(Feb. 11-14) — Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine has dropped out of World War II to float between tables at his nightclub in Casablanca when who should come along but Ingrid Bergman, the girl he lost when the Nazis rolled into Paris, and a reminder of his former ideals. So completely has this wartime romance been absorbed into the popular imagination that it’s easy to forget how great of a film it is until you see it again. 

Complete with countless memorable lines and an iconic song, Michael Curtiz's "Casablanca" (1942) is one of the most beloved films of all time; it is also a film with loads of Jewish backstory, from author Murray Burnett (who had personally smuggled Jewish relatives out of Nazi Europe) to producer Hal Wallis to screenwriters Julius and Philip Epstein and Howard Koch to director Michael Curtiz to composer Max Steiner and many refugee actors:

Paul Henried, who played Bergman's husband, fled Austria when his refusal to join the Nazi party destroyed career prospects there. Conrad Veidt, who played the heavy, Major Heinrich Strasser, was a German film star who offically declared himself a Jew as a protest to the Nazis, fled Germany with his Jewish wife and donated the greater part of his fortune to anti-Nazi endeavors. Peter Lorre (born László Löwenstein), who played Signor Ugarte, was a popular Jewish-German film actor who fled the Nazis in 1933. Madeleine LeBeau (Rick's jilted girlfriend) had just made a harrowing escape from Nazi Paris with her Jewish French movie star husband Marcel Diallo (Emil the croupier, who says, "Your winnings, Sir."), whose entire family later died in the camps. 

Other Jewish refugees in the film included Curt Bois (the pickpocket), who returned to his successful film career in Germany after the war; S. Z. Sakall (Carl the waiter), whose three sisters later died in the camps; Helmut Dantine (Jan, the Bulgarian roulette player), who had already been imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp; and countless other actors in smaller roles. Witnesses on the set said those were real tears in the dueling anthems scene.



Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - 7:30pm



7 Ludlow St.
New York, NY 10002


212 660 0312

Featured in

Film & Television