Everybody comes to Rick’s bar, including expat Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart) former lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), in one of Hollywood’s most-loved romantic melodramas. Set in Vichy-controlled Morocco during WWII, Casablanca revolves around a nightclub run by cynical American expat Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), where resistance fighters, immigrants and Nazis converge to police or partake in an illicit economy. In this colourfully exotic setting, created entirely on the Warner Bros studio lot, an affair is rekindled between Rick and Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), the latter now the wife of a resistance leader.
Directed by Hungarian refugee Michael Curtiz, Casablanca exemplifies the consummately crafted Hollywood drama, in which all the elements seem to have fallen alchemically into place. The screenplay sparkles with memorable lines, the supporting cast overflows with indelible performances, and the whole is given an urgent, topical edge by being made on the cusp of America’s involvement in the war.
“Conventional wisdom holds that by the early 1940s, the Hollywood studio system was a well-oiled machine. In this case, it was as if the Model T assembly line had produced a Rolls-Royce.” Peter Debruge
“Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman put in performances that would define both of their careers. It was a match made in heaven. Also, it was a love story doomed from the very beginning.” Danielle Solzman
“The first time I remember falling head over heels in love with film – and with Ingrid Bergman.” Clara Bradbury-Rance