The gin joint is Rick's Café Américain, the most popular spot in town. The woman is lsa (Ingrid Bergman). The man is Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart). The film is Casablanca, one of the greatest motion pictures of all time. On this day in 1942, the film had its world premiere at the Hollywood Theater in New York.
Casablanca featured one of the greatest love songs, As Time Goes By (Lyrics and music by Herman Hupfeld):
"You must remember this;
A kiss is still a kiss,
A sigh is just a sigh -
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by."
Based on the unpublished play, Everybody Comes to Rick's, the film began production without a finished script or a clear ending. But the scenes, characters, and dialogue have become memorable with time.
"I stick my neck out for nobody," said Bogart's character, the hard-drinking, tough cynic who loved and lost his great love Ilsa in Paris years earlier.
For Ilsa and Rick, in the midst of World War II, defeating the Nazis became more important then their needs or wants. "Oh, it's a crazy world. Anything can happen...Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time," the beautiful Ilsa urgently begged...
It's impossible to imagine any other actors playing the lovers, but producer Hal B. Wallis nearly hired Ronald Reagan and Ann Sheridan for the roles of Rick and Ilsa. The classic film won three Oscars, including Picture, Director, and Screenplay (Julius & Philip Epstein and Howard Koch).
"The more you see it the more the whole film gains resonance," raved reviewer Roger Ebert. "Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over-familiar. It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it."
Here's looking at you, kid.