I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed "Algiers". The combination of plot, atmosphere, music, and great character acting moved the film right along and kept my interest. It's easy to see that this is what Warner Brothers had in mind when they made "Casablanca", and while "Casablanca" is a much better film, "Algiers" certainly does not deserve to sink into oblivion.
Charles Boyer does a fine job as a charming Parisian jewel thief hiding out in the "casbah" of Algiers (then a French colony); Hedy Lamarr, as the slumming tourist, is also very good. There are good supporting actors in most of the other parts, including Alan Hale (senior), father of Alan Hale (junior) who was "Skipper" on TV's "Gilligan's Island". Gene Lockhart, as the betrayer, is also a standout.
The "casbah" itself, part North African/part Hollywood, is also a star here. Lots of good set design and camerawork (James Wong Howe). I was curious about the music: it's partially credited to "Mohammed Igarbouchen" (a.k.a. Mohamed Ygerbuchen) and I found that he also did the music for the French "Pépé le Moko" of which "Algiers" was a re-make.
-- A word about the DVD: millions of dollars were not spent to restore picture and sound quality and provide lots of extras. Too bad. This DVD, from Alpha Video, is just the movie. The overall quality is not pristine. There are some scratches on the film and some noise on the soundtrack. A film from 1938 could look and sound a lot better. It looks like what's on the DVD probably came from a made-for-TV print, because the picture is slightly enlarged to completely fill the screen. This is obvious at the beginning when part of the credits text is off the edge of the screen. Still, as of this time, this is your only chance to get "Algiers" on DVD, and Alpha Video offers it at a bargain price; my recommendation is "buy it".