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94 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray Review
This is a review of the Blu-Ray quality, not of the film itself which is one of the all-time cinematic classics.

"Casablanca" on Blu-Ray is very beautiful to behold. It seems that the print was in very good condition and the transfer is very clear and detailed. Some shots do highlight the differences in cinematography and camera technology over time; so that,...
Published on 24 Feb 2010 by Mr. Blu

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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this version!!- it's not the remastered 70th Ann. Edition
The transfer used for this steelbook is the older, inferior Warner transfer- NOT the new, remastered version done for the 70th Anniversary! You can see the differences if you go to caps-a-holic dot com, and search for Casablance under 'C'...you will see the comparison between the US and the German (DE) blurays. The inferior German disc is the same as this new UK bluray...
Published 17 months ago by Blu-ray fan


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94 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray Review, 24 Feb 2010
This is a review of the Blu-Ray quality, not of the film itself which is one of the all-time cinematic classics.

"Casablanca" on Blu-Ray is very beautiful to behold. It seems that the print was in very good condition and the transfer is very clear and detailed. Some shots do highlight the differences in cinematography and camera technology over time; so that, for example, when three people's faces are shown in close-up with the focus on one of them, the two faces out of focus are much more blurry than in modern films. This is a little disturbing at first, but you soon get used to it. And the face in focus, so often Ingrid Bergman's, is crystal clear and radiant with detail; the sparkling of her diamond earings is captured quite sublimely. An advantage for HD here is that the camera often allows itself much longer, still lingering shots than you would see in our impatient modern age. This allows the fine acting skills (of a generation that knew no Botox!) to be observed minutely and shows off the resolution of the image very nicely.

"Casablanca" is comfortably the oldest Blu-Ray I have seen (although "Metropolis" is rumoured to be on the way at the end of this year!) and yet very high up the quality ladder. It does not really have reference quality depth and plasticity, but the black/white contrasts are pretty good, and in general there is nothing to criticise in this subline transfer of a film getting on for 70 years old. It is perhaps worth mentioning though that the correct original aspect ratio of 4:3 will produce vertical black bars at the side of the image on your TV. I watched this with a projector and the bars are not really noticeable, but on a TV it might disturb a little; it does take more getting used to than the horizontal black bars because it makes the image seem a little 'thin'.

Speaking of 'thin' brings us, of course, to the Dolby Digital 1.0 soundtrack. Now, of course, the option of the original mono soundtrack should be offered to satify purists. But what would have been wrong with the additional option of a skilfully reworked surround track as seen on so many Disney BD releases e.g. "Snow White"? My receiver can synthesise a surround track, but the results produced by a team of dedicated engineers would have been much better - as a comparison with "Snow White" makes clear. And why on earth is the mono soundtrack compressed? A mono soundtrack is acceptable, but it should have been PCM, True HD or DTS HD Master Audio. The soundtrack maybe just about holds its own in a living room (depending on your expectations), but in a dedicated home cinema set-up it is a bit of a damp squib.

It goes against the grain not to give five stars, but the laziness behind this release on the audio front (imagine how 'La Marseillaise' might have sounded in lossless quality!) means that this five star film with five star visuals just has to relinquish one star because of the soundtrack. Should it ever get a re-release with a lossless soundtrack (preferably with a surround mix, but in mono would do) then I will delete this review and re-write a five star one!

I hope this is of some help to prospective BD purchasers. The disc is recommended, but be prepared for a soundtrack that leaves a lot to be desired.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars HD rejuvinates an old TV classic, 18 Dec 2007
Black-and-white? Academy ratio? Mono sound? World War II film stock? On HD DVD? Are they kidding?

Well, no. Amazingly, it works. The pictures are as sharp and clean as if they were shot yesterday. The lovely thing about 35mm film is that it was always HD-ready. Even 65 years ago.

