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on April 21, 2007
65 years after it first it theaters, CASABLANCA remains a perfect film, a timeless masterpiece, and one of the most beloved American cinematic treasures. There are only a handful of films from the 'golden era' that can still captivate any audience, even those with no interest in classic film, no less black & white films.

Warner Brothers gave this crown jewel the deluxe treatment on regular DVD about 3 years ago, and it was impossible to conceive that even the glories of 1080p HD DVD could really make it look THAT much better...

Well, it DOES. Several people I know use this CASABLANCA HD DVD as their 'demo disc' for their home theater. Despite B&W, monaural sound, and a square aspect ratio, the clarity is unreal, and it only heightens the enjoyment of one of the greatest films ever made.

Kudos to Warner for giving this to fans so early in the HD game. There is a terrible paucity of truly great films available in Hi Def right now, regardless of format. None of the other studios seem to recognize they have libraries, and relegate their releases to the recent flavor of the month (for the most part). Warner has been the top video label for years, and this is just another reason why. They really know what they're doing.

All the exceptional special features created for the regular DVD have been carried over, and although they are standard definition, the upconversion makes them look better than ever.

This is truly an ESSENTIAL part of any HD library.
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on December 2, 2008
With the new Blu-Ray versions of old classics, it may be time for Amazon to rethink how it publishes their reviews, normally one of the things I like most about their store!
When I heard Casablanca was coming out in Blu-Ray, my first thought was, "I wonder if Blu-Ray has anything to offer to an old Black and White film, or is it just a marketing ploy?"
So, I go to Amazon, look up the BLU-RAY VERSION of Casablanca, and find 536 reviews telling me that Casablanca is one of the best movies of all times.
Great! I know that! What I want to know is, does the Blu-Ray edition offer me any viewing advantages over my current DVD of this movie?
How about limiting the reviews to only those who can add something of value to the specific edition being evaluated. Otherwise, with all the new Blu-Ray versions that are going to come out, we are left with old news and nothing of value as we contemplate spending (big!)bucks to possibly replace movies we already own!
1414 comments69 of 81 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 14, 2000
I won't write even one word about the film itself; we all know how great it is. But what I wasn't prepared for, was how astonishingly beautiful it is on DVD. On my computer's 19" monitor, it was as clear, crisp and sharp as it would have been on the "silver screen." A TV really doesn't do justice to a film like this. Again and again my wife and I found ourselves gasping at the perfection and beauty of the cinematography, the lighting, the sets, the shots, the angles... Even on a big-screen TV, you only see a faint hint of this film's real beauty; but the DVD brings it out in a way that only people who saw it in the theaters back in 1943 ever got to see... until now. Get a big monitor, a fast computer, and a good sound system. Then pop some popcorn, and be prepared to be stunned.
0Comment21 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This 1942 film is a classic, and rightly so. Staring Humphrey Bogart,
Ingrid Bergman and Paul Heinreid, it was originally just another one
of the more than 50 films turned out each year by each of the major
studios that dominated Hollywood in those days. It's release
