Casablanca is an American romantic film produced in 1942. The film was directed and produced by Michael Curtiz, and the main characters on set were Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Borgat and Paul Henreid. Additionally, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre were also featured in the film. This film production was focused toward World War II. The main actor, Humphrey Bogart is torn between love and virtue. Bogart has to decide between his love for Ingrid and the right thing, which is, helping her and her Resistance leader husband escape from the City of Casablanca and go ahead with his fight against the Nazis. Casablanca is among the most famous movies ever produced. Unlike other films released then, Casablanca is the only film that is still being screened up-to-date. Notably, it is screened in most American Universities at the end of each semester.
This essay analyzes various aspects relating to the film Casablanca.
Initially, the Casablanca film was known as Everybody Comes to Ricks. This film had been based on Murray Burnet and Joan Alison, but at this, it had not been officially produced yet. Later on, Irene Diamond convinced Wallis the producer to buy the rights and own the film at $20,000 (Harmetz 23). It is believed this is the highest amount someone had bought an unproduced play in Hollywood at that time. The project was then renamed “Casablanca” and they started working on its production. The shooting began on May 25, 1942 and was effectively complete by August 3 the same year. The dedication of the shooting exercise at the studio quickened the entire process (Auge 45). It is worth noting that only sequences showing Major Srassers’ arrival were shot at Van Nuys Air Port, Paris. However, some of the shots such as the street used for exterior shoots had been built previously for another film dubbed The Desert Song.
Ricks’ scenes were built in three different parts that were not associated at all, making the inner appearance of the structure indeterminate. Furthermore, the locale of the ultimate scene shows the Electra Junior aircraft with staff walking around it. This was achieved by means of midget extras and a balanced cardboard plane. However, the models’ unconvincing appearance made producers use fog so that they could mask it and make it more appealing. Most people think that Bogart was taller than Ingrid was, but it is vice versa. Ingrid was roughly five centimeter taller than Bogart, and this made Curtiz have him position on blocks or at times be seated on cushions in the scenes that they were together. The last line (Louis, I think it is the beginning of the beautiful friendship) was exclusively written by Wallis, this made Bogart be called upon a month after they had completed the shooting so that he could record it. Previously, Curtiz wanted an additional scene to end the film. The idea was that Rick, Renault and involvement of Free French soldiers were on top of a boat, to slot in the Allies’ invasion of North Africa, in 1942 (Harmetz 29). The addition of the shoot was done away with after Claude Rains was not available for the take. David Selznick also suggested that it would be a blunder to amend the film finishing.
The Distribution, Exhibition and Reception of Casablanca
The film was to be released during spring in 1943. However, it was exhibited in the Hollywood Theatre, in the City of New York on November 26. The film had an overall excellent reception as it earned approximately $255,000 within ten weeks in the 1,500-seat theatre. Notably, there was a high level Casablanca conference amid Winston Churchill and Roosevelt inside the city. This was to be held on January 23, 1943, and thus, the official release was held then.
Casablanca was ranked position seven among the best selling films in 1943, though it was not a spectacular success at the box-office having taken roughly $3.8 million upon its U.S release. In North Africa, the film was prevented from being screened or being distributed, as they alleged it would trigger anger among Vichy followers in the area. The film’s reception was overwhelmingly positive. It led to positive remarks from film critics and dailies reviews. In the same year of release, it won three awards on the 16th Academy Awards.
Koch, who was a renowned critic then said the picture was good, and that was what the audience truly needed, adding that Casablanca was worth sacrificing for it. “The New Yorker” newspaper was brief and sincere in their comment about the film, they said it was tolerable. That year it also won three awards during the Academy Awards. These awards include best director, best picture, and best-adapted screenplay. These awards were significant because they marked an excellent reception for the film, Casablanca. However, the movie continued to grow and became more popular after then. It is alleged that by 1955 investors in the movie had earned approximately $6.8million from it (Jarvie 71).
Casablanca’s popularity also rose in 1957, when the Brattle Theatre of Cambridge screened it as a part of the season for old movies. Regarding its popularity, they started screening it at the end of each final exams week at Harvard University, and this is done up to date. According to research, this was the most frequent screened film in 1977 by American televisions. The Warner Brothers ensured the film was distributed sufficiently to different areas.
Cinematic and Extra-cinematic Determinants Regarding Its Production
Casablanca has several cinematic and extra-cinematic effects that were used to ensure it had immense appeal at all places and to different people. Some of the notable cinematic and extra-cinematic features include catch lights, softening gauze filter, and the crucifix. All these had importance in the filming. The shooting of Bergman was mainly done from her left side, with the softening gauze filter and lights to make her eyes shine. The effect was needed to make her face appear sad and tender.
Additionally, there is the use of bars across the characters and on the background to bring the concept of imprisonment and the crucifix to symbolize Free French Forces. There is also the use of the gloomy pictures noir and expressionist lighting on several scenes. In addition, the film has been given a classic look by the liquid camera work along with the environment as framing devices (Lebo 55).
Historical Circumstances and Historical Document in Making of Casablanca
This setting of Casablanca is 1942 during the World War II. Casablanca comes out as a symbolized and idolized version of the American participation in World War II. At the beginning, Rick claims that he sticks his neck out meant for no one. He stands by his words all through the movie but later on he discovers that there are other things worth fighting for and that his life is valuable. In relation to the U.S., leaders did not come out as freedom fighters during the World War II. It was until Japan attacked them that they came out to defend themselves.
