As Bogart was under contract to Warner Bros. the role was assigned to him by Wallis. However, after Bogart had been cast in the role, Raft reconsidered his decision and contacted Warners to deliver the news that he had decided to accept the part after all. After consulting with Wallis--who had never envisioned anyone but Bogart in the role--Warner decided to support his producer: he explained to Raft that Bogart had been cast in the role of Rick Blaine, and that the part was no longer available. Ironically, this was the third of three key roles Raft turned down that Bogart took on, the other two being Roy "Mad Dog" Earle in High Sierra (1941) and Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941). All three roles contributed greatly to establishing Bogart's legendary career.
Humphrey Bogart's 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.
During production, Humphrey Bogart was called to the studio to stand in the middle of the Rick's Cafe set and nod. He had no idea what the nod meant in the story--that he was giving his O.K. for the band in the cafe to play the "Marseillaise."
Director Michael Curtiz's Hungarian accent often caused confusion on the set. He asked a prop man for a "poodle" to appear in one scene. The prop man searched high and low for a poodle while the entire crew waited. He found one and presented it to Curtiz, who screamed, "A poodle! A poodle of water!"
Dooley Wilson (Sam) was a professional drummer who faked playing the piano. As the music was recorded at the same time as the film, the piano playing was actually a recording of a performance by Jean Vincent Plummer who was playing behind a curtain but who was positioned such that Dooley could watch, and copy, his hand movements.
It is never revealed why Rick cannot return to America. Julius J. Epstein later said that "my brother (Philip G. Epstein) and I tried very hard to come up with a reason why Rick couldn't return to America. But nothing seemed right. We finally decided not to give a reason at all."
To maximize profits from foreign distribution of the film, the studio suggested that any unpleasant characters other than the Nazis should also be from an enemy country, namely Italy. This is why Ugarte, Ferrari and the dark European pickpocket are Italian.
Rick never says "Play it again, Sam." He says: "You played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can take it, I can take it so Play it!". Ilsa says "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By"'. The incorrect line has become the basis for spoofs in movies such as A Night in Casablanca (1946) and Play It Again, Sam (1972).
On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the United States entered the Second World War. The next day a Warner Brothers reader began to evaluate the unproduced play "Everybody Comes To Rick's" as a possible movie. It was perfect timing as studios raced to get patriotic pictures into production. Two weeks later, Warners' executive in charge of production Hal B. Wallis decided to make the film, changed the title to mirror the exotic romanticism of the studio's hit Algiers (1938), and announced it as a done deal before contracts were signed (authors Murray Burnett and Joan Alison received a record $20,000 for the rights to an unproduced play).
The iconic "La Marsaillaise" sequence was intended to have been even more pointed against the Nazis. The original song Maj. 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 it 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 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.
The film had six quotes on the American Film Institute's list of top movie quotes, more than any other movie on the list. The quotes with their ranks are: (5) Here's looking at you, kid. (20) Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. (28) Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.' (32) Round up the usual suspects. (43) We'll always have Paris; and (67) Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
The influx into Hollywood of large numbers of European exiles fleeing the war helped the casting enormously. In fact, of all the featured players in the film who get screen credit, only three were born in the United States: Humphrey Bogart, Dooley Wilson and Joy Page.
The difference in height between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman changes throughout the film. This is because Bergman was actually a few inches taller than Bogart, though to create the illusion that it was vice versa, Michael Curtiz had Bogart stand on boxes and sit on pillows in some shots, or had Bergman slouch down (as evident when she sits on the couch in the "franc for your thoughts" scene).
At the beginning of the film, the spinning globe shows the extent of three empires during the Second World War. The German "Third Reich" in Europe, the "Great Japanese Empire" in Southeast Asia and the British Empire in Africa and South Asia (notably modern-day India and Pakistan).
"As Time Goes By" was written by lifelong bachelor Herman Hupfeld and debuted in 1931's Broadway show "Everybody's Welcome", sung by Frances Williams. It had been a personal favorite of playwright and high school teacher Murray Burnett who, seven years later, visited Vienna just after the Nazis had entered. Later, after visiting a café in south France where a black pianist had entertained a mixed crowd of Nazis, French citizens and foreign refugees, Burnett was inspired to write the melodrama "Everybody Comes to Rick's", which was optioned for production by Martin Gabel and Carly Wharton, and later on Warner Bros. Pictures. After the film's release, "As Time Goes By" stayed on radio's "Hit Parade" for 21 weeks. However, because of the coincidental musicians' union recording ban, the 1931 Rudy Vallee version became the smash hit (it contains the rarely-sung introductory verse, not heard in the film). Max Steiner, in a 1943 interview, admitted that the song "must have had something to attract so much attention".
