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 – 1939

Four Wives – 1939

Saturday’s Children – 1940

No Time for Comedy  – 1940

Strawberry Blonde – 1941

The Bride Came C.O.D. – 1941

The Man Who Came to Dinner – 1941

Honeymoon for Three – 1941

The Male Animal – 1942

Casablanca – 1943

Mr. Skeffington – 1944

Arsenic and Old Lace – 1944

One More Tomorrow (additional dialogue) – 1944

Romance on the High Seas – 1948

Chicken Every Sunday – 1949

My Foolish Heart – 1949

Take Care of My Little Girl – 1951

Forever Female – 1953

The Last Time I Saw Paris – 1954

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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