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We’ll Always Have Casablanca

Center for Jewish History (map)
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New York, NY 10011
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“Casablanca” was first released in 1942, just two weeks after the city of Casablanca itself surrendered to American troops led by General Patton. Featuring a pitch-perfect screenplay, a classic soundtrack, and unforgettable performances by Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and a deep supporting cast, Casablanca was hailed in The New York Times as “a picture that makes the spine tingle and the heart take a leap.” In the new history, We’ll Always Have Casablanca, film historian Noah Isenberg gives a rich account of this beloved movie’s origins. Through extensive research and interviews with filmmakers, film critics, family members of the cast and crew, and diehard fans, Isenberg reveals the myths and realities behind Casablanca’s production, focusing in particular on the central role of refugees—nearly all the actors were immigrants from Hitler’s Europe. Isenberg will present his book in conversation with film critic, journalist and author James L. Hoberman.

Noah Isenberg is Professor of Culture and Media at the New School’s Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, in New York City, where he teaches film history, theory, and criticism and also serves as the director of Screen Studies. He holds a joint appointment in the multi-disciplinary M.A. program in Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research. The author of, among others, Edgar G. Ulmer: A Filmmaker at the Margins (California, 2014), which the New York Times hailed as “a page turner of a biography” and the Huffington Post selected among its Best Film Books of 2014, his latest book is We’ll Always Have ‘Casablanca’: The Life, Legend, and Afterlife of Hollywood’s Most Beloved Movie. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. in European history, 1989), he holds advanced degrees from the University of Washington (M.A. in German literature, 1991) and the University of California at Berkeley (Ph.D. in German studies, 1995). He has spent extended stints—studying, teaching, writing—in Berlin, Vienna, Munich and Stockholm.

James L. Hoberman is a New York City film critic, journalist and author. From 1988 to 2012, he was senior film critic at The Village Voice. He writes regularly for Film Comment, The New York Times, and The Virginia Quarterly Review, among others. Hoberman has also taught at Cooper Union for the past 20 years, currently as Gelb Professor of Humanities. He served two terms on the New York Film Festival selection committee, and has done some guest programming as well as curatorial work on several museum shows including at MoMA P.S.1 and the Museum of the Moving Image, 1997, and at the Jewish Museum.