Casbah (film)

Casbah is a 1948 American film noir crime musical film directed by John Berry starring Yvonne DeCarlo, Tony Martin, Peter Lorre, and Märta Torén. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "For Every Man There's a Woman".

Directed byJohn Berry
Produced byNat C. Goldstone
Erik Charell
Written byLeslie Bush-Fekete
Aarnold Manoff
musical story
Erik Charell
Based onnovel by Henri La Barthe
StarringYvonne De Carlo
Tony Martin
Peter Lorre
Märta Torén
Music byWalter Scharf
Harold Arlen
CinematographyIrving Glassberg
Edited byEdward Curtiss
Marston Productions[1]
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 1948 (1948-04)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$1.3 million[2]
Box office$1,092,283 (rentals)[2]

It is a musical remake of Algiers (1938), which was in turn an American remake of the French film Pépé le Moko (1937).


Pépé le Moko (Tony Martin) leads a gang of jewel thieves in the Casbah district of Algiers, where he has exiled himself to escape imprisonment in his native France. Inez (Yvonne De Carlo), his girl friend, is infuriated when Pépé flirts with Gaby (Märta Torén), a French visitor, but Pépé tells her to mind her own business.

Detective Slimane (Peter Lorre) is trying to lure Pépé out of the Casbah so he can be jailed. Against Slimane's advice, Police Chief Louvain (Thomas Gomez) captures Pépé in a dragnet, but his followers free him. Inez realizes that Pépé has fallen in love with Gaby and intends to follow her to Europe. Slimane knows the same and uses her as the bait to lure Pépé out of the Casbah.

Cast and roles

Cast notes:


The film was made by Marston Productions, Tony Martin's production company, who signed a deal with Universal. Tony Martin was keen to re-establish himself in the film industry after having been blacklisted in the entertainment industry since being discharged from the navy for "unfitness" in 1942. He was charged with buying a navy officer a car to facilitate his obtaining a chief specialists rating.[4]

It was the first production from Marston, which Martin owned with his agent, Nat Gould. The Bank of America lent $800,000 to finance the film; Universal provided some of the balance.[2]

Yvonne de Carlo signed to play the female lead in June 1947.[5] Erik Charrell was to produce, William Bowers was to write the script and Harold Arlen to do the music.[6] John Berry signed to direct.[7]

Märta Torén made her film debut.[8]


Songs by Harold Arlen (music) and Leo Robin (lyrics).

  • "For Every Man There's a Woman", sung by Tony Martin.
  • "Hooray for Love", sung by Tony Martin and Yvonne DeCarlo.
  • "It Was Written in the Stars", sung by Tony Martin.
  • "What's Good About Goodbye", sung by Tony Martin.


The film only recouped $600,000 of its negative cost. By September 24, 1949 the film had earned rentals of $1,092,283.[2]


Marston sued Universal in January 1949 for $250,000 alleging improper distribution. Universal counter sued in May for $325,439, including the $320,439.25 Universal provided to the filmmakers, and $5,000 which Universal claimed Marston distributed contrary to their agreement.[9]

Universal succeeded in getting a court judgment against Marston of $350,000. A judge ordered that the film be sold to auction for $329,486.[10] Universal bought all rights to the film at public auction for $5,000. This purchase was subject to an unsatisfied lien against the property of $195,000 to the Bank of America.[2]

Martin had to go to court to argue (successfully) that he was entitled to claim his loss on the film as a tax deduction.[4]


In 1949, the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song "For Every Man There's a Woman" by Harold Arlen (music) and Leo Robin (lyrics).


  1. Schallert, Edwin (9 June 1947). "Drama and Film: Noyes Poem Purchased; De Carlo, Martin Lead". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  2. Thomas F. Brady (4 Feb 1950). "Colbert Signed for Lead in 'Eve': Mankiewicz to Direct Film for Fox--Studio Revives 'American Guerrilla' Bids $5,000 for "Casbah"". New York Times. p. 19.
  3. "Casbah (1948) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 28 November 2017.
  4. "TAX COURT RULES FOR TONY MARTIN ON BAD DEBT COUNT" Chicago Daily Tribune 28 Oct 1955: 3.
  5. DRAMA AND FILM: Noyes Poem Purchased; De Carlo, Martin Lead Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 9 June 1947: A7.
  6. "WARNERS TO FILM PLAY BY KINGSLEY: Pays $250,000 for 'Patriots,' Which Bretagne Windust Will Direct in Debut" By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 9 June 1947: 27.
  7. "SELZNICK HAS FILM FOR SWEDISH ACTOR: Producer Will Star Alf Kjellin in 'Tender Is the Night' -- Picture Due Next Year" By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 5 Aug 1947: 27.
  8. "SMALL CONCLUDES A RELEASING DEAL: Columbia Will Distribute His 'Fuller Brush Man,' Starring Skelton -- Simon to Direct" By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 16 Sep 1947: 27.
  9. "U-I ASKS DAMAGES ON 'CASBAH' FILM: Studio Seeks $325,439 and Foreclosure Decree Against Marston Productions" By THOMAS F. BRADY New York Times 18 May 1949: 33.
  10. "Television Aid in New Sales Field Disclosed" Los Angeles Times 1 Feb 1950: A2.
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