Smell of Popcorn

film reviews & musings by Max Lalanne

Have you seen the Casablanca making-of documentary?

Posted by Max Lalanne on June 12, 2012

It seems incredible now, but every major studio made a picture a week, fifty pictures a year. When we were shooting, Casablanca – it was just one of the fifty!” – Julius Epstein, screenwriter of Casablanca.

Having recently watched what is probably as close to being a “perfect” movie as is possible, the incomparable Casablanca, for the first time – yes, the first time – I was pleasantly surprised by the incredibly fascinating, in-depth making-of 1992 documentary that accompanied the film on the DVD – You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca. It’s a wonderful look at how the great American classic was created, full of marvelous trivia and tidbits, such as how the timeless story was found and adapted from a tiny, unproduced play titled Everybody Comes to Rick’s. How they actually shot the climatic airport scene at the Warner Bros studio (with a cut-out plane and midgets, filmed in perspective in one of cinema’s greatest tricks). How the now-iconic “As Time Goes By” song was nearly replaced (and only saved by the inability to reshoot due to star Ingmar Bergman’s new haircut). And even how there much difficulty finding a suitable ending that for most of the time, during the shoot, neither the actors nor the crew even knew who was staying at Casablanca in the end – something that sounds fitting for, you know, a Pirates of the Caribbean sequel, but one of the most celebrated films ever. Makes Casablanca even more of a wonder, I suppose.

I found an unfortunately chopped up, nine-minute version on Youtube, which I embedded below even if some of the fun stuff are missing, such as certain peculiarities of director Michael Curtiz. (Apparently, he used to keep buzzing and running around the set “as if someone was after him.” I’m paraphrasing, yeah, but it’s true.) You’ve probably all seen this, but if you haven’t…

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2 Responses to “Have you seen the Casablanca making-of documentary?”

  1. With the 70th anniversary of the film, lots of great material came out. I got a chance to see the new restoration in theaters back in April and it’s stunning. I’ll have to pop in my Blu-Ray to watch all the special features (this documentary included) sometime soon!

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