Casey Robinson, who re-wrote the romantic scenes between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, was offered screen credit but turned it down because at the time he was only taking credit for scripts he wrote entirely by himself. By declining credit, he did himself out of an Academy Award.
"Here's looking at you, kid" was improvised by Humphrey Bogart in the Parisian scenes and worked so well that it was used later on again in the film. He originally used the same line in Midnight (1934). It is also rumored that during breaks, Ingrid Bergman would play poker with other cast members. Since she was still learning English, Bogart would occasionally watch the game, and he added "Here's looking at you" to her poker repertoire.
After shooting, Max Steiner spoke against using "As Time Goes By" as the song identifying Rick and Ilsa, saying he would rather compose an original song in order to qualify for royalties. However, Hal B. Wallis replied that since the filming had ended, Ingrid Bergman had cut her hair very short for For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) which was shooting at a distant locale and she therefore could not re-shoot already-completed scenes that had used "As Time Goes By".
Sydney Greenstreet wanted to wear something more ethnic to show that his character had assimilated into the Moroccan lifestyle. This idea was nixed by producer Hal B. Wallis who insisted that he wear his now-iconic white suit.
Warner Bros. had intended to use the "Horst-Wessel-Lied", the anthem of the Nazi party, during the "battle of the anthems" sequence, but the copyright was controlled by a German company, and Warners dropped that anthem for the 1840s song "Die Wacht Am Rhein" (about a vow to defend the Rhineland from a French invasion) rather than violate the rights (which would have prompted the German copyright holder on the song to prohibit the movie from being shown in any country not at war with Germany).
The film's success led to plans for a sequel, which was to be called Brazzaville. Ingrid Bergman was not available, so Geraldine Fitzgerald was considered for Ilsa before the project was killed. It was not until the late 1990s and Michael Walsh's novel "As Time Goes By" that a true sequel ever came to pass.
Casablanca, Morocco, was one of the key stops for refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe, which is why the original playwrights chose the city for the setting of their play (though initially they had opted for Lisbon).
The film's screenwriters, twins Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein, objected initially to the casting of Claude Rains as a French policeman because he was already under contract to the studio. Julius later admitted, "We were wrong. Rains was great!"
In the market scene, as one of the Resistance members is shot, the wall of the building behind him is painted with a picture of Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain and a quote attributed to him. In English, the quote reads, "I keep my promises, even those of other people".
Rick and Ilsa standing over Sam's piano in Paris was the first scene to be shot. Filming a tender love scene with two actors who had just met was not planned, but the filming of Now, Voyager (1942) had gone over schedule, so Paul Henreid and Claude Rains were not available.
In the original script, then titled "Everyone Come to Rick's", Ilsa was not a "virtuous" woman. She was living with an already married American businessman. It was Rick who left her when he found out. When she and Victor come to Casablanca, she is not married to him, either.
After the terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, 2015, the La Marseillaise clip was shared by thousands on social media in solidarity with France. During the evacuation of the Stade de France, evacuees were recorded singing La Marseillaise, just as the cafe patrons do in the movie.
Paul Henreid was loaned to Warners for the role of Victor Lazlo by Selznick International Pictures against his will. He was concerned that playing a secondary character would ruin his career as a romantic lead.
Neither Ingrid Bergman nor Paul Henreid wanted to appear in the film. Bergman thought the material little more than fluff, whereas the role in For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), one she desperately wanted to do, would do wonders for her career. Once the wrap date for "Casablanca" approached, she realized happily that she would be able to film the Ernest Hemingway story after all. For his part, Henreid had just starred with Bette Davis in Now, Voyager (1942), and the thought of playing second banana to Humphrey Bogart and Bergman, not to mention Claude Rains, just didn't sound like a promising prospect. Fortunately, he reconsidered.
During Rick's flashbacks to Paris, he and Ilsa are shown dancing at a nightclub. The song to which they are dancing is "Perfidia". The theme of the song is a lover's betrayal, a hint at what Rick thought of Ilsa when she disappeared and now, when she reappears.
At a salary of $25,000 for five weeks' work, Conrad Veidt was the highest-paid actor on the set and on loan from MGM. His main competition for the Maj. Strasser role was Otto Preminger, under contract to 20th Century-Fox, for whom Darryl F. Zanuck had demanded the outrageous sum of $7,000 per week.
