The Chatter Podcast: The Movie “Casablanca” in Myth and Reality with Meredith Hindley

By David Priess
Thursday, May 26, 2022, 9:27 AM

This week marks the 80th anniversary of the start of principal photography on Casablanca, the 1942 film that would win Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Michael Curtiz), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Philip Epstein, Julius Epstein, and Howard Koch). Often ranked by critics and the general public in the top five films of all time, Casablanca was first screened just as the city in French Morocco was hitting headlines because of the Allies' Operation TORCH invasion of North Africa during World War II.

To talk about the movie, the city's wartime history, and the veracity of Casablanca's representations about Casablanca, David Priess chatted with Meredith Hindley--who back in 2017 wrote the richly entertaining book Destination Casablanca: Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II. Their conversation covers her advocacy for the humanities and history, unexpected discoveries in archival research, an appreciation of the film, American and French resistance intelligence operations in French Morocco, intersections between wartime Casablanca and personalities from Franklin Roosevelt to Josephine Baker, and what the film got right and wrong about the experiences of refugees and many others in this vibrant city.

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad. See for privacy and opt-out information.

Works discussed in this episode:

The book Why We Fight: The Roots of War and the Paths to Peace, by Christopher Blattman

The movie Casablanca

Meredith Hindley's book Destination Casablanca: Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II

Meredith's other writings

Megan Kate Nelson, Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America

Woody Holton, Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution

Rush, "Freewill"