With this release, it's possible to see what the director and cameraman were trying to do for the first time since the wartime fleapits. There's a real art to the composition and the way depth-of-field and focus are used to control the viewer's eye. That subtlety is lost in SD because nothing is quite in sharp focus. The difference brings the film back to life in a way that had me disappearing deep inside the story like never before.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship...., 22 Nov 2003
This review is from: Casablanca [1942] [DVD] (DVD)
Because I've been reading Michael Walsh's novel As Time Goes By, I recently decided to watch Casablanca again on DVD. I was amazed to see how this 1943 Oscar-winning film remains powerful and moving 60 years after its release.
Almost everybody knows its plot of of wartime intrigue and its doomed romantic triangle of bitter American saloonkeeper Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), the beautiful Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), and her idealistic husband, Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). This trio is supported by a wonderful and varied cast of characters, including Police Prefect Louis Renault (Claude Rains), Rick's faithful friend and piano player Sam Waters (Arthur "Dooley" Wilson), the conniving Ugarte (Peter Lorre), the Russian bartender Sacha (Leonid Kinsky), and the loveable maitre d' Carl (S. Z. Sakall).
The heart of the movie revolves around the conflict created in Rick's heart by World War II. When his former flame Ilsa arrives in Casablanca, does he help her and her husband Victor escape to Lisbon, or does he allow German Major Strasser (Conrad Veldt) to capture the fugitive Czech resistance leader so Rick can take Ilsa to America himself? Or do his natural good instincts surface and get Rick to do the honorable thing?
This movie has a little bit of everything: suspense, drama, comedy, an exotic setting, and lots of music, including renditions of "It Had To Be You," "The Very Thought Of You," and a thrilling duel between Germans singing the "Watch On The Rhine" and the Allies belting out "The Marsellaise." Other songs heard in the film include "Knock On Wood," and the unforgettable "As Time Goes By."
Another crucial element is the snappy and memorable dialog written by the Epstein twins and Hal B. Wallis for this movie:
Rick: I came here for the waters.
Louis: Waters? What waters? We're in the desert.
Rick: Obviously, I was misinformed.
Ilsa: (to Sam) Play it. Play "As Time Goes By."
Rick: (to Sam) Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.
Louis: (pretending to be surprised) I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling in here!
Casino Dealer: (handing Louis some money) Your winnings, sir.
Louis: (takes the money) Thank you.
Rick: (to Ilsa) Now, now...here's looking at you, kid.
With all these ingredients, director Michael Curtiz and producer Jack Warner came up with a recipe for a movie that became a beloved classic, a status recognized when the Library of Congress named Casablanca as one of the most important American films.
Betty June Moore
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must remember this ..., 24 Aug 2006
By 
Themis-Athena (from somewhere between California and Germany) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Casablanca : The Movie & More (Two-Disc Special Edition) [1942] [DVD] (DVD)
Aaaahhh ... Bogey. AFI's No. 1 film star of the 20th century. Hollywood's original noir anti-hero, epitome of the handsome, cynical and oh-so lonesome wolf (with his "Casablanca"'s Rick Blaine alone, one of the Top 5 guys on the AFI's list of greatest 20th century film heroes); looking unbeatably cool in white dinner jacket or trenchcoat and fedora alike, a glass of whiskey in his hand and a cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. Endowed with a legendary aura several times larger than his real life stature, and still admired by scores of women wishing they had been born 50+ years earlier, preferably somewhere in California and to parents connected with the movie business, so as to have at least a marginal chance of meeting him.

Triple-Oscar-winning "Casablanca," directed by Michael Curtiz, was and still is without question Bogart's greatest career-defining moment, the movie on which his legendary status is grounded more than on any other of his multiple other successes. The film's story is based on Murray Burnett and Joan Alison's play "Everybody Comes to Rick's," renamed by Warner Brothers in order to tag onto the success of the studio's 1938 hit "Algiers" (starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr). Building on the success of 1941's "The Maltese Falcon" and further expanding Bogart's increasingly complex on-screen personality, it added a romantic quality which had heretofore been missing; eventually making this the AFI's Top 20th century love story (even before the No. 2 "Gone With the Wind"), while second only to "Citizen Kane" on the AFI's overall list of Top 100 20th century movies; with a unique, inimitable blend of drama, passion, humor, exotic North African atmosphere, patriotism, unforgettable score (courtesy of Herman Hupfeld's "As Time Goes By," Max Steiner and Louis Kaufman's violin) and an all-star cast, consisting besides Bogart of Ingrid Bergman (Ilsa), Paul Henreid (Victor Laszlo), Claude Rains (Captain Renault), Dooley Wilson (who, a drummer by trade, had to fake his piano playing as Rick's friend Sam), Conrad Veidt (Major Strasser), Sydney Greenstreet (Ferrari) and Peter Lorre (Ugarte). And the movie's countless famous one-liners have long attained legendary status in their own right ...