coincidentally coincided with the Nazi occupation of France, and its
theme and its timeless love story caught the public's
imagination.
Casablanca in French Morocco is under French rule and
one of the places in the world where refuges can get safe passage
visas to go on to Lisbon and eventually to America and freedom. It is
seething with intrigue and corruption. Humphrey Bogart is an
ex-patriot American citizen who runs Rick's Cafe, where much of the
commerce takes place. Peter Lorre is a smuggler, Sidney Greenstreet
is a black marketeer, and Martin Dooley is the piano player known as
Sam.
When, one evening Ingrid Bergman comes in to the cafe on the
arm of her husband, Paul Heinreid, and asks the piano player to
"play it Sam", he reluctantly plays "As Time Goes
By." This melody which is played throughout the movie, is the
glue that defines the romance. There's electricity between the
lovers. There's intrigue and double dealing. Something exciting
happens in each scene. And the acting is so good that it brought me
right into Casablanca. The story is always clear. The danger is
always there. The tension sizzles.
One particularly meaningful
scene was when some Nazi soldiers gather round the piano and sing an
ominous song to the "Fatherland". It makes everyone in the
Rick's cafe very uncomfortable. That's when Paul Heinried instructs
the orchestra to play the French national anthem, the
"Marseilles". Everyone starts to sing. The Nazis are
silenced. The music takes over. I found my eyes filled with
tears.
The video I rented included a "made for TV program"
that featured interviews with some of the original writers and
recollections from people working on the set at the time. There was
an interview with the man who did the music. He said that when he
wrote that into the script he actually felt tears running down his
face. It was the same powerful emotion that I felt too.
The movie
was shot in black and white. It was also shot in a studio in
Hollywood. The airplane scene used a cardboard cutout of a plane and
hired midgets dressed as mechanics. Shot from a distance and through
a fog it was realistic and served the same kind of purpose of
today's video imaging and special effects.
Of course all the
principals are dead, but their celluloid images in a timeless classic
film lingers on.
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on January 10, 2003
I was also peeved by the lack of details about this "Collector's Set", so I went hunting.
Bottom line: Unles you want lobby cards, 8X10 stills, and a few other "collectables", save your money. The DVD itself in the "Collector's Set" appears to be identical to the DVD in the original release. Based on other vendors' sites, here's what you get for the extra money:
- Lobby Cards: 8 Original limited edition lobby card prints.
- Senitype: Exclusive limited edition senitype® image from movie with 35mm film frame.
- Theatrical Poster: Original one sheet movie poster (27 x 40 ).
- Exclusive Collection: 6 Original Limited Edition B & W Photograph Stills.
Information regarding the DVD in the "Collector's Set" is:
DVD CONTAINS:
- Digitally restored image and cleaned soundtrack.
- Theatrical trailers.
- YOU MUST REMEBER THIS, a 36-minute documentary newly updated with recently discovered, unseen outakes and screen tests.
- Special introduction by screen legend Lauren Bacall, wife of Humphrey Bogart.
I didn't see any new DVD features on any site.
This is one of the greatest films ever made, but the "extras" aren't worth the extra $... to me. I'll gladly take the original release, which should be in everyone's DVD library!!
1212 comments291 of 370 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 16, 2011
This isn't a review of the movie, it's a review of the disk.

