In World War II Casablanca, Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), exiled American and former freedom fighter, runs the most popular nightspot in town. The cynical lone wolf Blaine comes into the possession of two valuable letters of transit. When Nazi Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt) arrives in Casablanca, the sycophantic police Captain Renault (Claude Rains) does what he can to please him, including detaining Czech underground leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Much to Rick's surprise, Laszlo arrives with Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), Rick's one time love. Rick is bitter towards Ilsa, who ran out on him in Paris, but when he learns she had good reason to, they plan to run off together again using the letters of transit. Well, that was their original plan....
"Casablanca on DVD what a treat! Not only are we treated to a pristine
quality version of this all-time masterpiece, but there's a bonus a marvellous
featurette narrated by Lauren Bacall, full of fascinating information about the making of
the film and intriguing details about its script, music and casting. This is a love story
where passion smoulders and goodness, integrity and honour triumph. Who can forget Rick
and Ilsa, piano player Sam, Captain Renault and all those incidental characters that
explode with colour from the beautifully lit, moody black and white frames; the witty
script, Max Steiner's haunting score and the extraordinary performances that jump from the
screen into our hearts.
Bergman's critic daughter Pia Lindstrom talks about the relationship between her mother
and Bogie, and we talk to the playwright, screenwriters, editor, historian and others
involved in the project. Did you know that there were three teams of writers commissioned
to work on Casablanca each concentrating on one special aspect of the plot? And
that stirring scene in Rick's Café Americain where patriotism is boldly displayed during
the playing of La Marseillaise the playwright was in tears as he wrote the scene.
You'll find out about the change of title, and the tale about how the final airport scene
was created, will amaze you. Watch the film in English, French, Italian with additional
subtitles in Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, German, Romanian or Bulgarian . . . but watch it.
Navigation is easy to use and I got a real buzz (after watching the film on DVD), to
then have a closer look at it through my DVD Rom, on my new 19" screen. It's
extraordinary, and of course you can easily flick to your favourite scene. It's easy to
fall in love with Casablanca over and over again whenever you feel like it. Oh, I almost
forgot - the glimpse of animated 'Carrotblanca' with black Daffy Duck as Sam, Tweetie Bird
as Ugarte and Bugs Bunny as Rick, is a sheer delight."
"It was all an accident, this Casablanca, an accidental masterpiece. It was
hobbled together, patched up and recast (jettisoning Ronald Reagan
gulp!) and made
with a sort of stumbling care. And the final two-shot of Bogey walking off with Claude
Reins at the airport, came from the executive producer, Hal B. Wallis. So what. So what
does it matter how it was made, except as a curio? The documentary on this DVD reveals all
that, but what it doesn't address is why the film pings our hearts, to use a computerism.
Well, in this case, writers and filmmakers have stumbled onto the intangible truths about
the human condition and represented them without even knowing how. You can dissect it as
much as you like, but its great success lies in its endless, timeless appeal in a region
of the body that Claude Reins describes as his least vulnerable spot. But of course, like
Rick, Capt Renault is a closet sentimentalist - and a decent human being. We like decent
human beings, even (perhaps especially) if they are flawed. So here it is, in original
black and white, in original 1.33:1 ratio - and with a cheesy, coloured package-flyer with
a distorted Bogey on the tarmac looking like a dwarf. C'mon guys, this film deserves the
best wrapping taste can buy! But at least the content is terrific. Enjoy it forever."
Andrew L. Urban
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You can buy it HERE - next day delivery within Australia
See our REVIEWS
CAST: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Sydney
Greenstreet, Peter Lorre
DIRECTOR: Michael Curtiz
RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Warner Home Video
DVD RELEASE: April 2000
We gratefully acknowledge the complimentary use of a DVD
player from Philips.