HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Casablanca makes its premiere in New York City. The film continues to consistently rank highly on lists of the greatest films ever made because of its story, characters and music. Casablanca won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Director.
Humphrey Bogart, in his first romantic role, plays expatriot Rick Blaine, owner of Rick's Café Américain in Casablanca, Morocco. French Morocco is under Vichy (Nazi) at the time; French, British, American and German customers all frequent its storied bar and gambling halls. Most people in Casablanca are attempting to escape the Nazis by securing transport to Madrid and then the United States.
Ingrid Bergman plays Blaine's old flame, Ilsa Lund. The song "As Time Goes By," sang by Dooley Wilson playing Sam, is the two lovers' theme. "As Time Goes By" is number two on the AFI's Top 100 Songs. Paul Henried plays Lund's husband Victor Lazlo who is a famous fugitive from the Nazis. British actor Claude Rains turns in a top-notch performance as Captain Renault.
On November 24th, 2014, one of two pianos used in Casablanca for Wilson to play "As Time Goes By" sold for $3.4 million dollars on the auction block at Bonham's.
"Play it again, Sam" is often attributed to Casablanca. This is actually a misquotation. When Blaine is alone after seeing Lund earlier in the evening, he actually says "You played it for her, you can play it for me," and "If she can stand it, I can! Play it!"