'Casablanca' piano to be played again

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NEW YORK — The piano from the Oscar-winning film "Casablanca" will be played again after being auctioned for more than $600,000.

The $602,500 price tag was less than the $800,000–$1.2 million expected by Sotheby's New York Auction. The piano went to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous.

The New York Daily News reports the piano's purchase was a joint venture between Leonardo DiCaprio and billionaire Stewart Rahr, and that the two plan to donate the piano to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The Associated Press had not confirmed the story, told by an unnamed source, as of Monday evening.

The iconic piano was part of one of the most beloved scenes in film: During the Paris flashback scene in "Casablanca," Sam sings "As Time Goes By" as Rick and Ilsa, played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, lean on the piano and drink champagne. Outside, the city awaits the imminent arrival of the German army.

Clinking glasses with Ilsa, Rick says, "Here's lookin' at you, kid."

'Casablanca' piano to be played again
Photo: Sotheby's

"Casablanca" was released in Nov. 1942, coinciding with the Allied invasion of Morocco. The auction came as the film reached its 70th anniversary.

The prop was put up for auction by its previous owner, a Japanese man who bought the piano in 1988 for $154,000. David Redden, vice chairman of Sotheby's, told CNN noted the peculiarity of the piano.

"Seeing the piano in real life you end up with a couple of things," he said. "It's quite colorful, green and distressed yellow. And you don't realize how small it is, so small in fact Bogart and Bergman sort of tower over it."

Redden said the movie, which won three Oscars and is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made, is really made by the piano.

"The piano is a star of the film," he said. "The music is so emotive, so moving and the piano really becomes a symbol of the love story between Bogart and Bergman."


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Stephanie Grimes


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