Screenwriter Profile: Julius & Philip Epstein


The Writers:

Along with Howard Koch, Julius & Philip Epstein were the writers behind Casablanca. Born in New York in 1909, the twin brothers were under contract at Warner Brothers at the time. They started their writing careers separately, then decided to team up in 1939. Producers who wanted “the Epstein flair” added to a script were known to shout what became a common phrase in Hollywood: “Get me the Epsteins!”

The brothers turned in their draft of Casablanca (based on the never produced play Everybody Comes to Rick’s) three days before production started — the famous ending wasn’t settled until the end of the production.

Julius was investigated during the Red Scare of the 1950s. When asked if he’d ever been part of a subversive organtization, he responded, “Yes — Warner Brothers.”

Highlights from their joint writing career include Casablanca, Arsenic and Old Lace, and The Brothers Karamazov.

Joint Credits:

Daughters Courageous Р1939

Four Wives Р1939

Saturday’s Children¬†– 1940

No Time for Comedy  Р1940

Strawberry Blonde Р1941

The Bride Came C.O.D. Р1941

The Man Who Came to Dinner Р1941

Honeymoon for Three Р1941

The Male Animal Р1942

Casablanca – 1943

Mr. Skeffington Р1944

Arsenic and Old Lace Р1944

One More Tomorrow (additional dialogue) Р1944

Romance on the High Seas Р1948

Chicken Every Sunday – 1949

My Foolish Heart Р1949

Take Care of My Little Girl Р1951

Forever Female Р1953

The Last Time I Saw Paris Р1954

The Brothers Karamazov -1954


I still have nightmares. (Julius on Ronald Reagan being considered for Casablanca)

Just a routine assignment. Frankly, I can’t understand it’s staying power. If it were made today, line for line, each performance as good, it’d be laughed off the screen. It’s such a phoney picture. Not a word of truth in it. It’s camp, kitsch. it’s just…slick shit! (Julius on Casablanca)

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