Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

The Rise of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

“Of all the gin joints in the world, she walks into mine.” – Rick Blaine, Casablanca

The Most Timeless Romance Story Ever Told

Of all films that are considered to be the greatest ever made, every movie-critic’s list always includes classic wartime romance ‘Casablanca’.

The film was a portrayal of irrevocable love, set against the back-drop of World War II. Over the years, its cult status continues to grow.

The movie is based on the play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, ‘Everybody comes to Rick.’ The film was directed by prolific film director Michael Curtiz and was made by Warner Bros. Its production year was a promising one for Hollywood, with soon-to-be stars like Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman set to star in to it. The film was released during the middle of WWII and the release was rushed to coincide with a victory of the Allied Powers because of the story’s setting.

At the time of its release, the movie did not have a particularly successful opening but was considered a ‘solid’ opener. However, after winning a slew of Oscars, including ones for best director and best adapted screenplay, the movie’s status elevated and continued to grow into its cult status that it has today.

Humphrey Bogart’s Role as Rick

The role of Bogart as Rick Blaine was the first romantic role that Bogart ever played. Ultimately, it was this genre of roles which helped define the entire rest of his career. Cementing his talent for acting as the tormented lover and hopeless romantic in Hollywood gave him a leg-up on his competitors at the time, like Clark Gable who had established himself by way of his sex-appeal. 

Bogart was appreciated for his performance of Rick, whom he portrayed with panache, stoicism and torment. Traits that the character needed to show. Bogart’s fans have often noted how these emotions were often conveyed by the actor not through his body language, but in his eyes. It is this, many believe, that is the hallmark of his skills as a great actor.

We’ll Always Have Casablanca

The film was created with a budget of over $1 million. At the time, the costs came to $75,000 over-budget. The cost of purchasing the rights to the play alone costed the producer $20,000, which was the highest amount ever paid for a play until that point.

Casablanca and the rise of Humphrey Bogart

Many subsequent films have drawn on elements of ‘Casablanca.’ The film ‘Passage to Marseille’ (1944) reunited actors Bogart, Rains, Greenstreet, Lorre, and director Curtiz in 1944. Many have noted the similarities between ‘Casablanca’ and another late Bogart film, ‘To Have and Have Not’ (also 1944).

Revered film critic Roger Ebert, among many others, consider this film to be one of the best movies ever made. Its praises are often acclaimed to the ever-present theme of sacrifice throughout the movie and the optimistic feel brought on by the spectacular cast. The entire movie focuses on the trials and tribulations faced by people because of the circumstances they find themselves in, and fans find that aspect relatable.

This classic film meshes the perfect balance of entertainment, romance, and exquisite acting, a combination that few other films have been able to replicate to the same effect.

‘Casablanca’ has been called one of the most frequently broadcasted movies on American television, a fact which has solidified Humphrey Bogart’s position as ‘the greatest American actor of all time.’