The dialogue spoken by Carl when he is serving the German couple seeking to emigrate to America translates as: "I am here already, Mr. Leuchtag. I have brought the finest cognac. The drink that is otherwise only for the employees."
The film ran into some trouble with Joseph I. Breen of the Production Code Administration (the Hollywood self-censorship body), who opposed the suggestions that Capt. Renault extorted sexual favors from his supplicants, and that Rick and Ilsa had slept together in Paris. Extensive changes were made, with several lines of dialogue removed or altered. All direct references to sex were deleted; Renault's selling of visas for sex and Rick and Ilsa's previous sexual relationship were implied elliptically rather than referenced explicitly. Also, in the original script, when Sam plays "As Time Goes By", Rick remarks, "What the--are you playing?" This line implying a curse word was removed at the behest of the PCA.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt returned from a wartime conference in Casablanca with Winston Churchill, he asked for a screening of the film at the White House. In Spanish, "casa blanca" means "White House."
The French dialogue between Yvonne and the French officer translates as, French Officer: "Hey you, you're not French to go out with a German like that!" Yvonne: "What are you butting in for?" French Officer: "I am butting in . . . " Yvonne: "It's none of your business!"
Claude Rains was a non-smoker. In most of his scenes he is smoking a cigarette. He never inhales, however, using the trick of drawing the smoke into his mouth, holding it for a moment, then puffing it out without ever drawing it into his lungs.
The original play was inspired by a trip to Europe made by Murray Burnett and his wife in 1938, during which they visited Vienna shortly after the Anschluss--the German takeover of Austria--and were affected by the anti-Semitism they saw. In the south of France they went to a nightclub that had a multinational clientele, among them many exiles and refugees, and the prototype of Sam.
The original unproduced play, "Everybody Comes to Rick's", was found by Irene Lee, who headed the story department at Warner Brothers, on a trip to office of Jack Wilk, story editor for Warner East Coast operations in New York, where the typed script had sat for a year. It arrived at Warner Bros. Studios to be read as a potential film project on the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
Conrad Veidt's wife was Jewish and that is one of the reasons why he had to flee Germany before he or his wife was arrested. Veidt was also involved an anti-Nazi activities among the German theatrical community, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the Nazi authorities.
Studio publicity in 1941 claimed that Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan were scheduled to appear in this film, and Dennis Morgan is mentioned as the third lead. This was never the case, however, and the false story was planted, either by a studio publicist or a press agent for the three other actors, to keep their names in the press. Meanwhile George Raft was angling for the part with Jack L. Warner, but Hal B. Wallis had been assigned to search for what would be Humphrey Bogart's next starring role. He wrote to Warner that he had found the next movie for Bogart and the role was perfect for him. Nobody else was ever considered for the part.
The scene in which Victor Laszlo leads the band and patrons of Rick's in singing "La Marseillaise" was copied from Jean Renoir's 1937 film La Grande Illusion (1937), in which French soldiers in a German POW camp sing the song as a similar gesture of defiance. In that film the song was led by a prisoner who was in drag for a show the prisoners were putting on.
The phrase, "I'm shocked--shocked!," comes from an earlier Warner Bros. film, Five Star Final (1931), in which it is spoken by Boris Karloff as a tabloid reporter who poses as a minister to get stories.
Humphrey Bogart was only 5'8". At no point is there a close-up shot of his full body including the shoes he wore, which included inserts to make him look about six feet tall, nor the "seat" of any chair he sat in. They had pillows/pads on them to make him look taller at the table.
The first scene that Michael Curtiz and company shot was one of the flashback scenes in Paris, which caused some problems for the stars--Humphrey Bogart because, in his own words, "I'm not up on this love stuff and don't know just what to do," and Ingrid Bergman because, as the script had not yet been finished, she didn't know whether her character was supposed to be in love with Rick or Victor Laszlo. Curtiz, who did not know himself, told her to "play it in between."
It is unclear where the line "Here's looking at you, kid" originated, but it definitely predated both this film and earlier stage work by Humphrey Bogart. On March 9, 1932--ten years previously--Eddie Cantor signed his name in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater and wrote, "Here's looking at you, Sid" (referring to Sid Grauman, owner of the theater). Cantor certainly meant it as a take-off on "Here's looking at you, kid", which evidently was a line in circulation at the time.
