Surprising Behind The Scenes Stories From Casablanca

January 16, 2022

Casablanca, the 1942 romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz, starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid. britannica

“Casablanca”, an often-quoted staple of movie history, succeeded wildly despite a cavalcade of issues. The underdog script began life as a failed play, which Warner Bros. bought for a then-record $20,000. Despite its incredible success, trouble began brewing from the outset. The star, Humphrey Bogart, admitted [he] wasn’t “up on this love stuff and don’t know just what to do.” During filming, he also reportedly told Orson Welles, "I'm in the worst picture I've ever been in."

On top of that, the writer, Murray Burnett, had no interest in the actual Casablanca, ''I never had any desire to go there. Maybe I don't want to destroy the image of Casablanca which I created.'' In spite of these and many other aspects of the film going against it, the movie captivated audiences with incredible quotes, fiery chemistry, and immersive realism. As you’ll learn, none of those appeared likely during the making of “Casablanca”.

The movie was based on the unproduced stage play called Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison.

A Contentious Set

Audiences ate up the various relationships between the characters but in real life, the actors were either actively trying to get out of the film or completely dismissive of their co-stars. According to Geraldine Fitzgerald, one of the rare off-screen interactions between Bogart and co-star Ingrid Bergman “centered on how they could get out of that movie. They thought the dialogue was ridiculous and the situations were unbelievable.”

Thanks to an unfinished script, Bergman also never knew if her character was supposed to fall in love with Rick or Victor Laszlo. The director Michael Curtiz gave her the wildly helpful direction to “play it in between.”