Looking at this movie's and its stars' almost mythical fame, it is difficult to imagine that, produced at the height of the studio system era, it was originally just one of the roughly 50 movies released over the course of one year. But mass production didn't equal low quality; on the contrary, the great care given to all production values, from script-writing to camera work, editing, score and the stars' presentation in the movies themselves and in their trailers, was at least partly responsible for its lasting success. In fact, the screenplay for "Casablanca" was constantly rewritten even throughout the filming process, to the point that particularly Ingrid Bergman was extremely worried because she was unsure whether at the end she (Ilsa) would leave Casablanca with Henreid's Victor Laszlo or stay there with Humphrey Bogart (Rick).

Little needs to be said about the movie's story. After the onset of WWII, Casablanca has become a point of refuge for Jews and other desperate souls from all corners of Europe, fleeing the old world with the hope of building a new life in America. Unofficial center of Casablanca's society is Rick's "Cafe Americain," where gamblers, refugees, French police, Nazi troops, thieves, swindlers and soldiers of fortune come together on a nightly basis, to make connections, conduct their shady business, or simply forget the uncertainty of their fate for a few precious hours. And presiding over this mixed and colorful society is Rick Blaine, expatriate American without any hope of returning to the United States himself (for reasons never fully explained), officially not interested in politics but only the flourishing of his business, but soft-hearted underneath the hard shell of his cynicism. From Rick's perspective, everything is going just swell and the way it is meant to be: he is reasonably well-respected, has a good working relationship with Captain Renault, the local representative of the Vichy government (based on mutual respect as much as on the fact that Renault is a guaranteed winner at Rick's gambling tables and, by way of reciprocation, turns a blind eye to whatever less-than-squeaky-clean transactions Rick may be tolerating in his cafe, always ready to have his police round up "the usual suspects" instead of the truly guilty party of a crime if that person's continued freedom promises to be more profitable); and although aware of Rick's not quite so apolitical past, the Germans are leaving him alone as well, as long as he stays out of politics now. Until ... well, until famous underground resistance leader and recent concentration camp-escapee Victor Laszlo and his wife Ilsa walk into Rick's cafe, into his place "of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world" - and with one blow, administered to the melancholy tunes of "As Time Goes By," the carefully maintained equilibrium of his little world comes crashing down around him.

The movie's two-disc special edition is unquestionably superior to any prior single-disc edition; featuring not only an improved video transfer but also, and notably, a new introduction by Lauren Bacall, additional documentaries ("Bacall on Bogart" and "The Children Remember" with Stephen Bogart and Ingrid Bergman's daughters Pia Lindstrom and Isabella Rosselini) besides the excellent "You Must Remember This" already included on the one-disc edition, newly-discovered deleted scenes, treasures from the production history, commentary tracks with Roger Ebert and historian Rudy Behlmer, as well as several audio documents and fun stuff like web links and the "Looney Tunes" homage "Carrotblanca."

Not only to Bogart and Bergman fans all over the world, "Casablanca" is film history's all-time crowning achievement, a "must" in every movie lover's collection, and one of the few films that truly deserve the title "classic." If you don't already own it, this two-disc special edition is a great occasion to remedy that omission!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vichy et Noir, 18 Aug 2004
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Casablanca [VHS] (1942) (VHS Tape)
The geo-political background of this marvellous film, a film which transcends its WW2 propaganda efforts, is still not known to many: after the fall of France in 1940, most of France (except Paris and North and the coastal regions) was, in fact, at least until 1942-43, run by a virtually independent pro-German French administration based in the spa town of Vichy. The overseas colonies of France, from Devil's Island to Indo-China, were ideologically split: some supported Vichy, some de Gaulle's London-based "government", others a mid-way position based around local high-ranking French commanders (French Morocco and Algeria, to name but two).

Casablanca, a port in Morocco, played a quasi-independent game, allied to Vichy but full of all sorts of people, including people in the administration and police, until the Americans and British invaded "by invitation" in 1943 (Operation Torch). This film is set somewhat beforehand, although actually made a little later.

