Casablanca 70th Anniversary DVD

26 Apr

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Synopsis: Arguably the most memorable film ever produced has been restored on this 3 disc blu-ray anniversary set to pristine condition. The story is centered around Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a world-weary ex-freedom fighter who runs a nightclub in Casablanca during the early part of WWII. Despite pressure from the local authorities, notably the crafty Capt. Renault (Claude Rains), Rick’s Cafe has become a haven for refugees looking to purchase illicit letters of transit which will allow them to escape to America. One day, to Rick’s great surprise, he is approached by the famed rebel Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) and his wife, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), Rick’s true love who deserted him when the Nazis invaded Paris. She still wants Victor to escape to America, but now that she’s renewed her love for Rick, she wants to stay behind in Casablanca. “You must do the thinking for both of us,” she says to Rick. He does, and becomes a patriot in doing so. The film is #2 on AFI’s all time classic films list and was directed by Michael Curtiz.

Review: One does not review a film like Casablanca but just watches and remains in awe of the classic war-torn love story as it unfolds before your eyes. Warner Brothers has taken the time to restore the print to near perfection, no scratches or surface noise just a clean, crisp clear view. The audio has also been upgraded and doesn’t have the scratchiness of an old analog soundtrack. In short this is the edition of Casablanca we have been waiting for, for a long time.

This one film that has held up decade after decade and has become an American film-making Icon. I remember around the 40th Anniversary of the film it was released in theaters, I watched it at a theater in Manhattan. needless to say when Bogart’s Blaine explains to German Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt), ” Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn’t advise you to try to invade”, there was cheering and applause in the audience, never mind the knowing laughter.  Certainly this classic story deserves new audiences and perhaps the DVD will serve that purpose. There is also a nationwide showing of the restored film in selected theaters.  Kudos to TCM (Turner Classic Movies) and film fans who have brought this back to theater going audiences.

Extras include: Disc 1: Commentary by Roger Ebert and historian Rudy Behlmer as well as a two minute introduction by Lauren Bacall (Mrs. Humphrey Bogart). Disc 2: A one hour and twenty minute 1988 “Bacall on Bogart” documentary and a thirty-five minute making-of documentary “You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca”. Next is a seven minute feature with Bogart’s son and Bergman’s daughter titled “As Time Goes By: The Children Remember”, along with the eight minute 1995 cartoon spoof “Carrotblanca”. A selection of deleted scenes and outtakes, totaling about seven minutes, are of particular interest here (though there is no sound for any of them), and a “Production Research” gallery. Of lesser interest is the premiere episode from the 1955 “Casablanca” TV series titled “Who Holds Tomorrow?”, it’s a noble failure and clocks in at about nineteen minutes. Disc 3: An hour-long 1993 documentary “Jack Warner: The Last Mogul”. Also included is a small book of production photos, office memos, lobby & poster cards, and a passport holder and luggage tag emblazoned with “Casablanca”.

In short this why we fell in love with the movies in the first place. “You must remember this…..”

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