Naughty dialogue in Casablanca

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Haggai, Dec 22, 2003.

  1. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    There's one scene in particular that I'm wondering about, which I only really noticed after seeing the movie for at least the 5th or 6th time, when the DVD SE came out earlier this year. It's from the scene where the young Bulgarian wife asks Rick for help in getting to America. I don't think her name is given in the movie, although she says that her husband's name is Jan. The IMDB credits say that the character's name is Annina, so that's what I'll go with here (a trivia note from IMDB, not sure if it's mentioned anywhere on the DVD, is that the actress who played her, Joy Page, was Jack L. Warner's stepdaughter).


    One interpretation of this, which would have been scandalous enough back in the early 1940s, is that Renault is "broad-minded" enough to be involved with a married woman. But, am I just a complete fiend for thinking that there also might be a hint of the...er...as an infamous Seinfeld episode put it, "the menage"? Were the original playwrights, or the Epstein twins, or Hal Wallis, or whoever wrote those lines, as shamelessly naughty as I seem to be making them out to be?
     
  2. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    Possibly I'm contrarian[​IMG] , but I'd just say the dialogue was sophisticated.
     
  3. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Perhaps not shamelessly naughty, but it wouldn't be the first time screenwriters slipped something like that past the censors.

    As for Captain Renault, well, he does seem a tad effeminate... [​IMG]
     
  4. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    That's the way I've always dug it.
     
  5. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Thanks, Mike B. I just knew there had to be someone out there who's as deep in the gutter as I am on this point. [​IMG]
     
  6. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Which now gives a different slant to Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. [​IMG]
     
  7. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Actually I believe there was a book written about what happens after Casablanca, in which the Louis & Rick became lovers.

    While I'm open to that interpretation of the line, I've always just read it as being broad minded by allowing the husband to come along, when the long term plan is to get into the wife's panties at some point.
     
  8. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    I think that was exactly the intention. It's one of those lines that slid by simply because it could be interpreted many different ways, especially since Louis' affairs were only ever hinted at. It went over the heads of children and gave adults a good chuckle.
     
  9. John Thomas

    John Thomas Cinematographer

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    I guess people will see what they want to in just about anything.
     
  10. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    [​IMG][​IMG]

    actually they didn't slip anything past the censors. IIRC the censors had the original line changed to 'broad-minded' because the original line was to explicit in suggesting that Renault traded visas for sex. I believe this was an especially offensive case for the censors because it was clear that she was married yet prostituting herself.

    It's only today that audiences interpret such a line to suggest a 'menage'.

    all this and more in The Censorship Papers

    Remember that the studios were sending pages of scripts as they were being written for the first stage of approval from the Hayes office and Joseph Breen. Much racier dialogue was toned down in Casablanca, stuff that makes the illicit sex and activities much more explicit. There were also several silly things changed that boggle the mind. :p

    adam
     
  11. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Now you've ruined the movie for me.... Or is this something like the Seinfeld "roomate swap" ?
     
  12. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Well you don't have to buy into it, I certainly don't. And thinking on it, I can't recall if it was a book, or a planned sequel.
     
  13. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Adam_S, thanks for the book recommendation. That sounds like one that's worth checking out.

    I'm also reminded of an exchange between Bogey and Bacall's characters in The Big Sleep. I've never seen the movie, but I did see some documentary that commented on this passage, lifted from the quotes section at IMDB:



    Nope, no sexual innuendo there. Move along, folks, nothing to see here...
     
  14. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Sexual innuendo and double entendres are nothing new. They've been around as long as the human race.
     
  15. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Sure, but it's always fun to see what they managed to slip past the Hollywood censors in the days of the production code.
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Yeah but language and dialogue may have been different then (I wasn't alive so I couldn't tell you) so something that wasn't meant to be a double entendre then could be interpreted as such now.

    Take for example when I first read British literature (from the first half of the twentieth century) and read the words "faggot" -meaning a faggot of wood, or "smoked a fag" - meaning to smoke a cigarette.