Although M.K. Jerome and Jack Scholl are listed in the opening credits for "Songs", they are in fact represented by only one song ("Knock on Wood"). The other song they wrote for this film, "Dat's What Noah Done", was cut from the picture.
Howard Hawks had said in interviews that he was supposed to direct this film and Michael Curtiz was supposed to direct Sergeant York (1941). The directors had lunch together, and Hawks said he didn't know how to make this "musical comedy", while Curtiz didn't know anything about "those hill people." They switched projects. Hawks struggled with how to direct the scenes that involved singing, namely the "La Marseillaise" scene. It is ironic to note that most of his other films involved at least one singing scene.
The uncredited Casey Robinson assisted with three weeks of rewrites, including contributing the series of meetings between Rick and Ilsa in the cafe. Howard Koch highlighted the political and melodramatic elements, while Michael Curtiz seems to have favored the romantic parts, insisting on retaining the Paris flashbacks.
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."
After hearing the French message via the loudspeaker, Rick predicts "Nothing can stop them now. Wednesday, Thursday at the latest they would be in Paris". In fact, the Germans entered Paris at the morning of June 14, 1940--a Friday.
The first writers assigned to the script were twins Julius Epstein and Philip Epstein, who, against the wishes of Warner Brothers, left at Frank Capra's request early in 1942 to work on the "Why We Fight" series in Washington, DC. While they were gone, Howard Koch was assigned. He produced some 30-40 pages. When the Epstein brothers returned after about a month, they were reassigned to "Casablanca" and--contrary to what Koch claimed in two published books--his work was not used. In the final Warner Bros. budget for the film, the Epsteins were paid $30,416, while Koch earned $4,200.
Producer David O. Selznick, to whom Ingrid Bergman was under contract, at first did not want to loan her out for the movie. After he heard rumors that Sweden might become an ally of Germany, he was afraid that her career might be in danger because she was Swedish. He changed his mind and loaned her out before her image might get tainted.
Producer Hal B. Wallis considered Hedy Lamarr for the role of Ilsa, but she was then under contract to MGM (which wouldn't release her) and she didn't want to work with an unfinished script anyway. She later portrayed Ilsa in a 1944 radio show based on movie scripts, "Lux Radio Theater". At the time both Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart were overseas entertaining the troops. Rick was played on radio by Alan Ladd.
The cigarette smoke seen in the cafe is not all from cigarettes. Stagehands "sprayed" smoke off-camera from some sort of handheld device. This is confirmed in the Blu-ray special features outtakes, possibly on regular DVD special features.
The music heard over the film's opening credits was a retread: composer Max Steiner had originally written and used the theme for The Lost Patrol (1934). Steiner slightly altered the tempo and instrumentation of this theme music for this film.
In the play, the Ilsa character is an American named Lois Meredith; she does not meet Laszlo until after her relationship with Rick in Paris has ended and Rick is a lawyer. To make Rick's motivation more believable, Hal B. Wallis, Michael Curtiz, and the screenwriters decided to set the film before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Howard Koch was instructed to start the screenplay all over again, paying particular attention to Rick's background and the ending, while the Epsteins were struggling with their version. Writers Casey Robinson and Lenore J. Coffee were asked to critique the two versions and found much merit in both, though Robinson thought the romantic angle lacking and was subsequently tasked with ramping this up.
Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein finished their screenplay three days before the film began shooting; Howard Koch completed his two weeks after shooting had begun. All three were on call throughout the entire shooting period even though the Epsteins had been summoned to Washington to work on Frank Capra's "Why We Fight" documentary series.
Jack Benny may have had an unbilled cameo role, as claimed by a contemporary newspaper advertisement and reportedly in the "Casablanca" press book. When asked in his column "Movie Answer Man", Roger Ebert first replied, "It looks something like him. That's all I can say." He wrote in a later column, "I think you're right."
In many of the film's better-known posters, the shot of a trench coat- and fedora-wearing Humphrey Bogart wielding a gun was pulled almost exactly from a publicity shot from an earlier Bogart film, Across the Pacific (1942), by poster artist Bill Gold, who repainted it in a photorealistic style.
As of December 31, 2016, the only surviving person from the cast and crew is Robert Aisner, who is credited as miscellaneous crew and worked as the technical advisor. He was born March 23, 1908, making 108 years old at the time of this writing.
