We'll Always Have Casablanca
The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie
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For the 75th anniversary of its premiere—the incredible story of how Casablanca was made and why it remains the most beloved of Hollywood films.
Casablanca was first released in 1942, just two weeks after the city of Casablanca itself surrendered to American troops led by General Patton. Featuring a pitch-perfect screenplay, a classic soundtrack, and unforgettable performances by Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and a deep supporting cast, Casablanca was hailed in the New York Times as “a picture that makes the spine tingle and the heart take a leap.” 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. It became so firmly ensconced in the cultural imagination that, as Umberto Eco once said, Casablanca is “not one movie; it is ‘movies.’ ”
We’ll Always Have Casablanca is celebrated film historian Noah Isenberg’s rich account of this most beloved movie’s origins. Through extensive research and interviews with filmmakers, film 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 screenplay, the controversial casting decisions, the battles with Production Code censors, and the effect of the war’s progress on the movie’s reception. Isenberg particularly focuses on the central role refugees from Hitler’s Europe played in the production (nearly all of the actors and actresses cast in Casablanca were immigrants).
Finally, Isenberg turns to Casablanca’s long afterlife and the reasons it remains so revered. From the Marx Brothers’ 1946 spoof hit, A Night in Casablanca, to loving parodies in New Yorker cartoons, Saturday Night Live skits, and Simpsons episodes, Isenberg delves into the ways the movie has lodged itself in the American psyche.
Filled with fresh insights into Casablanca’s creation, production, and legacy, We’ll Always Have Casablanca is a magnificent account of what made the movie so popular and why it continues to dazzle audiences seventy-five years after its release.
- February 2017
- 6.5 × 9.6 in
/ 336 pages
- Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, Singapore and Malaysia, but excluding the British Commonwealth.
Endorsements & Reviews
“Combining trenchant analysis of the film’s poetic and political power with a well-researched and playful account of its legacy, We’ll Always Have Casablanca is a necessary book and perhaps even an urgent one.” — Noah Gittell, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Fascinating, packed with fun trivia . . . but also profoundly relevant in [its exploration] of how our politics and creative industries not only hold a mirror to each other but also to the nation.” — Rebecca Prime, Los Angeles Times
“Observant and astute . . . Isenberg makes some insightful contributions to Casablanca lore.” — Gerald Bartell, The Washington Post
“A treasure trove of facts and anecdotes.” — Peter Biskind, New York Times Book Review
“Four out of four stars. . . . Isenberg’s great contribution is tying together the production [of Casablanca] and its legacy.” — Bill Desowitz, USA Today
“Noah Isenberg brings an appropriate passion to his pop analysis of [Casablanca], along with a delight of details and some savvy reassessments.” — John Anderson, Newsday
“Hugely entertaining and insightful. . . . Isenberg has produced a delightful page-turner of a book.” — David Mikics, Tablet
“We''ll Always Have Casablanca is a hugely readable and entertaining look at how Casablanca came to be, and how it came to be such an indelible part of American pop culture.” — Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel