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Showing 1-10 of 1,703 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,776 reviews
on June 5, 2012
Even after 70 years, the greatness of CASABLANCA remains timeless. This captivating classic, so vividly played out and cinematically crafted, is a textbook example of the Hollywood studio system at its absolute best.

The 70th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition restores the film's pictorial splendor, surpassing the previous version which used too much DNR. This time the film's inherent grain texture isn't smoothed away along with a measure of sharpness, but is evenly configurated resulting in perfect black and white image resolution that replicates 35mm film.

CASABLANCA is offered both as a Blu-ray/DVD special combo package and as a single Blu-ray disc. The big set comes with an array of bonus material, much of which was bumped over from the previous Blu-ray edition, including the commentaries by Roger Ebert and Rudy Behlmer. There's also some photographic and printed memorabilia, and a few new documentaries on the making of the film, on its director, Michael Curtiz, another on the history of Warner Bros., and one on its chief mogul, Jack L. Warner. The single Blu-ray has all the video/audio extras except the two Warner documentaries, and doesn't include any memorabilia items.

One of my all-time top favorites, CASABLANCA is a movie I enjoy playing again and again, and if that's true of you, then this upgrade is a must.
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on November 28, 2016
Yes, you can make what you will of the ending - the repressed bromance between Renault and Rick, and the "noble sacrifice" of love on the altar of duty to the greater good - but there is nothing about this film that is not fabulous. What doesn't it have? - good vs. evil, body vs. soul, tightly paced plot in an exotic locale, unforgettable characters, and crackerjack dialog with one classic line after another. Bogart in a white tux and Ingrid Bergman looking to-die-for beautiful. Yes, it's my all-time #1 film, and for those born after 1980 who just don't get what the film is about, ... I feel rather sorry for you.
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on August 23, 2016
Absolutely one of my all time favorite movies! Though I never thought Humphrey Bogart had much of a range as an actor, he portrays the jilted and bitter Rick absolutely brilliantly in what was originally just a “B” movie. This classic film examines the relationships and life of a cold hearted business man who runs a club in Casa Blanca, Africa, which is on the refugee trail for Europeans (escaping the horrors of World War II) heading for America. Rick “sticks his neck out for no one” until one day when the beautiful Ingrid Bergman steps into his club accompanied by her hero husband portrayed by actor Paul Henreid. From this point we discover the character Rick is much more of a hero deep down than anyone imagined. Claude Rains provides a great contrast portraying the local playboy, out only for himself “poor corrupt government official.” In the end, these characters stand up to the Nazi war machine as they embark on the “start of a beautiful friendship.” This DVD beautifully captures the original black and white classic movie that should be on every classic movie lover’s shelf.
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on April 13, 2012
First, I'm not reviewing the movie, which in and of itself is worth 10 stars. Yes, it follows "Citizen Kane" as the second-best movie of all time. But it's probably the best overall and most enjoyable movie ever made. So enough about what we already know...

Second, with a couple of exceptions, I'm not really reviewing the quality, quantity, or variety of extras in this special edition as a reason to purchase or not to purchase this movie. It's got some cool souvenirs, extras, etc. Some of the extras I watched appear to have been re-mastered vs. the 2008/2009 edition they were in. In that edition, the extras look as though they were poorly upscaled from the DVD version. The extras on this edition seem to be of better quality, and the menus are a bit more refined.

What I am reviewing is the quality of this transfer vs. the 2008/2009 Blu-Ray edition of the movie. Sadly, I think the 2008/2009 edition is superior, both for the video and the audio. Let me start by saying I watched all versions on an HDTV and on a newer 1920x1080 Dell laptop with the appropriate player software. For the heck of it, I also took an HD recording off TCM, as well as a TCM standard DVD because I could not really believe what I was seeing, or rather, not seeing, with this edition. The problem with this edition is that the contrast/gamma is off. Way off, at least on my monitors, relative to the 2008/2009 edition Blu-Ray and DVD, and the TCM HD airing. While the other versions seem to have no problem with grays, this edition contains too much black. I had to create a custom setting on my monitor to expand the gamma. When I went back to other shows, they were far too bright and washed out, so I don't think it's in my monitor or laptop. And yes, I can watch the TCM edition on my laptop via SageTV. This leads me to believe one of two things is going on - either "Casablanca" has been transferred incorrectly all along, and this edition finally got it right, or this edition has a problem with its transfer. I think it's the latter. The gamma is just plain too low. Things are either too black, lost in the shadows, or too white. The good news is, relative to the 2008/2009 Blu Ray edition, the resolution appears even higher and more detailed. The grain of the film is so apparent it almost hurts your eyes, in a good way. Needless to say, either edition beats the TCM HD airing in that department, as one would expect with the lower bitrate of satellite TV. Obviously, they also beat the standard DVD, but not by as much as one might think. I take issue with the contrast/gamma so much because of the important use of shadow, both with the characters' faces and costumes, and with the backgrounds, to convey emotional states and atmosphere. It's not solely because the detailing on someone's top or sleeve gets lost due poor contrast/gamma, although that is almost as bad.

