Legendary Cult-Hit ‘Casablanca’ Director Humiliated Humphrey Bogart, Made Him Sit on Cushions and Stand on Blocks to Compensate for Tiny Stature

Legendary Cult-Hit 'Casablanca' Director Humiliated Humphrey Bogart, Made Him Sit on Cushions and Stand on Blocks to Compensate for Tiny Stature
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There are countless examples of set drama, arguments, and creative differences in the world of Hollywood. Humphrey Bogart, one of Hollywood’s most recognizable actors, was particularly humiliated by one incident in particular.

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The late director, Michael Curtiz, who died on April 10, 1962, reportedly humiliated Bogart in front of the cast and crew while Casablanca was being filmed. Also, note that The Maltese Falcon actor also died on January 14, 1957. 

Bogart and Curtiz collaborated on one of the greatest films ever made at the height of the Second World War. Some publications considered Casablanca, a love story set during World War II that transcends its time period through timeless storytelling, to be the best film ever made. Despite having A-list stars, no one involved in the production of Casablanca thought it would be a hit.

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Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey Bogart

However, it did well at the box office, received favorable reviews from critics, and ultimately won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

But, we also can’t ignore the fact that Casablanca had a difficult production because World War II was still going on at the time.

Also Read: Casablanca: Why This 1942 Movie Is Hollywood’s Greatest Timeless Classic

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Why Had Michael Curtiz Humiliated Humphrey Bogart?

It takes a lot of guts to stand on stage and perform in front of a large audience. You are not just putting yourself out there; you are also dancing, singing, and entertaining a group of people. Humphrey Bogart appeared to be larger than life, like most movie stars, but in person, he was only 5′ 8″ tall. However, his co-star, Ingrid Bergman was 2 inches taller than him. 

Bogart was consequently made to stand on blocks or sit on cushions by director Michael Curtiz to give the impression that he was taller than Bergman.

Well, no matter how accepting we become of others, some physical characteristics are still regarded as superior. We are thankfully moving past the days of fat-shaming and color-shaming. But while media attention to skin tone and body type is increasing, there is still one physical characteristic that is despised and no one is willing to speak out about it.

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Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey Bogart

Yes, we are discussing short heights. And the late actor, who passed away on January 14, 1957, may have felt humiliated by the director for this reason. Even Casablanca had to address the issue of the stars’ different heights because it is still a problem in movies today.

Although it is true that the director had a specific vision for the scene, there are more effective ways to give actors feedback without resorting to inflicting public humiliation.

Also Read: Great Movies With Insanely Short Production Times

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More To Know About Casablanca

There have been two short Casablanca TV series, one of which debuted in 1955 and the other of which first aired in 1983. 

Also, note that during the film, the lead stars, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman encountered some difficulties when the first scene that director, Michael Curtiz and his crew shot. It was one of the flashback scenes in Paris.

Bogart himself addressed the issue. To quote him:

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“I am not up on this love stuff and do not know just what to do. And Bergman because, as the script was not yet finished, she was not sure whether her character was supposed to be in love with Rick or Victor Laszlo. Curtiz, who did not know himself, covered marvelously and told her to “play it in between.”

In a Still from Humphrey Bogart's Casablanca
In a Still from Humphrey Bogart’s Casablanca

Though many people still adore Casablanca, it is important to note the human cost of Hollywood’s production.

The altercation between Bogart and Curtiz serves as a reminder that even the most well-known and classic movies like Casablanca can have drama and conflict going on behind the scenes. 

Well, you can stream Casablanca on HBO Max.

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Also Read: We Bet You Didn’t Know These 15 Movies Were Remakes Of Old Classics

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Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1523

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1500 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.