Woody Allen Turns to Bogie for Advice in “Play It Again, Sam”

Since Casablanca just celebrated its 75th anniversary, we thought we’d keep the celebrations going a little bit longer by taking a look at a 1972 comedy that is a love letter to the film. Based on the Woody Allen stage work of the same name, Play It Again, Sam features the eternally neurotic New Yorker as a film obsessive who finds himself unable to get back into the social scene following a divorce. So naturally he does what anybody in his situation would do, he turns to the ghost of Humphrey Bogart (Jerry Lacy) for advice. What follows is a disastrous, and hilarious, look at dating in the 1970s co-starring Diane Keaton that shows that a love for movies can both help and hinder your personal quest for romance.

Allen would again use a love of cinema for the backdrop of one of his most successful films, 1985’s The Purple Rose of Cairo. However, that time there was no Bogie around for the characters to turn to, giving Play It Again, Sam a slight advantage — and making it a beautiful cinematic friendship that viewers have had for nearly 50 years.