Study Guide

Casablanca Music (Score)

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Music (Score)

Still can't get "As Time Goes By" out of your head? Yeah, us either. Seems perfect for the film, right? Time went by, lovers still said "I love you," a sigh was still a sigh, Rick and Ilsa still had the hots for each other.

However, the song most associated with the film wasn't even written specifically for it. It was actually an old standard written a decade before by Herman Hupfeld for the Broadway show Everybody's Welcome. That musical closed after about three months, but we're still humming that song in the shower. It not only reminds us of Casablanca, but of our own distant pasts. It's sweet, and simple, and fit perfectly into Rick and Ilsa's story. But it also didn't make the cut.

The film's composer, Max Steiner, caught a case of Steineritis, and decided he wanted to replace Sam's song with one of his own creation. Really the only reason this never happened was because Ingrid Bergman had already cut her hair short for her next film, so it was too late to reshoot her scene with Sam. Definitely one of the most critical haircuts that has ever taken place in the history of cinema.

The rest of Steiner's music, however, created the perfect atmosphere throughout the rest of the movie. We're talking about the same guy who was behind the score for Gone with the Wind. He was responsible for arranging the hugely memorable "duel of the songs" between Strasser and Laszlo, as well as plenty of other music that helped to form an undercurrent of the necessary nostalgia.

Sadly, in our opinion, the score features a startling lack of cowbell, but that's why we're working on a remake. Gotta have more cowbell.

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