Play it again, Sam", "Here's looking at you, kid," ""Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." Enough said. Seventy years have gone by since the love affair began between moviegoers of each succeeding generation and filmdom's most famous love story, "Casablanca."
The screenplay was written as the film was being produced, World War II had left Hollywood without leading men, and Humphrey Bogart was cast at the last minute, substituting no less than Ronald Reagan. The studio had been thinking of Hedy Lamarr rather than Ingrid Bergman in the starring role, and the story wasn't going to be set in Morocco but in Lisbon.
Rick and Ilsa, the lovers whose private circumstances and the historical moment were bent on separating, gave the classic Hollywood drama a dose of bitterness, particularly in that realistic ending so unusual for the period. A love affair at the wrong time and the wrong place, whose passion was unable to overcome not just adversity but merely what would be best for everyone. A blow to second chances and a win for defeat.
This was the perfect couple as seen through the magic lens of the camera, since Bogart had to stand on boxes and pillows to make up for the Swedish actress being five centimeters (almost 2 inches) taller than he was. And though the song "As Time Goes By" takes the two back to their past, the lovers remain unchangeable in the eyes of the audience no matter how much time passes.
"Casablanca" premiered on Nov. 26, 1942 without great acclaim but became a classic, perhaps because it never pretended to be a great love story, and love comes when least expected. EFE