how Casablanca was made

V1Tom Shone at The New Statesman:

Casablanca is best described as cinematic magic that occurred accidentally on purpose,” writes Rode in pointed rebuke of the film critic Andrew Sarris, for whom the picture was merely the “happiest of happy accidents” and Curtiz “the most divisive exception to auteur theory”. Auteur theory’s point-man in America, Sarris could no more countenance the idea that it might be the theory rather than Curtiz that is at fault – placing him in the “Lightly Likeable” category – than the old communist apparatchiks could conclude that their system was at fault rather than the people.

Curtiz was a “cinematic genius” said the screenwriter Robert Buckner who could “make a picture when he didn’t know what it was about”. How can you proclaim your boy an artist, his every work bearing his imprint as breath animates the body, when he is responsible for films as wildly different as the tough-knuckled Angels with Dirty Faces, the sweeping Charge of the Light Brigade, the effervescent The Adventures of Robin Hood, the svelte Mildred Pierce, and the most dearly be-loved film of all time, Casablanca. Oh, and White Christmas?

more here.