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Setting the Record Straight on 'Casablanca'

June 01, 1991

In "You Must Remember This" (May 14), Murray Burnett, co-author with Joan Alison of the play "Everybody Comes to Rick's," complains that he did not receive sufficient credit for its contribution to the film "Casablanca," and he may be right.

When Warners assigned me to the story, I had not read the play. We were facing a deadline, the camera was on our heels, so the material I was working on was limited to what I inherited from Julius and Philip Epstein, which I assumed contained what was useful from the original play. Having read the play more recently, I believe that the complaint was, at least to some extent, justified.

After 50 years, memories can be faulty and mine was in this case. If I have undervalued "Everybody Comes to Rick's," I am sorry and hope that the play will be a big success in London and that its audiences will realize that its contribution to "Casablanca" was substantial.

HOWARD KOCH

Woodstock, N.Y.

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