Casablanca

by , under Fiction Prompts, What Pegman Saw

“Mr. Rains?” There was no answer. The assistant knocked again. “Mr. Rains? I have a message from Mr. Wallis.”

“Read it to me,” said Rains from inside the dressing room.

“It’s sealed, Mr. Rains. The message is for you. From Mr. Wallis.”

“If Hal wants to give me a message he can come down and goddamned well give it to me himself. You go tell him that.”

“I can’t tell him that, sir.”

“Then fucking read it.”

The assistant swallowed. He opened the envelope. “Claude,”  he read. “Stop being a goddamned baby. Bogart is bitching about having to wear lifts. Bergman complains about the script. Try to be a professional for once and maybe I’ll  get you top billing on the next one. ––Hal.”

“Fine.” Rains opened the door. He stood elegantly smoking a cigarette, tie undone,  dinner jacket unbuttoned. “Nobody cares about this stupid movie anyway.”

 

What Pegman Saw

I couldn’t resist taking liberties with this week’s Pegman to write about the movie forever associated with this romantic place. Casablanca is always at the top the  greatest movies list, but its production was so fraught with problems that nobody involved in making it thought it would amount to a hill of beans.
Bogart was still wholly unproven as a romantic lead and initially hated working with Ingrid Bergman, who was more than two inches taller than he. Bergman herself  had no interest in Casablanca, wanting instead to get started on 
For Whom the Bell Tolls with Gary Cooper. Claude Rains, who had had starred in The Invisible Man, pouted at being relegated to third billing.
Worst of all, the script wasn’t finished until the last day of shooting, so none of the actors knew whether Rick would get on the plane or not.
Despite the friction and chaos (or maybe because of it), Casablanca enjoyed huge success and continues to be beloved by generations of movie buffs. 

  1. James

    LOL. Pretty funny and perhaps even true. I’m sure you know that there is a Rick’s Café in modern Casablanca styled on the establishment shown in the film. I mention it in my on wee tale.

    Reply
  2. k rawson

    Excellent and so completely plausible. I had no idea about the backstory of this famous fill. You have a knack for bringing old movie stars to life.

    Reply
  3. Kelvin M. Knight's blog

    A lovely slice of history, rebaked. So glad I did not go with my first story titled, ‘Who Loves Ya, Babe.’ as this is way more sophisticated. I really am going to have to watch this film now, sad to admit.

    Reply
  4. prior..

    hi – I also referenced this classic movie – but on a different note – (modern day note of it) and I did not know the Casablanca movie very well – but because it is so famous I knew of the lines and certain famous scenes.

    anyhow, while prepping my short piece for this prompt – I read how Bogart was standing on a box – and how Bergman curiously asked how the story would end and was told they didn’t know (heard this on the fly writing happened often during Elizabethan Era plays too)
    anyhow- because of that bit of reading I was able to “get” your fiction here and it was really cool.
    That envelope seems to be exactly what could have arrived….

    Reply
  5. rochellewisoff

    Dear Josh,

    This is so delicious I spilled my popcorn! My kind of story indeed. :D I’m glad somebody went there this week since I didn’t. ;)

    Here’s looking at you, Kid,

    Rochelle

    Reply

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