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Here’s Looking at You, Kid: 70 Years of Casablanca

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Seventy years ago, on Thanksgiving Day, 26 November 1942, one of the most popular films of all-time, Casablanca premiered at the Hollywood Theater in New York City. Initially scheduled for release in June 1943, the premiere was hastily moved up to capitalize on publicity gained by the Allied landings in North Africa and eventual capture of Casablanca in November. The nationwide release wouldn’t be until 23 January, during the Casablanca Conference. Demonstrating the popularity and power of the film, Roosevelt’s Headquarters during the conference was referred to in code as “Rick’s Place.”

The classic film, which features a number of exiled and refugee European actors and crew, is in essence an anti-fascist propaganda piece in which Casablanca is portrayed as a waiting room for the safe haven of American shores. Casablanca exemplifies themes of romance, intrigue, internationalism, and ambiguity of character. As the 1942 trailer declares, the film is the “saga of six desperate people, each in Casablanca to keep an appointment with destiny.”

Post by Curator Kimberly Guise.

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