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Casablanca: Special Edition
A truly perfect movie, the 1942 Casablanca still wows viewers today, and for good reason. Its unique story of a love triangle set against terribly high stakes in the war against a monster is sophisticated instead of outlandish, intriguing instead of garish. Humphrey Bogart plays the allegedly apolitical club owner in unoccupied French territory that is nevertheless crawling with Nazis; Ingrid Bergman is the lover who mysteriously deserted him in Paris; and Paul Heinreid is her heroic, slightly bewildered husband. Claude Rains, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, and Conrad Veidt are among what may be the best supporting cast in the history of Hollywood films. This is certainly among the most spirited and ennobling movies ever made. --Tom Keogh
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This movie premiered in 1942 when the war's outcome was very much in doubt. This alone lends to the tension & urgency of the film. Fashion is mid 20th century...very traditional & occasionally erotically revealing. The dialogue is fast-paced & crackling. Rick is not above more than a few putdowns to the minions seeking his approval or allegiance. The actual writing was edited as the movie was in production so the players never knew how the eventual outcome would occur.
Elsa (Ingrid Bergman) is a stunning revelation. The chemistry between Rick (Humphrey Bogart) and Elsa is sustained throughout. This film was, is and always will be film making at it's best
An expatriot, living in Morroco,(Bogart), finds again his former lover(Bergman) and there involvement in a highly and hot political climate (during WWII times and the Germans) causes a great problem for Rick Blaine and Illysa Lund, as at first she wants to go home but tries to convince him to let her stay, both having become deeply involved again. This is best in b & w as the atmosphere of the club he owns as well as all characters and the peripheries around it, give an atmoshere of smoke, shadows, and tensions that can almost be felt while watching the film.
I read somewhere that both Bogart and Bergman(as inexperienced) didn't think much of each other. This didn't come through with their polished, quality character portrayals. The strong tone of all the character voices and words(the script) clearly give the sense of occupancy, immediacy, tension, intrigue, authority and mystery, as war and being in a land of sudden occupation, fear of one's life, and escape, former rejection yet rediscovered desperate (and potentially fatal)) love during the time, lay at the voice of each character's part. If one's watches at least half way through, one can become involved in the story. Every character is believable. Each in its own portrayal, pulls you in, wanting to know the inevitable end.
As all those before me, I highly recommend this film; there were many war films made, as it was an actuality, but this has everything human and although hollwood being hollywood, some aspects of story were not far from true. Passion for each character comes through vivdly, as does the atmosphere. War is war, yet few films can produce the fear and the struggle of sudden occupation, ex patriots getting out before it overtakes one or more lives, attempts to save people or possessions as this film does.
This is quite a good film and again, hollywood being hollywood, it is full of drama, passion and fantasy. This film, with all its great stars, is also escapism and a very good one at that, as well. If you chose to watch, I hope it is with pleasure.
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.