This year marks the 75th anniversary of the release of Casablanca, perhaps the most beloved of all Hollywood films. Somehow, this love story set in war time seems as relevant today as when it first lit up the silver screen back in 1942. People who’ve never even seen the movie still recognize its famous lines, and references to Casablanca abound in novels, plays, musicals, and other productions.
In a new book, titled We’ll Always Have Casablanca, Noah Isenberg delves into the film’s fascinating history and considers why it has remained a revered part of our cultural landscape. No one anticipated Casablanca would have such lasting impact. But a cast of immigrants and iconic actors—including Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman —worked magic with a screenplay adapted from an un-produced play written by two unknowns. Casablanca went on to win Oscars for best picture, best director and best screenplay, and has enjoyed more revival screenings than any film in history.
Noah Isenberg is director of screen studies and professor of culture and media at The New School in New York City. He is the author of several previous books, including Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins, which was selected as a best film book of 2014 by The Huffington Post.