Made in 1942 and based on a unproduced play called Everyone Comes to Rick’s, the film starred Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains and Conrad Veidt. The film is set in 1941 Casablanca, before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Bogart is Rick, a burned out, cynical American who runs a bar / casino. He only looks out for himself. Peter Lorre is a criminal who has managed to get his hands on letters of transit by killing two Nazi Germans. He plans to sell them in the club and gives them to Bogart for safe keeping until the deal is made. Unfortunately for Lorre, evil Nazi German Major Heinrich Strasser (Conrad Veidt) is in town and the corrupt Captain Louis Renault (Claude Rains) wants to impress the Major by capturing Lorre as he tries to sell the papers.
Major Strasser is also in town for another reason. It seems that escaped freedom fighter, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) is on his way to Casablanca and is trying to escape to America and needs the letters of transit. Naturally the Germans would like Laszlo captured or killed. Laszlo has brought his wife with him, the beautiful Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) who it seems has a past history with Rick, thus thickening the plot.
As of late there have been rumours that Warner Brothers is going to make a unnecessary sequel to the film. Apparently Cass Warner, the granddaughter of Warner Brothers founder Harry M. Warner, has control of Casablanca co-screenwriter Howard Koch’s unpublished works and wants to produce a sequel that Koch wrote. This wouldn’t be the first time that Warner Brothers has tried to make a sequel and I’m sure it won’t be the last. There have been two sequel novels, one authorized (As Time Goes By) and one unauthorized (Suspects). Two forgettable TV spin-offs, one from 1955 with Charles McGraw and a few of the original cast playing different roles and one in 1983 starring David Soul, Hector Elizondo, Ray Liotta and Scatman Crothers. And outside of Warner’s attempts there have been several movie knock-offs like Caboblanco (Charles Bronson), Havana (Robert Redford) and Barb Wire (Pamela Anderson) that Warner Brothers had nothing to do with. You’d think celebrating a 70th anniversary and getting an excuse to re-release the film in a new box set would be enough but if there’s a way to squeeze a couple of more bucks out of people, I’m sure Warner will try.