This review is for the Blu-ray release, ISBN 1-4198-5312-0. It's a single disk release.

First of all... NO JAVA!!!

This means the disk loads quickly and auto-resume works.

I just compared this with the DVD release. Casablanca (Two-Disc Special Edition). The menus are better implemented and you have more choices in subtitles.

The transfer is super sharp and crisp. They took full advantage of Blu-ray's capabilities. I was hesitant to buy this release as I already owned the DVD. I'm glad I did. The difference between the two is immediately obvious. Don't get me wrong, the DVD is a good release, it's just limited by DVD technology.

Sometimes I'll have both the DVD and Blu-ray version of a movie. In some the special features are implemented better in the DVD. The Patriot is one where this is true. Also I'll often want fast loading or auto-resume.

There are times I've regretted buying a Blu-ray version of a movie I own on DVD. In this case I see no reason to keep my DVD disk. This Blu-ray release is flawless.

Kudos to Warner Brothers.
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on March 27, 2001
Casablanca is the 2nd greatest movie of the 100 top in the last 100 years according to the American Film Institute (AFI) poll of 1998.
Warner Brothers Studios produce an abundance of hit patriotic romance features during the War Years (1940's). They had a stable of the greatest stars (Bogart, Bergman, Rains, Lorre, Greenstreet to mention a few) which produced countless movies in short order.
In Summary; French Morocco during World War II love triangle night club owner Rick (Humphrey Bogart), Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) & Victor (Paul Henreid) try to outwit & escape the Nazi's with many twists & turns involving an assortment of memorable characters you'll never forget.
Casablanca was the greatest of Warner Brothers (Best Picture Oscar)1940's features. In my opinion the #1 movie as yet due to the fantasic script, sreenplay (Won an Oscar) plots, cast, direction (Best Director Oscar)and charismatic attraction you'll have in watching this movie over and over.
The extras include a fantastic documentary narrated by Bogarts wife, Lauren Bacall.
Seeing is believing, trust me, pull up a comfortable chair and watch this digitalized Black & White classic "CASABLANCA".
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on February 22, 2004
Aaaahhh ... Bogey. AFI's No. 1 film star of the 20th century. Hollywood's original noir anti-hero, epitome of the handsome, cynical and oh-so lonesome wolf (with "Casablanca"'s Rick Blaine alone, one of the Top 5 guys on the AFI's list of greatest 20th century film heroes); looking unbeatably cool in white dinner jacket or trenchcoat and fedora alike, a glass of whiskey in his hand and a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. Endowed with a legendary aura several times larger than his real life stature, and still admired by scores of women wishing they had been born 50+ years earlier, preferably somewhere in California and to parents connected with the movie business, so as to have at least a marginal chance of meeting him.

Triple-Oscar-winning "Casablanca," directed by Michael Curtiz, was and still is without question Bogart's greatest career-defining moment, the movie on which his legendary status is grounded more than on any other of his multiple successes. The film's story is based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's play "Everybody Comes to Rick's," renamed by Warner Brothers in order to tag onto the success of the studio's 1938 hit "Algiers" (starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr). Building on the success of 1941's "The Maltese Falcon" and further expanding Bogart's increasingly complex on-screen personality, it added a romantic quality which had heretofore been missing; eventually making this the AFI's Top 20th century love story (even before the No. 2 "Gone With the Wind"), while second only to "Citizen Kane" on the AFI's overall list of Top 100 20th century movies; with a unique, inimitable blend of drama, passion, humor, exotic North African atmosphere, patriotism, unforgettable score (courtesy of Herman Hupfeld's "As Time Goes By," Max Steiner and Louis Kaufman's violin) and an all-star cast, consisting besides Bogart of Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa), Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo), Claude Rains (Captain Renault), Dooley Wilson (who, a drummer by trade, had to fake his piano playing as Rick's friend Sam), Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser), Sydney Greenstreet (Ferrari) and Peter Lorre (Ugarte). And the movie's countless famous one-liners have long attained legendary status in their own right ...

Looking at this movie's and its stars' almost mythical fame, it is difficult to imagine that, produced at the height of the studio system era, it was originally just one of the roughly 50 movies released over the course of one year. But mass production didn't equal low quality; on the contrary, the great care given to all production values, from script-writing to camera work, editing, score and the stars' presentation in the movies themselves and in their trailers, was at least partly responsible for its lasting success. In fact, the screenplay for "Casablanca" was constantly rewritten even throughout the filming process, to the point that particularly Ingrid Bergman was extremely worried because she was unsure whether at the end she (Ilsa) would leave Casablanca with Henreid's Victor Laszlo or stay there with Humphrey Bogart (Rick).