What may seem to us like a throw-away line at the end of the movie, about Rick going to the Free French garrison at Brazzaville, would have meant much more to the audience when the film was released. In mid-1942 when the film was probably still in production, there was a major diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and Vichy France. The Vichy government under Pierre Laval strongly protested the appointment of a U.S. consul general in Brazzaville, the capital of French Equatorial Africa, without their consultation. The U.S. government made it very clear that they intended to deal with Free French forces wherever they were in effective control, as they were in Brazzaville.
During the flashback, Rick and Ilsa hear artillery fire and Rick says, "it's Germany's new 77" which was incorrect as the Germans didn't use the 77 in World War II. In the German version, Rick calls it the "Achtkommaacht" (the notorious German WW2 8.8 cm gun). While "Achtkommaacht" would translate technically correct to the gun caliber "eight point eight", the gun was commonly referred to only as the "Achtacht" or "eight-eight".
"La Marseillaise" was written in 1792 by Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle in Strasbourg after the declaration of war by France against Austria, and was originally titled "Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin" ("War Song for the Rhine Army"). It is used by Laszlo and a group of Rick's patrons to drown out a group of German soldiers singing "Die Wacht am Rhein" ("The Watch on the Rhine").
Casey Robinson, one of the screenplay writers, refused to take co-credits for working on the movie because he only took credits when he was the only screenwriter on a movie. Because of that he didn't get an Academy award for Best Screenplay.
Oscar-winning screenwriters Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein are the grandfather and great-uncle, respectively, of baseball executive Theo Epstein, who helped break two of the longest Major League Baseball World Series championship droughts in history: the Boston Red Sox's "Curse of the Bambino" in 2004 after 86 years and the Chicago Cubs' "Curse of the Billy Goat" in 2016 after 108.
The young Bulgarian wife desperate to leave Casablanca, played by Joy Page, described the situation in Bulgaria in 1942 as "hell" and probably described some kind of harassment of Bulgarian citizens. That is not actually true. Although an ally of Nazi Germany since March 1, 1941 (not by choice but by coercion), Bulgaria kept its independence. The Bulgarian government successfully defended its own citizens and even helped many Bulgarian Jews flee the country, for which it was thanked after the war by the Israeli government.
Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) never tells Victor, her husband (Paul Henreid), that she loves him. The closest she gets is when he professes his love for her, and she says, "I know." However, she tells Rick (Humphrey Bogart) of her love for him in his flat when she comes for the letters of transit.
Prior to the film's release, gossip items circulated that Humphrey Bogart was taking Swedish lessons from Ingrid Bergman and that Paul Henreid had adopted his father's gardener's two daughters, refugees from Europe. Neither story, as it happens, was true.
The background of the final scene, which shows a Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior airplane with personnel walking around it, was staged using midget extras and a proportionate cardboard plane. Fog was used to mask the model's somewhat unconvincing appearance. Nevertheless, Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando, FL, purchased a Lockheed 12A for its Great Movie Ride attraction, and initially claimed that it was the actual plane used in the film.
In opening sequences when Major Strasser arrives in Casablanca by plane, the aircraft depicted is an model of a single engine Fokker F.VII transport, a major Dutch designed airliner famous from the mid 1920s. The Nazis had one of the most advanced Air Forces in the late 1930s to early 1940s, when this film takes place, and Strasser would have likely arrived in an all-metal Junkers tri-motor. The F.VII's, which were made of wood, metal tubing and fabric covering, were upgraded to tri-motor configuration in the mid-20s while single engine variants(as seen in this film) were still in service mainly in Europe. A later larger version called the F.10 also made of wood and fabric crashed in 1931 killing Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne. The F.VII's and their later variants were taken out of service nearly around the world and replaced by all-metal transports i.e. the DC-3 and in Germany Junkers all-metal designs. While it's not impossible, it is improbable that the advanced nature of German aviation would have been using an outmoded Fokker F.VII as a transport in 1942.
The set for Rick's was built in three unconnected parts so the internal layout of the building is indeterminate. In a number of scenes the camera looks through a wall from the cafe area into Rick's office.
The quote "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine" Inspired the title of the Fall Out Boy song "Of All the Gin Joints In all the World" from their 2005 album "From Under the Cork Tree".
The German song drowned out by "La Marseillaise" is "Die Wacht am Rhein", whose lyrics mentions the German defeat of a French army. The song was put into use by Germany as a second national anthem after the defeat of the French army in the Franco-Prussian War. It regained popularity as a patriotic tune during WWI and again in WWII, so as the song for the German officers it adds an extra layer of symbolism: It was the soundtrack to three very bloody wars against Germany, and two humiliating defeats for France.
