As Time Goes By

In short, Casablanca’s greatness seems to stem from the unpredictable alchemy that animated its creation. At least some of the credit there Isenberg assigns to the industrial-scale studio system itself: “This is the genius of the system, if you like, that this was very much an assembly line production. They were churning things out. There were contract writers at the studio, and they would get a series of scripts each week, each month, and they would work on those. I don't think anybody had an idea if it would all work out; quite famously, Bergman and Bogart were really, really unsure whether it would completely blow up." Isenberg again cites Bergman, who saw an almost mystical element in the film’s birth, and adds, “I would tend to agree with her. It does have something vaguely mystical about it; there was this big, pent-up need, a desire for the film that predates Casablanca. That need hasn't really gone away -- it certainly hasn't gone away in our current era.”

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