What is the link between Morocco and one of the best romantic movies of the 40’s?

The 1940s movie with the same name as the biggest Moroccan city, “Casablanca”, was one of the most acclaimed films in Hollywood. Shot for just under a million dollars, it brought in four times as much when it was exported to theaters in the United States.

The film’s success has not diminished over the years. Casablanca is regularly cited in various polls as one of the best feature films of all time. It is definitely a cult work of art that marked the 1940s in the United States.

Performed mainly by Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, and Claude Rains, it takes place during the Second World War in the city of Casablanca in Morocco, then controlled by the Vichy government. The major subject of the film is Rick Blaine’s conflict between love and virtue: he must choose between his feelings for Ilsa Lund and his need to do what is right to help her husband, the hero of the Resistance, Victor Laszlo, who must flee Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.


A worldwide success

The film was an immediate success that has not been denied since. Most critics have praised the charismatic performances of Bogart and Bergman, the chemistry between the two stars, the depth of the fictional characters, the finesse of the script and the emotional impact of the film as a whole.

Casablanca received eight Oscar nominations in 1944, only to win three statuettes in the end. it was awarded in the categories of Best Screenplay, Best Director for Michael Curtiz and Best Film and was also nominated for Best Music, Editing, Cinematography, Best Supporting Actor for Claude Rains and Best Lead Actor for Humphrey Bogart.

The film is considered as the third-largest American film, after Citizen Kane and The Godfather, by the American Film Institute, the world-renowned conservatory where a dedicated group of film and television professionals mentors the talents of tomorrow.

This movie is today definitely one of the greatest masterpieces in the history of cinema. Yet, the actors had strong doubts about its quality because of its chaotic shooting, to say the least.


Few complications…

Indeed, the filming of Casablanca was quite chaotic due to various factors. First of all, no one knew how the story ended since the script of the film was written as it was being shot. A situation that caused a lot of discontent among the actors as Humphrey Bogart and director Michael Curtiz often argued on the set.

Did you know that Ingrid Bergman didn’t even know which of the two men her character would choose at the end of the movie? It was only two weeks before the end of shooting that the decision was made. Before knowing this information Michael Curtiz advised his actress to play it “between the both of them”. It was particularly because of this persistent uncertainty that the main actors had many doubts about the quality of the film and were in a hurry to finish shooting.

While the fact that the film script was not completed before shooting began made the shoot eventful, this was not the only thing that complicated the actors’ task. Indeed, during the shooting of this film, Humphrey Bogart was also subject to the daily anger of his wife who thought he was having an affair with Ingrid Bergman. A delicate situation that certainly didn’t help the actor to concentrate on his acting.


A surprising fact

But you also know what the funny thing is? The movie wasn’t even filmed in Morocco. In fact, Not only are the locations presented in the film are not in Casablanca, but only one of them was shot outside. The vast majority of the scenes were shot at Warner Studios in California and the only time the script required an outdoor environment was at the airport, for which a Los Angeles airfield was used. However, we have to precise that the “scenes” of the fictional Casablanca in the movie has been said to look more like Tangier, another Moroccan city.

One more interesting fact is that “Rick’s Café Américain” was inspired by the El Minzah Hotel in Tangier. And there is now a Rick’s Café in the Moroccan city of Casablanca, to the delight of the many tourists who travel to Morocco.

Thanks to this emblematic film, the name of Casablanca will always remain associated with this beautiful city of Morocco.

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