Little needs to be said about the movie's story. After the onset of WWII, Casablanca has become a point of refuge for Jews and other desperate souls from all corners of Europe, fleeing the old world with the hope of building a new life in America. Unofficial center of Casablanca's society is Rick's "Cafe Americain," where gamblers, refugees, French police, Nazi troops, thieves, swindlers and soldiers of fortune come together on a nightly basis, to make connections, conduct their shady business, or simply forget the uncertainty of their fate for a few precious hours. And presiding over this mixed and colorful society is Rick Blaine, expatriate American without any hope of returning to the United States himself (for reasons never fully explained), officially not interested in politics but only the flourishing of his business, but soft-hearted underneath the hard shell of his cynicism. From Rick's perspective, everything is going just swell and the way it is meant to be: he is reasonably well-respected, has a good working relationship with Captain Renault, the local representative of the Vichy government (based on mutual respect as much as on the fact that Renault is a guaranteed winner at Rick's gambling tables and, by way of reciprocation, turns a blind eye to whatever less-than-squeaky-clean transactions Rick may be tolerating in his cafe, always ready to have his police round up "the usual suspects" instead of the truly guilty party of a crime if that person's continued freedom promises to be more profitable); and although aware of Rick's not quite so apolitical past, the Germans are leaving him alone as well, as long as he stays out of politics now. Until ... well, until famous underground resistance leader and recent concentration camp-escapee Victor Laszlo and his wife Ilsa walk into Rick's cafe, into his place "of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world" - and with one blow, administered to the melancholy tunes of "As Time Goes By," the carefully maintained equilibrium of his little world comes crashing down around him.

The movie's recently-released two-disc special edition is unquestionably superior to the prior single-disc DVD; featuring not only an improved video transfer but also, and notably, a new introduction by Lauren Bacall, additional documentaries ("Bacall on Bogart" and "The Children Remember" with Stephen Bogart and Ingrid Bergman's daughters Pia Lindstrom and Isabella Rosselini) besides the excellent "You Must Remember This" already included on the one-disc edition, newly-discovered deleted scenes, treasures from the production history, commentary tracks with Roger Ebert and historian Rudy Behlmer, as well as several audio documents and fun stuff like web links and the "Looney Tunes" homage "Carrotblanca."

Not only to Bogart and Bergman fans all over the world, "Casablanca" is film history's all-time crowning achievement, a "must" in every movie lover's collection, and one of the few films that truly deserve the title "classic." If you don't already own it, the 2003 release of a two-disc special edition is a great occasion to remedy that omission!

Also recommended:
Algiers
Notorious - Criterion Collection
Humphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection, Vol. 1 (Casablanca Two-Disc Special Edition / The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Two-Disc Special Edition / They Drive by Night / High Sierra)
Humphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 (The Maltese Falcon Three-Disc Special Edition / Across the Pacific / Action in the North Atlantic / All Through the Night / Passage to Marseille)
Bogie and Bacall - The Signature Collection (The Big Sleep / Dark Passage / Key Largo / To Have and Have Not)
0Comment9 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 29, 1999
If you want to see one of the greatest films ever, this is the way to see it (forget video tape, the quality of this product is superb).
'Casablanca' is set in wartime Morrocco where refugees from Europe wait for the chance to escape to America. Rick (Humphrey Bogart) the owner of a fashionable bar, is shocked when his former lover Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) arrives with her husband Victor Lazlo, the leader of a Resistance movement. Victor is being pursued by the Germans who have a strong influence over the French authorities in Morrocco and who will be happy to see him stopped. Will Ilsa escape with Victor or will she leave him for Rick...?
When they bought the rights to the play (Everyone comes to Rick's), Warner Brothers couldn't possibly have known how successful 'Casablanca' would be. It has just the right mix of mystery, intrigue, romance and humour with a few memorable songs thrown in for good measure. Watch out too for the references to concentration camps which is suprising when you consider that it was filmed in 1942.
As well as the movie itself, on the DVD you get a documentary about its production hosted by Bogart's real-life partner, Lauren Bacall.
This is a must-see movie...
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on May 27, 2012
If you have neither room nor can justify for the collectors edition box see the standalone blu ray has everything you need a wonderful sharp well presented transfer of the 1942 Classic and hours upon hours of extras from a Looney Tunes short (which does fall flat as it was done years after Mel Blanc had passed) to everything shown alongside Casablanca (news reels shorts ect) Documentaries, deleted scenes and more.

Obviously the film is a classic and there is nothing I can say about that hasn't already been said in the 70 years since this film was made. I myself only just saw it for the first time and a second time just a few hours prior to writing this review.

If you are on the fence about getting this film on blu ray, don't be pick it up you won't regret doing so.
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