The other issue is the audio. It's not that I expect surround; I never did from any edition. The problem is that the movie starts out loud and then gets softer. It's the same with dialogue normalization engaged or disengaged in my players/monitors. I was hoping that since the movie was in mono, and not being listened to with the expectation of a surround-sound festival, that I could correct the steadily-dropping level by using normalization and not destroy dynamic range that was never there to begin with. Unfortunately, that did not help either. Again, neither the 2008/2009 blu Ray or TCM DVD editions, or the TCM HD airing suffered from this, so I don't think it's my systems' fault.

Am I saying not to buy this movie? No, I am not. Casablanca is hands-down my favorite movie. But at $45 for this edition, I think one should be prepared for what one might or might not get. Maybe it's my monitor and laptop. I doubt it's both, especially with three other versions to compare it to. If you think I may be right, rent the last release and watch them both and decide for yourself.

As to the extras, the ones I have watched so far look as though they have been at least re-scanned in HD, even if their aspect ratios are not right when showing clips of the movie within them. I also recommend listening to Ebert's commentary at least one time while viewing the movie. He makes some great points about the composition of the movie itself and offers some compelling arguments against the popular "Casablanca" urban legends such as Bergman's alleged confusion about not knowing the eventual outcome of her character (aside from the order of the shooting, as an actress she had to know all along that her character could never go off with Bogart's character since her character was married and the film censors of the time would never have allowed her character to leave her husband for another single man in the movie). Details such as those might cause you to look further into the fascinating story of how this movie came to be so highly regarded, when in reality no one at the time expected it to be anythig more than one of the 50 or so movies Warner Brothers would make that year.

****Update****

Just for the heck of it, I purchased a used HD DVD copy as well. My above criticisms against this 70th. Edition would also stand as compared to the HD-DVD transfer. It also has much better contrast/gamma, but I still have to give a slight edge to the 70th. Edition for the detail. As I stated earlier, the resolution of the 70th. Edition is so good at revealing the grain of the film that it almost hurts to look at it.
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on January 17, 2017
The greatest movie of all time (IMHO) one of the best things about the old black and white films is that they were shot in such grand scope, that they look absolutely amazing when transferred to Bluray.
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VINE VOICEon September 2, 2003
Seriously though... "Casablanca" is virtually critic-proof: so stirring and entertaining that even its myriad implausibilities (you'll never see a swankier set of war refugees in your life) add somehow to its charm. I've seen the film dozens of times - mostly on rainy nights with a glass of Chablis trembling in one hand - and I've never stopped marveling at how Curtiz and his team transcended all the hide-bound elements of the studio system without even trying. If they had been trying - like in "Passage to Marseilles" - the film would've been a disaster.
The special sublimity of the film comes from, I think, the fact that it shouldn't work, really - based on a second-rate (and never produced) play, the movie combines broad comic farce mixed with romantic melodrama stirred up with wartime jinogism. Yet the screenplay and efficient direction distills out the limitations of each of these elements -the comedy never becomes silly or strained, the romance never weepy, and the sloganeering never obnoxious - and produces an happy and effervescent concotion.
Enough about the film - what about this new DVD release? Well, the outtakes aren't especially relevatory (two cut scenes - both inconsequental; a couple of extended shots); the second disk extra are ok (two Bacall documentaries - one on Casablanca which was on the previous disk, another older feature outlining Bogart's film career); and, in descending order of interest, the 1943 Lux Radio program, a mediocre Bugs Bunny take-off, and a thoroughly soporific mid-1950's attempt to make it into a t.v. show (although Marcel Dalio shows a bit of panache in the Renauld role).
If you don't already own the film on DVD, get this version. The transfer is excellent and the commentaries are better than average (plus you get a soundtrack extra featuring Dooley Wilson doing several takes of the songs). After watching the film and all the assorted supplements, you'll get a strong sense of why "Casablanca" was so unique - and why neither Curtiz nor anyone else ever managed to pull off such a coup de theatre again.
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on March 6, 2017
You know the movie so I will tell about the blue-ray experience. Blue-ray is great. Watched it on a 4K television. Nice and sharp, no lines, skips or any other problems. So clear you can see their eyes watering up. Unedited so all the adult humor and innuendos are there. Sound is also very good. Without prime it took about a week and a half to arrive but worth it. Buy it for your library. Watch the outtakes and see Bogie's reaction to someone changing the contents of a drink from tea to the real stuff.
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on March 3, 2017
it wasnt really supposed to be a great film.. it was churned out through the hollywood gears like all the other forgettable ones they made that year and during that period. but somehow it rose far above all the others, and despite some questionable plot contrivances its a true classic in every sense
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on March 19, 2017
The greatest! Superb acting from Bogie and Bergman to Dooley Wilson. . This is on a list of perhaps three I could watch several evenings running. I'd almost forgotten how great an actress Bergman was - how beautiful in a non Hollywood way. When I'm shipped to that desert Island, Casablanca will be clutched to my breast!
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on March 12, 2017
people will still remember this as the best movie ever made. Enough said. If possible I'd give it FOUR thumbs up!
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