Tourists are flocking to a bar in Morocco trying to find the spirit of Humphrey Bogart’s iconic, fictional nightclub, 80 years after the basic wartime movie Casablanca hit the silver display screen.
The Moroccan port metropolis entered the cultural creativeness of the United States at a key level in World War II, because of the moody romance starring Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund and Bogart as Rick Blaine.
Just days after its preliminary screening on Nov 26, 1942, American forces snatched Casablanca from Vichy management throughout Operation Torch, a string of allied landings in North Africa that helped change the course of the battle.
But Morocco was nonetheless underneath Vichy rule when the movie was made, so director Michael Curtiz shot his total masterpiece at Warner Brothers’ studios in California.
Decades later, former US diplomat Kathy Kriger opened a real-life “Rick’s Cafe” in Casablanca itself as a tribute to the movie.
Complete with cocktails and piano, the venue is modelled on Blaine’s eponymous bar, and have become an on the spot hit with vacationers when it opened its doorways in 2004.
“I absolutely had to come, even though I knew that the film wasn’t shot here,” stated Wendy, a vacationer from Vancouver, Canada. “The place is a unique experience, nostalgic and romantic. You have to see it once in your life.”
Fellow vacationer Alexandra, from Spain, stated she had not seen the movie however was “fascinated” by the place.
“In my imagination, the city of Casablanca is linked to Rick’s Cafe,” she stated.
We’ll all the time have Paris
Stepping into the stylish bar subsequent to Casablanca’s outdated metropolis looks like strolling again in time.
Tables are laid out on two ranges, amid sculpted stucco columns in a standard Moroccan type.
“It’s not an exact replica of the cafe in the film,” stated restaurant supervisor and pianist Issam Chabaa. “The only thing that was perfectly reproduced in the end was its spirit.”
The inside is suffering from reminders of the movie that impressed it – wrought iron candle holders, beaded lampshades, a jazz and blues repertoire from the period and posters of the movie.
Of course, the restaurant homes a piano, much like the one on which Dooley Wilson’s character Sam performed As Time Goes By – the theme music of Rick and Ilsa’s affair.
“All that’s missing is a roulette wheel and the smoky, dramatic atmosphere of the time,” stated Irish diner Tony.
He and his companions stated they weren’t cinema buffs, however may however recite traces from the movie.
“We’ll always have Paris,” quoted one, referring to Blaine and Lund’s romance shortly earlier than Nazi Germany invaded France in 1940.
Blaine recites the enduring line to Lund as he convinces her to half methods with him, sacrificing their love affair to assist her husband, a Czech resistance fighter, escape the Nazis.
Casablanca gave allied forces a propaganda enhance as they gained management of North Africa, which grew to become a springboard from which to liberate western Europe.
The movie’s US launch got here in January 1943 as president Franklin D. Roosevelt took half in the Casablanca Conference in preparation for that push.
Historian Meredith Hindley, writer of a ebook on wartime Casablanca, stated the movie shaped “part of the American war experience in a way that was never intended”.
“It just becomes part of the American cultural fabric,” she stated.
The film has remained one of Hollywood’s most beloved works.
American drummer Najib Salim, who has carried out at Rick’s Cafe for 15 years, described it as “timeless”.
“It will always be anchored in legend,” he stated. – AFP