- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (February 14, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393243125
- ISBN-13: 978-0393243123
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 51 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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We'll Always Have Casablanca: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie 1st Edition
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“Isenberg gives us . . . a rich miscellany of material that will delight fans of both the film and Hollywood’s golden era. His research is clearly second to none.”
- Lucy Scholes, Times Literary Supplement
“Combining trenchant analysis of the film’s poetic and political power with a well-researched and playful account of its legacy, We’ll Always Have Casablanca is a necessary book and perhaps even an urgent one.”
- Noah Gittell, Los Angeles Review of Books
“Fascinating, packed with fun trivia . . . but also profoundly relevant in [its exploration] of how our politics and creative industries not only hold a mirror to each other but also to the nation.”
- Rebecca Prime, Los Angeles Times
“We'll Always Have Casablanca is a hugely readable and entertaining look at how Casablanca came to be, and how it came to be such an indelible part of American pop culture.”
- Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“A treasure trove of facts and anecdotes.”
- Peter Biskind, New York Times Book Review
“Four out of four stars. . . . A lively account of the making of the 1942 Warner Bros. classic and why it has endured as 'Hollywood's Most Beloved Movie.'”
- Bill Desowitz, USA Today
“A treasure trove of information . . . but also everything else you could ask for: the fascinating process of coming up with the script, the cast's relation on the set,and the movie's long afterlife in popular culture, right down to the latest SNL parody. Noah Isenberg has produced a delightful page-turner of a book, perfect for every movie fan.”
- David Mikics, Tablet
“As Noah Isenberg details in his excellent new book We’ll Always Have Casablanca, the 1942 film is a case study of how history gets depicted for popular entertainment, but it is also a powerful example of how the Hollywood machine produced work that intersected with political commitment while still holding fast to its romantic conventions.”
- Michael S. Roth, Chronicle of Higher Education
About the Author
Noah Isenberg is director of screen studies and professor of culture and media at The New School, the author of Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins and editor of Weimar Cinema, and the recipient of an NEH Public Scholar Award. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Top customer reviews
As for the book's content, there was little that was new, but it was the thematic structure that gave it resonance. Interesting -- when read against the background of today’s incendiary political and social landscape was the accusation of potential war mongering propaganda present in those days of WWII. Also, the fact that Jack Warner was already on a Nazi hit list due to the screening of one of his earlier films at Berchtesgaden. Also interesting was the timing of the film's release - Thanksgiving 1942, within days of the takeover of northern Africa by American forces. The timing of this resonated with audiences of the day, as a delay of even a week would mean Moroccan Jews were designated for deportation to Germany and death camps.
In particular, I loved the chapter dealing with the cast, not just the beloved main characters, but with every one, even the smallest part. Pauline Kael, who was not a fan of the movie, nevertheless pointed out the contribution of emigre population particularly in large cafe scenes which benefitted from the polyglot of languages. She said that the picture would not have had the tone it did if Hollywood actors were cast, faking accents.
The final chapters, least successful, concern the attempts to broaden the story, colorize it, even the horrid (late, unlamented) attempt at a tv series in the '80s. Plans were hatched (and discarded, thank God), to follow Ilsa, Rick and Renault and to fashion their lives following the fog drenched scene on the tarmac, but that movie, made in a time when sequels were not what they are today, is perfect as it stands even if it's a story without a tidy ending. So, just leave it alone.
At that time I read several books and article on the movie and really thought that there was not much else to learn. And then I read WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE CASABLANCA. The book relates numerous vignettes about the author, the actors, the making of the movie and its legacy. The book successfully puts the movie and its message into historical context.
What concerns me is a vignette related at the end of the book, where the author talks about a speaker talking to an audience that did know Casablanca. To me such a person is culturally illiterate - but perhaps I should not be so harsh. There are many parts of current culture at I am illiterate about and those people would call me culturally illiterate. I just hope that we don't lose movies like Casablanca and its message.
This is a very quick read for the movie aficionado and the apprentice alike. It tells the story of a movie that typified a period in American history and conveys a message that should not be lost.
I admit that I'm a huge Casablanca fan; I've seen the movie dozens of times. So my liking of this book was almost certain. For folks who aren't big fans of the movie (what are those people called? Oh yeah... psychos), then this book might not be all that interesting. Recommended. (And watch the movie first.)