Written By: Lily Rothman, Liz Ronk

World War II was still years from its conclusion when the city of Casablanca was immortalized at the intersection of love and war. The 1942 classic film Casablanca highlighted the Moroccan locale as a place where Allied and Axis forces lay in uneasy balance, and a place to which, and from which, European refugees hoped to escape. It was there that Rick Blaine (played by Humphrey Bogart) told Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), “Here’s looking at you, kid.”  In 2016 another film, Allied, again brought moviegoers to Casablanca in 1942, but this time with Brad Pitt playing a Canadian military officer who meets and falls for a French resistance fighter played by Marion Cotillard.

In February of 1943, though, LIFE magazine followed a real-life couple through Casablanca for an installment of LIFE Magazine’s “Life Goes to a Party” feature. The photo essay followed an American naval lieutenant on a date with a French refugee whom he’d met there.

The two enjoyed a day out, with a picnic and a walk at the beach, but could not forget the world around them: they “hurried back for curfew” at the end of the outing.

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Jim and Nikki went out on the town in Casablanca, 1943.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

The couple watched the setting sun near Sidi Ab Der-Rachman.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Jim took his date’s picture as the tide went out.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Jim provided Nikki with a then-coveted American cigarette.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Nikki negotiated the rocks in high heels.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

The couple was high up on the peak above the resort of Anfa,

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablance love story during World War II, 1943.

The picturesque beach at Sidi Ab Der-Rachman.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Though the temperature was 70 degrees, the water was still cold.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Casablanca was safe enough to go out in during the day, but much less so at night.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Nikki spoke French and a little Arabic during a bargaining session.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

They enjoyed a lunch cooked by Casablanca’s best chef, Papa Gouim, late of Paris and the S.S. Normandie; the lunch included hardboiled eggs, sardines, herring, beans, and African red wine.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

At the Navy fliers’ club in Casablanca, called the Airdale Club, Nikki met Jim’s friends. The Navy rented the villa that was confiscated from Axis sympathizer.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Music and dancing for the Muslim `Feast of the Mutton’ was paid for by Jim. Nikki was the only unveiled woman present.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Casablanca love story during World War II, 1943.

Locals watched the couple touring the town.

Eliot Elisofon The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

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