CASABLANCA: 80th Anniversary

Kensington and Chelsea Library in London hosted a two-part zoom tribute to the 80th anniversary of the release of CASABLANCA . (
Writer/broadcaster Stephen C. Smith, in Palm Springs, talked about the special ingredients of this film, of the cast and crew,many of whom had fled Nazi Germany.

Stephen summed up the film as a story of love, loyalty and courage and the struggle of desperate refugees.

I liked Stephen’s comment that music becomes a weapon – ( the Cafe Americaine scene with ‘La Marseillaise”.)

I didn’t  know that Casablanca was not seen by German audiences (I.e. West German) until 1952. Amazingly Warner Brothers agreed to the editing of the film to eliminate any mention of the war or the Nazis. As a result the film was shorn of 25 minutes and I believe Conrad Veidt’s scenes were deleted.

Conrad Veidt

Why did this happen? In an article at by Isabelle Ross in  2017, it was suggested that , although 7 years after the war’s end, the original story might stir up German nationalism .
In the truncated German dubbed version of 1952, Victor Laszlo becomes Victor Larsen, a Norwegian atomic physicist on the run from Interpol!
There is no “La Marseillaise “.
I checked Richard Anobile’s 1974 book on the film and I reckon all Conrad Veidt’s scenes , plus the deletion of the “La Marseillaise “ scene would amount to about 25 mins.

Typical of the dialogue changes which were made. In one scene Rick says to Renault ( referring to Laszlo): “He escaped from a concentration camp and the Nazis have been chasing him all over Europe.”

This becomes: “Victor broke out of jail and escaped many people before you.” 


German poster

The film received lukewarm reviews and it wasn’t until 1975 that it was re-dubbed with all the deleted scenes re-inserted.
You Tube has the trailer for the 1952 release and it is odd to see Bogie and hear a German voice.

It would be fascinating to see this version, though without subtitles rather difficult to understand!



Ingrid Bergman


Paul Henreid, Ingrid Bergman

Sydney Greenstreet as Senor Ferrari


Claude Rains

We smile when Rick says he came to Casablanca for the waters and Renault responds : “But we’re in the desert.”

Stephen Smith pointed out that Casablanca is a port city!


The plane carrying Laszlo and Ilsa  takes off.


CASABLANCA had the added publicity of President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill meeting in Casablanca, French Morocco in 1943 for the Casablanca Conference, at which the two leaders discussed strategy for the next phase of World War II.


Lots of controversy in the past about the colorisation of B&W  films.  This looks ok to me. Sometimes colour breathes new life into a vintage movie.


Alan Ladd, John  Loder, Hedy Lamarr

Lux Radio Theater broadcast of Casablanca in 1944 starred Alan Ladd, Hedy Lamarr and John  Loder

Conrad Veidt died of a heart attack in 1943, aged only 50. “ABOVE SUSPICION” was released after his death.

Will we ever forget the fantastic supporting players in “Casablanca.”

Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre ( as ‘Ugarte’)


13 responses »

  1. Watch for the unfortunate goof near the end as the epelets on the shoulders of Conrad Veidt’s overcoat appear and disappear a few times during the same scene. They should have re-filmed the scene when they saw that at the rushes, but apparently couldn’t be bothered to.

  2. Nice post. You’ve just reminded me that the BBC showed a fascinating documentary on the film and how it represents great screenwriting some time in the 1990s. I feel sure it was in at least two parts, shown on different nights, and I think it was fronted by Robert McKee. or is my memory playing tricks on me?

  3. I don’t recall ever seeing that documentary but I found a clip on YT of Robert McKee analysing a scene in the film. Very interesting.

  4. As the host of one of these talks, I thank you for this wonderful piece. It is always such a pleasure to have Steven do a presentation for us. He is one of the best!!!

    • Hi, Nicky. Great to hear from you.( and to see you in person!)
      I am so glad to have discovered your library’s zoom talks and especially your association with Stephen C. Smith.
      I’m not good with links – could you put a link for anyone who wants to follow your film talks?
      I am already looking forward to any other vintage Hollywood talks you do.

  5. Hi Vienna

    There you go. Steven has a talk coming up on May on Olivia De Havilland

      • Shadowsandsatin- contact me at and I’ll send you the link (love your blog)

  6. Vienna, thank you for this very good informative write-up of one of my favorite movies of all-time, CASABLANCA(1942). I first recall viewing it on tv’s WREC Channel 3 Memphis, Tennessee FRIDAY NIGHT MOVIE in 1971. I thought it was a top-notch movie then, and I still do today.

    First of all, I don’t see how I could enjoy CASABLANCA with no mention of WW II and the Nazis.’ It would be a whole different movie, although I guess I’ll view it someday, as a curio.

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