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Noah Isenberg
New School (New York, NY 10011-8871)
Everybody Comes to Rick's: How "Casablanca" Taught Us to Love Movies

A book-length exploration of Casablanca's iconic status in American cinematic history.

"Everybody Comes to Rick’s" (under contract with W.W. Norton in the U.S.and Faber & Faber in the U.K.) is fueled by a profound desire to understand what makes a single film so unusually captivating, so enduring, and such a worldwide phenomenon--what makes it, in the eyes of Umberto Eco, not simply a stand-alone production, but somehow representative of all "movies." Through extensive research and reporting, conducting a vast array of interviews with film scholars and professionals, screenwriters and directors, relatives of the cast and crew, and also with the fans themselves, I wish to answer this question. Along the way, I seek to tell a lively, intense, and engaging story whose register of meaning far transcends the mere plot-lines of the film and taps into our continued fascination with motion pictures as a means of self-understanding. The project aims to broaden and complicate received wisdom concerning the film and to provide original insights for a new generation of viewers.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
Film History and Criticism; History, Criticism, and Theory of the Arts; Interdisciplinary Studies, General

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2015 – 7/31/2016