The piano from Casablanca on which Sam plays "As Time Goes By" The piano from Casablanca on which Sam plays "As Time Goes By"
THE PIANO FROM CASABLANCA
Sold for $3,413,000 in New York, 24 November 2014

Art Market Review

Issue 9, July - December 2014

Page 10

Of the two pianos played by the character Sam (Dooley Wilson) in Casablanca, this one appeared at all the crucial points of the film. It is Sam's melodies which establish the mood in Rick's Café Américain, and most of the memorable moments of this iconic film are accompanied by his music. One of the best known – and most misquoted lines in movie history – takes place round this piano when a drunk and depressed Rick (Humphrey Bogart) snarls at Sam, "If she can stand it I can. Play It Sam. "He is referring, of course, to the song As Time Goes By which he and his former lover Ilsa, (Ingrid Bergman) had made their own in Paris before the war. Ilsa unexpected appearance in Rick's Casablanca café – as he, in another famous line, says, "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine" – and Sam's playing of the tune at her insistence provides the musical link which ties the various strands of the plot together and points up the film's central themes: love versus duty and the need for personal sacrifices in time of war especially potent, of course, in the film's release year of 1942.

Lucy Carr
Specialist for Entertainment America

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