Collectable: 'Casablanca' at 70
Here's looking at a superb special edition
"You must remember this /a kiss is still a kiss / a sigh is just a sigh."
"Play it, Sam."
"We’ll always have Paris."
"Here’s looking at you, kid."
"I think this is the beginning of beautiful friendship."
Is there a more memorable, more quotable, more quintessential Hollywood movie?
The winner of three Oscars in 1943, including Best Picture, "Casablanca" placed second in the AFI's poll to find the Best American Film of all time over 50 years later and is still one of the most beloved and popular Hollywood classics of all time. It is timeless and it celebrates its 70th Anniversary with a new deluxe edition.
See an exclusive clip from a new featurette below.
Humphrey Bogart proves that looks aren’t everything as the cinema’s most romantic existential hero and Ingrid Bergman is a vision of soft-focus loveliness as the emotionally wounded heroine. And they’re just the tip of this iceberg of Hollywood’s most supreme achievement in character casting: Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Dooley Wilson, Sydney Greenstreet, and Peter Lorre are among the iconic faces in the exotic crowd. Michael Curtiz, the top director at Warner Bros. and one of the most versatile of his era, brings it all together with such perfection that it casts a spell across the decades. If you've seen it, you don't need any more encouragement from me. If you haven't seen it… why not?
It's been on DVD and Blu-ray in special editions before. For the 70th Anniversary, Warner has remastered the film in a 4K scan (theatrical big screen quality) for a three-disc deluxe Blu-ray+DVD Combo edition filled with superb supplements and a few less-essential collectables.
The transfer is an improvement over the 2008 Blu-ray release, with greater clarity and detail and a sensitivity to the original black and white film that preserves the texture of the original without drawing attention to the grain.
New to this edition is a pair of companion documentary shorts: "Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of," a 37-minute whirlwind tour of this career that makes for a decent introduction but begs to be filled out with more details and more stories (and there plenty of Curtiz stories to draw from), and "Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic," with the same filmmakers and commentators focusing in on film that centers Curtiz's career. [See a clip from this featurette below.]
The feature-length documentary "The Brothers Warner," previously available separately and as a bonus on the "Humphrey Bogart: The Essential Collection" box set, rounds out the new additions to this edition.
Carried over from previous editions are separate commentary tracks by movie critic Roger Ebert (he brings a conversational quality to his appreciation) and film historian Rudy Behlmer (who aims his talk at the fan rather than the classroom), the documentaries "Jack Warner: The Last Mogul" (a fairly generic 1993 biography) and "Bacall on Bogart" (1988) and the 1992 featurette "You Must Remember This: The Making of Casablanca" (the latter two hosted by Lauren Bacall), the short piece "The Children Remember" with Bogie’s son Stephen Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s daughter Pia Lindstrom, five minutes of outtakes (see Bogie break character with an inspired expression), the premier episode of the 1955 "Casablanca" TV series, the audio-only “Screen Guild Players Radio Production” of the film starring Bogie, Bergman and Paul Henreid and a subsequent 1947 radio version, the 1995 Looney Tunes cartoon homage "Carrotblanca," plus "Warner Night at the Movies" trailers, cartoons, and shorts, and other supplements.
The set also features an illustrated booklet with general notes and trivia, a mini-poster, and a set of four coasters. Yes, unnecessary, maybe even silly, but I admit that I get a kick out of seeing the logos for Rick's Café American and The Blue Parrot. It's all packaged in a numbered paperboard box.
And an FY: if you want the new transfer without the box and the physical baggage (or the deluxe price), Target is offering an exclusive single-disc Blu-ray release with most (but not all) of the supplements.