Humphrey Bogart’s blunt assessment of Casablanca: ‘Ridiculous and Unbelievable!’ | Films | Entertainment


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Nicknamed Bogie, Humphrey Bogart is often considered the greatest actor in Hollywood history, thanks to a raft of iconic film parts across the generations. This afternoon, alongside fellow Hollywood darling Katharine Hepburn, Bogart stars in 1951’s The African Queen, which airs from 2.45pm on BBC Two. The classic World War 1 adventure is based in 1914 East Africa, and follows the story of Rose Sayer (played by Hepburn), and how when her home is destroyed by invading Germans, the missionary finds an unlikely hero in Bogart’s Charlie Allnut, captain of the steam-driven riverboat The African Queen.

Together, the pair take on the treacherous riverboat journey as they privately battle the Germans from their vessel.

The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including a Best Actor win for Bogart.

While a huge financial success, it was also critically acclaimed, with review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes finding the film had 96 percent positive reviews.

The website added: “Perfectly cast, smartly written, and beautifully filmed, The African Queen remains thrilling, funny, and effortlessly absorbing even after more than half a century’s worth of adventure movies borrowing liberally from its creative DNA.”

Humphrey Bogart's blunt assessment of Casablanca: 'Ridiculous and Unbelievable!'

Humphrey Bogart’s blunt assessment of Casablanca: ‘Ridiculous and Unbelievable!’ (Image: GETTY)

Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (Image: GETTY)

Among Bogart’ biggest triumphs on the silver screen, and one that wowed critics and fans alike, was 1942’s Casablanca.

Based during World War 2, the film was filmed just as the as the Allies took on Nazi Germany and followed a similar tale of battle-hardened times.

It would go on to win the Best Picture gong at the Oscars.

Despite universal praise, Bogart himself once reflected on how he felt the picture was “ridiculous and unbelievable”.

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Humphrey Bogart starred alongside Ingrid Bergman

Humphrey Bogart starred alongside Ingrid Bergman (Image: GETTY)

According to LIFE Casablanca: 75th Anniversary: The Most Beloved Movie of All Time, published in 2018, mutual friend and fellow actor, Geraldine Fitzgerald, noted the issues Bogart, and co-star Ingrid Bergman, had with the film.

Both felt that Casablanca was unrealistic just ten days into filming, and delivered their verdict over lunch.

Fitzgerald said: “They thought the dialogue was ridiculous and the situations were unbelievable.

“And Ingrid was terribly upset because she said she had to portray the most beautiful woman in Europe, and no one would ever believe that.”

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Casablanca was released in 1942

Casablanca was released in 1942 (Image: GETTY)

Incredibly, those working on Casablanca did not know how the iconic film would end until the final days of shooting.

Across the years, numerous claims and misconceptions surrounding the film have emerged, including one staggering rumour that Ronald Reagan, who would one day become US President, was originally in line to play Bogart’s character.

However, as Reagan was enlisted to join the Army, his inclusion in the film was reportedly never considered.

Howard Koch, who worked on the film’s screenplay, also discussed how there were struggles at knowing how Casablanca should conclude.

Filming locations in UK

Filming locations in UK (Image: EXPRESS)

In a 2017 article from the Writers Guild of America, Koch said: “When we began, we didn’t have a finished script.

“Ingrid Bergman came to me and said, ‘Which man should I love more?’ I said to her, ‘I don’t know play them both evenly.’

“You see we didn’t have an ending, so we didn’t know what was going to happen!”

The film still resonates with fans across the globe, and in 1992, film critic Roger Ebert reflected on why it was still championed among the greatest to be made.

He said: “There are greater movies. More profound movies. Movies of greater artistic vision or artistic originality or political significance.

“It is a film treasured or loved above any of the others: This is a movie that has transcended the ordinary categories.”

The African Queen airs today from 2.45pm on BBC Two.



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