    I was I think in junior high school at the time and thought that I had just read the naughtiest passages and couldn't believe that it had been mandated in school, and then the teacher explained the terms in-class.

    Not saying that Casablanca's dialogue wasn't meant as a double-entendre, but that we can't necessarily apply today's dialogue and standards to a movie that is more than 50 years old.
     
  17. Robert Anthony

    Robert Anthony Producer

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    I dunno, man--things weren't really all that different. You're talking about a completely different country and their dialect. America in the 40's is not very different from America today. Adam already gave an example that the entendre WAS intended in Casablanca, and as far as "The Big Sleep" goes, Raymond Chandler was a dirty old man [​IMG] so if you read or watch those movies and think "nah...could it be?" then yeah, it probably was.

    The 40's weren't necessarily cleaner and more innocent minded--it was just that writers were sneakier about sliding some digs in there. And to me, that actually makes it a little more naughty. The difference between todays dialog standards and the American 1940's-50's isn't anywhere NEAR as different as today's dialog standards and a completely different countries early 20th century literature.Especially since I doubt you were reading, in those old British novels, about drunk loser gumshoes.
     
  18. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Another one that slipped through was Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby ("I've just gone gay - all of a sudden!").

    Yes, "gay" had another much more common connotation back then, but the sexual use did exist, and there's every reason to believe that Grant knew about it. And this was an ad-libbed line not in the script that takes place when he's wearing a woman's negligee and is asked if he dresses like that all the time.
     
  19. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Poor Cary Grant and Bringing Up Baby. He probably regretted that ad-lib almost immediately. (He and Randolf Scott, from many reports, were long time lovers, and Hitchcock was well aware of Grant's bisexuality, and wanted him as the professor in Rope because he knew more sophisticated audience members moight read his character as the former lover of one the murderers...something Stewart would never be able pull off in his performance....Rope would've been the gayest film in Hitchcock's history, with Farley Granger (who was having an affair with the film's screenwriter Arthur Laurents...another thing Hitchcock was well aware of), John Dahl, and Cary Grant all being actors who were either gay or bisexual.)

    Anyway, Grant knew what Hitchcock had in mind and did not want to be a part of his gayest film.

    Back to Casablanca, I am surprised no one has yet mentioned Louis's line where he says, "If I were a woman, I should be in love with Rick."

    Now, certainly 2003, some men are comfortable enough with their sexuality to be aware of when another man has the kind of appeal that they know would be attractive to them if they were the opposite sex, but back then, who knows?

    Billy Wilder stated in one interview that he wrote Double Indemnity as a love story between two men,
    and Raymond Chandler was not shy about making characters homosexual. In fact, I would say that Sidney Greenstreet's characters in both The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca can be read as a gay man...and we it well known that Peter Lorie's character in The Maltese Falcon was "coded" to read as gay while having it slip past the Hayes comission.

    I don't think it would be insupportable to suggest that Louis might be bisexual in Casablanca, but Rick, as presented in the film does not have even the slightest hint of same sex attraction.

    Mark
     
  20. Haggai

    Haggai Producer

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    Good point about that other Renault line, Mark. That hadn't occurred to me, but you're quite right.

    What about Ferrari, Greenstreet's character in Casablanca, suggests a hint of homosexuality? I can't think of anything off-hand.

    I'm sure we could fill an extremely long thread with blatant innuendos from various classic movies that slipped past the production code censors, but another one that I was reminded of recently was when I re-watched Notorious. You weren't supposed to hint at sex between un-married people, but in that movie, Alicia (Ingrid Bergman) tells Devlin (Cary Grant) at the race-track scene that "I've added Sebastian to my list of playmates," referring to Claude Rains' character, who hasn't proposed to marry her yet at that point in the movie. It's hard to imagine saying "by the way, I slept with him" any more clearly than that without using the exact words, yet it got through.
     

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