Home
Textual Analysis
Film History
Independent Study
Presentation
Film Project
Case Studies
Forum
Student Work
Shop EU
Shop US
Links
About
IB Film - Case Studies
Casablanca
Director: Michael Curtiz 

Release Date: 23 January 1943 (USA) 

Genre: Drama, Romance 

Awards: Won 3 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations 

Synopsis: Classic film set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II: An American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

 

  

 

The entire picture of Casablanca was shot in the studio, except for the sequence showing Major Strasser's arrival, which was filmed at Van Nuys Airport. The street used for the exterior shots had recently been built for another film. 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 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 unconvincing appearance. Nevertheless, the Disney-MGM Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida purchased a Lockheed 12A for its Great Movie Ride attraction, and initially claimed that it was the actual plane used in the film. Film critic Roger Ebert calls Wallis the "key creative force" for his attention to the details of production. Some interesting facts are that the difference between Bergman's and Bogart's height caused some problems. She was some two inches (5 cm) taller than Bogart, and claimed Curtiz had Bogart stand on blocks or sit on cushions in their scenes together. Particular attention was also paid to photographing Bergman. She was shot mainly from her preferred left side, often with a softening gauze filter and with catch lights to make her eyes sparkle. The whole effect was designed to make her face seem "ineffably sad and tender and nostalgic Wallis wrote the final line: "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship" after shooting had been completed. Bogart had to be called in a month after the end of filming to dub it. Dark film noir and expressionist lighting is used in several scenes, particularly towards the end of the picture. Rosenzweig argues these shadow and lighting effects are classic elements of the Curtiz style, along with the fluid camera work and the use of the environment as a framing device. 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; however 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."

Isabella Bogdain

 
 

  

   

free hit counters