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Casbah

Casbah(1948)

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Casbah marked the feature film debut of Swedish actress Marta Toren. Universal press materials state that a second unit was sent to Algiers to shoot background footage, and that art directors Bernard Herzbrun and John DeCuir based the designs of their sets on this footage. According to Hollywood Reporter, John Berry was borrowed from Paramount to direct the film. In March 1948, producer Nat C. Goldstone and actor Tony Martin, as the principal shareholders of independent production company Marston Pictures, Inc., filed a $250,000 suit against Universal, arguing that the studio had done a poor job in marketing Casbah. According to New York Times, Universal countersued for $320,439, claiming that the film, which cost $1,307,000 to produce, had failed to recoup its cost and in fact had defaulted on a $760,000 bank loan. In September 1944, Los Angeles Times reported that Universal won the suit and was awarded a judgment of $250,000. In 1950, federal judge William C. Mathes issued a court order placing Casbah on the auctioneer's block, as Marston had failed to repay a $350,000 mortgage on the film. In February 1950, Universal, as the only bidder, purchased the film for $5,000, according to Los Angeles Daily News. Hollywood Reporter and New York Times news items report that the Bank of America foreclosed on the picture in 1953, along with nine independently produced films released by Universal between 1946 and 1948. In 1955, Martin won a tax suit over his earnings for the film. According to Los Angeles Times, the Internal Revenue Service claimed Martin owed $4,500, but the performer was able to prove that he had actually overpaid his taxes by $4,000 and was, in turn, awarded that amount.
       The Harold Arlen-Leo Robin composition "For Every Man There's a Woman" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song of 1948 but lost to the Jay Livingston-Ray Evans tune "Buttons and Bows" from Paramount's The Paleface . The Asheble novel was first filmed in 1937 in France as Pepe le Moko. Walter Wanger made a second version, Algiers, in 1938, starring Charles Boyer and Sigrid Gurie, and directed by John Cromwell (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.0055). In 1948, Italian comedian Toto later appeared in Toto le Moko, a satirical version of the story, directed by D. Barraglia.