“December 07, 1941 … a date that will live in infamy”. ("Address by the President of the United States," Dec. 8, 1941) It is a time of unrest. A time of uncertainty. A time of tragedy, of innocence lost, and a world at war. Fear is rampant and patriotism has engorged the heart of every American. Men and boys flock by the thousands to recruiting offices. Resources are rationed, and victory gardens are planted. Self-sacrifice and unity are the order of the day. On December 08, 1941, while the President was addressing Congress, an unpublished play entitled “Everybody Comes to Rick’s” arrives at the Warner Brothers story department. It is slated to be just one of the 50 or so movies to be filmed the following year. It is renamed “ Casablanca”, and production begins in May of 1942. The timing of this movie could not have been more perfect. It is a love story. It is a story of self-sacrifice. It is a story of patriotism and good versus evil. Just the sort of story that will make the American public, who had been desperately trying to avoid entering into a world-conflict, feel uplifted and righteous in their personal loss and suffering.
Set against the backdrop of exotic Morocco, Casablanca has become a melting pot of refugees from around the world. People desperately seeking to evade the onslaught of Hitler’s NAZI German army, and begin life again in the cradle of the free world. Most of these people have risked everything, their fortunes, their families, their very lives only to end up stuck in the hot desert sand of Africa. Only to find after their torturous journeys, that the price of freedom has skyrocketed, and they have little remaining with which to barter. As the story opens, we see a panoramic view of the overcrowded marketplace. We see young and old, men and women, Arabs, Jews, Europeans, Americans and Africans all desperate to either buy or sell. To leave Casablanca, one must obtain the...