Last year I posted a clip from Casablanca asking the question if it is the perfect movie scene?
At the time of posting I didn’t realise that the French actress, Madeleine Lebeau who plays a pivotal part in the scene that has become known as “duel of anthems” was Casablanca’s last surviving cast member. I just learned of her passing at the age of 92 when my dad, who is also a big fan of the film emailed me a link to her obituary.
Its worth clicking the link to read the whole thing, this is one paragraph that stood out to me as it helps explain why the scene is so amazing: “Many cast members of Casablanca were refugees from Europe who had recently fled Nazi occupation. Madeleine Lebeau herself had left France for Hollywood with her then husband, Marcel Dalio, a French actor of Jewish origin, shortly before the Germans invaded Paris. During the filming of the “duel of anthems”, several of the actors were genuinely crying. “They brought to a dozen small roles in Casablanca,” wrote the film historian Aljean Harmetz “an understanding and a desperation that could never have come from Central Casting”.”