Warner Bros. release of Hal B. Wallis production. Stars Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid. Features Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. Directed by Michael Curtiz. Screenplay by Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, from a play by Murray Burnett and Joan Scholl; songs by M.K. Jerome and Jack Scholl; camera, Arthur Edeson; editor, Owen Marks. At Hollywood, N.Y. starting Nov. 20, ’42. Running time: 99 MIN.
“Casablanca” will take the b.o.’s of America just as swiftly and certainly as the AEF took North Africa. Despite the fact that the fortunate turn or military events has removed the city of Casablanca, in French Morocco, from the Vichyfrance sphere and has thus in one respect dated the film, the combination of fine performances, engrossing story and neat direction make that easily forgotten. Film should be a solid moneymaker everywhere.
Heavy advertising — exploitation campaign being given the picture by Warners should also count at the b.o. It’s designed — as was the quick release of the film after General Eisenhower’s forces marched into the African city — to take advantage of the publicity attendant to military events involving Casablanca. In other words, WB, instead of being dismayed at the town’s changed status, is wisely cashing in on America’s newborn familiarity with the title.
Exhibs, in selling the picture, will do well to bear in mind that it goes heavy on the love theme. Although the title and Humphrey Bogart’s name convey the impression of high adventure rather than romance, there’s plenty of the latter for the femme trade. Adventure is there, too, but it’s more as exciting background to the Bogart-Bergman heart department. Bogart, incidentally, as a tender lover (in addition to being a cold-as-ice nitery opera-tor) is a novel characterization that, properly billed, might itself be good for some coin in the trough.