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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Short Review: "The Making of Casablanca" (book)

The Making of Casablanca: Bogart, Bergman, and World War IIThe Making of Casablanca: Bogart, Bergman, and World War II by Aljean Harmetz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a fascinating look, not only at the making of one of the greatest films ever made, but into the studio system of the 1930s and 40s and the way the U.S. government and the media worked throughout the Second World War. Part history, part biography, part film criticism, Harmetz comes at the story from all angles, and they all work. She did her homework and also includes plenty of firsthand interviews with just about everyone involved in the film who was still alive at the time of writing. I would have given it five stars but for the occasionally confusing writing style and the fact that she ends on such a cynical note after so many wonderful pages of marveling at the way this film came to be. Still, a highly recommended work of not just film history, but American history.

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