We'll Always Have Casablanca

We'll Always Have Casablanca

The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie

Book - 2017
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"The movie Casablanca was first released in 1942, just two weeks after the city itself surrendered to American troops led by General Patton. The film won Oscars for best picture, best director, and best screenplay, and would go on to enjoy more revival screenings than any other movie in history, and become firmly ensconced in the American cultural imagination. Through extensive research and interviews with filmmakers, critics, family members of the cast and crew, and diehard fans, Isenberg reveals the myths and realities behind Casablanca's production, exploring the transformation of the unproduced stage play into the classic movie. Isenberg particularly focuses on the central role refugees from Hitler's Europe played on the production--nearly all of the actors and actresses cast in Casablanca were immigrants. Filled with fresh insights, Isenberg's book is a magnificent account of what made this movie so popular and why it continues to dazzle audiences seventy-five years after its release." --
Publisher: New York :, W.W. Norton & Company,, [2017]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ℗♭2017
ISBN: 9780393243123
Branch Call Number: 791.43 ISE 2017
Characteristics: xvi, 334 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: We will always have Casablanca


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IndyPL_SteveB Dec 22, 2018

This is maybe the best book ever written about the movie *Casablanca*. Isenberg has done an immense amount of research on the film, apparently reading everything ever written about it, including the memoirs of several minor actors from the film. He also did interviews with anyone he could find still alive who had anything to do with the production.

The book is both lively and fascinating, with a particular emphasis on it being a film both about and BY immigrants. Only 3 actors with speaking parts in the film were born in the United States (Bogart, Dooley Wilson, and Joy Page). The author spends a lot of time letting us know the back stories of these immigrants and what happened to them afterwards. There are entertaining anecdotes about the filming (the actors didn’t always have a clear idea of where the story was going and were surprised at how effective the final version was). Isenberg also tries to sort out the different claims as to which of the many playwrights and screenwriters involved were responsible for which parts of the film. Apparently different writers were responsible for the immigrant background, the romance, the witty dialogue, and the patriotic themes. Somehow it all came together to make a whole bigger than the parts.

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