Many propaganda points in the film will not be picked up on by most viewers, as in the scene where the obnoxious Deutsche Bank exec fails to gain entrance to Rick's casino room and storms off saying he will "report it to Der Angriff". how many know that to have been Goebbels' newspaper?

Whatever one's views about WW2, this film can be enjoyed for itself. It is, of course, a classic, a classic noir at that. Everyone should own this film.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politics and love, 4 May 2006
By 
Henry Ireton (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Casablanca [1942] [DVD] (DVD)
Few films create a world like Casablanca. The skills of some of Hollywood's and Europe's finest actors are on display here with no weak performances and many strong ones. Because of the unique wartime conditions under which it was filmed all the minor characters are played by refugees from teh Nazis who were great actors in their own right. To add to that Peter Lorre and Sidney Greenstreet are as other reviewers have said at the height of their powers as actors. As for the leads, Bergman must be the most beautiful woman to have ever lit up the screen, Bogart is grimly fantastic, Claude Rains does sinister humour like noone else can quite and Paul Heinreid is principled enough to be a credible resistance leader. The plot famously revolves around the choice made by Bergman between two men who both love her deeply and the escape from occupied France of a leader of the Resistance, Victor Laslo (Heinreid). It illustrates several important themes that make it a wonderful film- the scenes shot between Bergman and Bogart in Paris convey the bliss of a brief but intense moment of falling in love with someone in a beautiful city (in a way like Before sunrise did in 90s Vienna), there is some wonderful humour within the film as well that must not be missed, but overall the picture is deeply serious- concentration camps, the tyranny of Naziism and the hope of freedom across occupied Europe all make an appearance. So textured is this film that it is difficult to comment on it, save to say that you will enjoy it and you must see it.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this version!!- it's not the remastered 70th Ann. Edition, 31 Jan 2013
The transfer used for this steelbook is the older, inferior Warner transfer- NOT the new, remastered version done for the 70th Anniversary! You can see the differences if you go to caps-a-holic dot com, and search for Casablance under 'C'...you will see the comparison between the US and the German (DE) blurays. The inferior German disc is the same as this new UK bluray steelbook. Buyer beware.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best film ever made., 23 Dec 2006
By 
Richard Barnes (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Casablanca [1942] [DVD] (DVD)
'Casablanca' is simply the best movie ever made. It has everything; a great story, a real atmosphere of sophisticated but desperate refugees in wartime, fantastic performances, great music and a powerful, uplifting message of unselfish love. It is humbling and heart-warming in equal measure to read other reviews of 'Casablanca' on this page and see how well loved this film is by so many all over the world (and how well they express it).'Casablanca' is one film that will live for ever.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, a Standard, a Complete Movie..., 27 Jun 2005
This review is from: Casablanca [1942] [DVD] (DVD)
This classic and much-loved romantic melodrama is always found on top-ten lists of film lovers the world over, is a masterful tale of two men vying for the same woman's love in a chaotic love triangle. The story of political and romantic espionage is set against the backdrop of the wartime conflict between democracy and totalitarianism.
With a rich and smoky atmosphere, anti-Nazi propaganda, Max Steiner's superb musical score, suspense, unforgettable characters and memorable lines of dialogue (e.g., "Here's lookin' at you, kid," and the inaccurately-quoted "Play it again, Sam"), it is one of the most popular, magical (and flawless) films of all time - focused on the themes of lost love, honor and duty, self-sacrifice and romance within a chaotic world. Woody Allen's Play It Again, Sam (1972) paid reverential homage to the film, as have the lesser films Cabo Blanco (1981) and Barb Wire (1996), and the animated Bugs Bunny short Carrotblanca (1995).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Languages & Quality, 2 Jan 2011
Blu-ray all zone

Ratio of the feature film:
1.33:1 (Black and White)

Languages of the feature film:
Dolby 1.0: English, Brazilian Portuguese, Hungarian and 2 Commentaries

Subtitles for nearly all the videos:
Complex Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Arabic, Czech, Hebrew, Hungarian and English for the hearing impaired

Extra subtitles only available for the feature film:
Bulgarian, Croatian, Estonian, Greek, Icelandic, Polish, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, Thai and Turkish

Verdict:
A very good picture and the clear sound, an exceptional edition for an outstanding film! You couldn't expect better for a film shoot in 1942.

NB: The blu-ray cover does say Japanese language and Spanish subtitle but there are actually not on the disc.
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