Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides's Reviews > Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca--Bogart, Bergman, and World War II

Round Up the Usual Suspects by Aljean Harmetz
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Feb 10, 2012

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bookshelves: movies, history
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Read from April 09 to May 22, 2012

This did a very good job of explaining the climate in which Casablanca was made: the studio system, the effects of the war on available labor, the Hayes Code, the HUAC hearings. There was also a lot of detailed research on how Casablanca was made. I think it will enhance my understanding of and appreciation for the movie. What I felt was missing, though, was an exploration of whether the movie was a faithful depiction of life in Casablanca during this time.

There was also a bunch of material that felt somewhat extraneous — lots of time devoted to what happened to the various actors and other personnel who appeared in Casablanca after the film. Plus, I could really have done without the various scholarly interpretations of the film. (Why do people take Freudian/Oedipal criticism seriously. Why.)
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Quotes Snail in Danger (Sid) Liked

“Writers of fiction embellish reality almost without knowing it.”
Aljean Harmetz, Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca--Bogart, Bergman, and World War II

Reading Progress

05/06/2012 page 102
25.0% "Resumed, after much YA digression. Interesting to read about the way the studio system worked."
05/07/2012 page 186
46.0% "Much as I am enjoying this book I think it's ruined "I Want to Be Peter Lorre" for me. Knowing how much he worried about being typecast as a villain and how he took drugs to get through making Mr. Moto movies ... yeah."
05/18/2012 page 246
61.0% "Blargh, I knew the Hayes Code was dumb, but I didn't realize it was actively horrifying. A Hayes Code reviewer on Confessions of a Nazi Spy: "Hitler and his gov't are unfairly represented ... To represent Hitler only as a screaming madman and a bloodthirsty persecutor ... is manifestly unfair, considering his phenomenal public career, his unchallenged political and social achievement ..." Blech. (likely from 1938)"
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