We’ll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, And Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie by Noah Isenberg (4 out of 5)
I grew up a huge Bogie fan. You can blame my Dad for that one too. As far back as I remember, WGN-TV out of Chicago would do a Bogie retrospective on New Year’s Eve. I would sit in front of that crappy little purple TV the rents got me and be transfixed. Well, complete disclosure here… eating a pizza or two may also have been involved. Then, they stopped doing it. This was before DVD’s, DVR’s, TCM, etc. I ended up getting a VCR eventually, and started buying old Bogie movies from the video store in town. Problem was, I watched them so much I snapped the videotapes frequently. For many years, my take away from stress was cueing up a Bogie movie and turning my phone off. And reading anything I could get my hands on. I still do, so I was jumping for joy when I saw this book arrive in my bookstore last week. It only took a day to read it. Good stuff. It is available for purchase today, and brought to us by W.W. Norton & Company. Cinemaphiles should get a copy.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the release of “Casablanca”. This book is a celebration of the movie, the creators and stars of the picture, the fans and foes, the history contained around and within the movie, and the incredible legend of the movie that continues to this day-75 years later. Calling it beloved is not a stretch, especially when confronted with facts that Isenberg sets before the reader. To grasp an idea of the magnitude of the little play crafted by two friends after an inspirational trip years before, one has to pick up this time by Isenberg. I learned so many things that have never been published before, not limited to, but especially important to, that time. The effect that the war and the anti-censorship committee had on the movie is among the eye-oprning revelations delivered. The delicate balance between the many creators and producers and Bogart and cast is examined in great detail. No production still is unturned in this extensive study of everything you wanted to know about this iconic movie. Another thing I really enjoyed about the book is that the author went into great detail about the effects it had on sociological angles as well. It truly is the quintessential study of a legendary film. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the movie, of Bogie, or of classic Hollywood films. Things were a hell of a lot different then than they are now, and this book is a great footnote in the ongoing case study. Go pick up a copy at your closest bookstore.