Contrary to popular belief, the line "Play it again, Sam." is not spoken in this movie. Ingrid Bergman does say, "Play it, Sam." and "Play it once more. For old time's sake." Despite this "Play it again, Sam" became a popular line. So popular that it was in fact spoken by the late Roger Moore in the James Bond film "Moonraker" for example.
The medals worn by Captain Renault (insofar as they can be identified in a black-and-white film) appear to be, from left to right: the Legion of Honor, the 1914-1918 Inter-Allied Victory Medal and the 1914-1918 Commemorative War Medal.
Peter Lorre, who played Ugarte, was born in what is now Slovakia and had changed his name from László Löwenstein at the beginning of his acting career. László is the name of one of the main characters, Victor Laszlo, played by Paul Henreid.
In 1943 Jack Benny parodied the movie on his radio show, with himself as Ricky Bogart and Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson as Sam. At one point in the sketch Ricky asks: "Sam, Sam, play that song for me again, will you?" This is almost certainly the origin of the "Play it again, Sam" myth.
The timing of the movie's release benefitted greatly from the late 1942 invasion of North Africa near Casablanca, and the subsequent 1943 Casablanca summit conference between Churchill and Roosevelt. Amazingly, German intelligence found out in advance about the Casablanca Conference, but dismissed the opportunity to try to disrupt it because they thought Casablanca was a coded reference to the intended site of a conference at the White House, which is the English translation of "casa blanca".
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Ingrid Bergman's line "Victor Laszlo is my husband, and was, even when I knew you in Paris" was almost cut from the film because during that time it was deemed inappropriate for a film to depict or suggest a woman romancing with another man if she were already married. However, it was pointed out that later in the film she explains that she had thought Laszlo was dead at the time, and the censors allowed the line to stay in.
No one knew right up until the filming of the last scene whether Ilsa would end up with Rick or Laszlo. During the course of the picture, when Ingrid Bergman asked director Michael Curtiz with which man her character was in love, she was told to "play it in between". Since the ending was not the final scene shot, there are some scenes where she *was* aware of how everything would turn out, and these include the scene in the black market with Rick and the scene in the Blue Parrot where Ferrari offers the Laszlos one exit visa.
The last line is one of the most misquoted lines in all of film history. The correct line is, "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." It has been quoted as, "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship" or "I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship." This line was a last-minute addition, thought up by producer Hal B. Wallis and dubbed in by Humphrey Bogart after filming was completed.
Several times the writers discussed having Rick leave with Lois/Ilsa, but this was always rejected (and the censors would not have allowed it with her married to Victor). Their major problem was to make it plausible that despite clearly loving Rick, she would leave with Victor; the final scene was rewritten many times until this was achieved.
Just before he shot Maj. Strasser (Conrad Veidt), Humphrey Bogart ad-libbed the line, "All right, Major, you asked for it." But Hal B. Wallis pointed out that this made it look as though when Strasser drew his gun first it was self-defense. Veidt was recalled and the scene re-shot without the added line, but the original version was used in the trailer for the movie.
The Allies invaded Casablanca in real life on 8 November 1942. As the film was not due for release until spring, studio executives suggested it be changed to incorporate the invasion. Warner Bros. chief Jack L. Warner objected, as he thought that an invasion was a subject worth a whole film, not just an epilogue, and that the main story of this film demanded a pre-invasion setting. Eventually he gave in, though, and producer Hal B. Wallis prepared to shoot an epilogue where Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains hear about the invasion. However, before Rains could travel to the studio for this, David O. Selznick (whose studio owned Bergman's contract) previewed the film and urged Warner to release it unaltered and as fast as possible. Warner agreed and the premiered in New York on November 26. It did not play in Los Angeles until its general release the following January, and hence competed against 1943 films for the Oscars.
Ingrid Bergman considered her left side as her better side, and to the extent possible that was the side photographed throughout the film, so she is almost always on the right side of the screen looking towards the left regardless of who is in the shot with her. However, there are several shots where she is to the left and Humphrey Bogart is on the right, including the flashbacks to the street scene in Paris (0:41:50) and the scene at the window (0:43:40). There are also several scenes where Bergman is centered between Paul Henreid and Bogart, suggesting the triangle nature of their relationship; in these shots Henreid is usually to the left and Bogart is usually on the right, including the scene where she and Henreid enter the café at just before the famous "Battle of the Anthems" (1:07:40); the scene where Capt. Renault arrests Victor Laszlo (1:34:00); and at the end of the final airport scene (1:39:00).