Reviews and After the Release of the Casablanca Film in 1942
The film received both positive views and negative criticism from other quarters. Various daily newspapers and film critics came out and expressed their views about the film quality and continuity. The New York Times praised the Warner brothers for great picture quality and commended the grouping of emotion, the funny side and sorrow. On the other hand, the “Variety” newspaper exclusively praised great performance by Bergman and Henreid. The “Variety” newspaper wrote that the range of moods, events, anxiety, humor and stage show makes Casablanca an A- Class film. Roger Ebert views were that Casablanca is popular because all those characters were good, and will remain to be among the best of movies of all time, for many years to come. He went ahead and stated that he had never seen nor heard any negative sentiments about the film though individual sentiments can be criticized.
The views of Leonard Maltin were more similar to those of Ebert; he said that Casablanca would remain his favorite movie for a long time to come. However, despite all the positive sentiments towards the film, it did not lack criticism. Umberto Eco came out strongly and criticized it. Umberto claimed that going by any strict standards in film production Casablanca was a mediocre work. According to him, the change in the cast’s experience is not complex, but it is an indication of lack of consistency. Furthermore, he views Casablanca as a movie with low physiological credibility in its continuity. According to him, the film is more of a comedy.
Casablanca’s Box-office Figures, Budget and Audience Response
On its release in 1942, Casablanca was not a box-office hit though it still received good reviews from most newspapers and film critics. The film is believed to have cost a total of $ 1,039,000 (Osborne 44). The rights of owning the play were bought by Wallis at a cost of $20,000. Other costs were incurred on different parts of the production. As discussed above, the Casablanca film had an overwhelming response from the audience. This is evident because, in 1943, it was the seventh best selling movie in, America. In addition, in the same year it was awarded three times and got more than five nominations at Oscar Awards. The response of the audience has been noted even up to the present time. It is claimed that the Harvard University still films Casablanca at the end of every exam week and the turn up is always pleasing.
The Distribution, Exhibition and Advertising
The Warner brothers were responsible for the distribution and advertising of the film. They were responsible for making sure that the video reaches each continent so that they could sell more. This was a success because after a short period it had earned them income totaling up to millions of dollars. On the date of its release, the film was filmed at the Hollywood theatre in New York City. It is claimed that the Hollywood theatre holds up to 1,500 people. This was repeated at the official release in the same city to the gain of the conference that was going down, a meeting held between Churchill and Roosevelt. The distributor knew that the meeting between the two would bring many people to the city thus, create a market and a chance for advertising the film. The exhibition of Casablanca film is still on in some parts of the world such as the U.S. at the Harvard University. However, it has been highly restricted in North Africa.
Censorship and International Response
Casablanca is a highly censored romantic film. The need to censor it is to make the sex scenes invisible or eliminate them from the blocked. Notably, some of the places that have been censored are where Bergman was travelling around Europe and North Africa and sharing rooms with (Henreid) a man who was not her husband. Creatively, the screenwriters complicated the whole issue by making Bergman think that Henreid was dead when she met Rick and then the following morning while they are leaving by train Henreid is alive again. This censor brought out Bergman as an honest woman because she did not sleep with Henreid. Later on, she still exhibits her adulterous behavior by sleeping with Rick. Additionally, another censored scene involves Bergman going to Rick’s apartment to acquire a letter so that she can travel. According to the Warner brothers version file, it is clear that they had sex, but the other distributors file show that they never had sex.
This was corrected by dissolving and shooting the succeeding scene without any sign of the couch or anything that would suggest sexual affair. The censorship on Casablanca was important because the original material would be unacceptable if it came out in finished picture. Just like the positivity in the U.S., the international response was positive and encouraging too, as the film did well in most continents like Europe and Africa.
The film industry in the U.S. mainly faced technological change since the early 1940s. At around 1940, it was difficult to get a film with high picture and sound quality. The World War II majorly affected this, as everybody was focused there. However, technological changes were noted later. Casablanca was majorly characterized by colorization advancement. This happened in the 1980s. The colorized version of Casablanca was aired on televisions in 1984, though it elicited some controversies (Auge 66). The coloring was done by Tuner entertainment, and this led to earning a new copyright from the Library of Congress, who remarked that, as work well done. Three million viewers watched the colored version though; it did not make it to the top ten most watched cable videos of the week. As much as most people praised it as power of art, it still faced criticism from other quarters.
Economic Issues and Relevant Larger Movement in Culture
Since the release of the Casablanca movie in 1942, it has also played a mentionable role in the economy of the U.S. On its release, the film earned $255,000 in ten weeks time (Jarvie 33). Notably, by 1943, it had brought $3.7million and was ranked seventh among America’s best selling movies. This of course, earned the U.S. economy some good revenue collection, from the theatres and other places that people gathered to watch the film. Moreover, the film is still being screened in most colleges in the U.S. up to date (Osborne 65).
Remarkably, the film has not had a relevant larger movement in culture. People from different continents continue to enjoy the film, but are still reserved in their cultures.
In conclusion, Casablanca was an American romantic film produced in 1942. The film was directed and produced by Michael Curtiz; the main characters on set were Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman as well as Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt and Sydney Greenstreet. The film has had immense benefits for its producers in terms of both reception and cash collection. It was accepted in most parts of the globe except in North Africa where it was highly rejected by individuals. Most of the parts involving sexual encounter in the movie were censored to boost its appeal to different masses around the globe. It is worth noting that the movie Casablanca won many awards such as the Oscar Awards hence indicating its strength in the movie industry. Many colleges in the US continue to screen it for their students at the end of each semester hence creating a new experience in their minds. Casablanca film remains one of the oldest films that are still being watched by individuals around the globe.