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The Improvised Humphrey Bogart Line That Changed Casablanca Forever

Of all the numerous bits of trivia linked to the all-time classic film "Casablanca," one thing that was never confirmed was just how much smoke on screen came from Humphrey Bogart's cigarettes or the man himself, given that he was, in fact, as cool as dried ice.

In that sharp white suit jacket under the careful lighting of Rick's Café, Bogart ruled the screen like an absolute boss, making it all the more heartbreaking when this doomed couple ultimately don't stay together. As their plane is about to take off, Rick Blaine (Bogart) offers an emotional monologue to Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) and then walks off into the rainy night, and the start of an entirely different kind of beautiful friendship.

Such heartbreaking scenes in director Michael Curtiz's masterpiece have solidified its place in the annals of movie history. However, what's extra special about this bittersweet goodbye is that one of its most well-known lines did not come from the golden screenplay that was the film's backbone. Instead, it was an off-the-super-slick cuff moment courtesy of Bogart himself.

Bogart took a gamble with a line he used in poker

In that famous closing scene in a film that AFI regards as the second greatest ever made, Humphrey Bogart looks into those engrossing pearl-like peepers of Ingrid Bergman and simply says, "here's looking at you, kid." The movingly brief acknowledgement of the rediscovered love he's now on the verge of losing yet again has helped "Casablanca" be referenced in many other movies since. It has earned its place in AFI's other list (they sure do make a lot of them) of 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time. Unlike many of the screenplay's quotable gems, the line was totally improvised. According to the BBC, it had an unexpected off-camera connection with his co-star Bergman.

During filming, Bogart was teaching Bergman how to play poker. Legend has it that the line's origin came from holding a hand comprised of "face cards" (king, queen, jack) which are all looking up at the player. While that in itself is a great story on its own, having Bogart add it into a script that was apparently constantly changing during filming makes it that much cooler. For a legend like Bogart, and in a cinematic gem like "Casablanca," the improvisation is really a perfect fit.