Casablanca (Ultimate Collector’s Edition)

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Rating: PG

Starring:
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine
Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund
Paul Henreid as Victor Laszlo
Claude Rains as Captain Renault
Conrad Veidt as Major Strasser
Sydney Greenstreet as Signor Ferrari
Peter Lorre as Ugarte
S.Z. Sakall as Carl
Madeleine LeBeau as Yvonne
Dooley Wilson as Sam
Joy Page as Annina Brandel
John Qualen as Berger
Leonid Kinskey as Sascha
Curt Bois as Pickpocket

Special Features:
Commentary By Roger Ebert
Commentary By Historian Rudy Behlmer
Introduction By Lauren Bacall
Additional Scenes And Outtakes
2 Documentaries:
- Bacall On Bogart
- You Must Remember This: A Tribute To Casablanca
Featurette As Time Goes By: The Children Remember With Pia Lindstrom And Stepehen Bogart
Production Research Gallery
Homage Cartoon Carrotblanca
Who Holds Tomorrow?: Premiere Episode From The 1955 Warner Bros. Presents TV Series Adaptation Of Casablanca
Scoring Session Outtakes
Audio-Only Bonus: Radio Production With Movie’s 3 Key Stars
Theatrical Trailers
Plus Bonus DVD: Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul Documentary – A Revealing Look at the Rise of a Hollywood Legend, Produced by Warner’s Grandson Gregory Orr
Exclusive Passport Holder And Luggage Tag
48-Page Photo Book
10 One-Sheet Reproduction Cards
Archival Correspondence

Other Info:
Fullscreen (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital Mono Sound
French and Spanish Language Tracks
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 102 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official DVD description:

“Casablanca: easy to enter, but much harder to leave, especially if your name is on the Nazi’s most-wanted list. Atop that list is Czech Resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henried), whose only hope is Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a cynical American who sticks his neck out for no one… especially Victor’s wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), the ex-lover who broke his heart. So when Ilsa offers herself in exchange for Laszlo’s safe transport out of the country, the bitter Rick must decide what’s more important – his own happiness or the countless lives that hang in the balance.”

“Casablanca” is rated PG for mild violence.

Mini-Review:
I recently admitted that I had never seen “The Godfather” trilogy. Well, it’s confession time again – I had never seen all of “Casablanca” before this DVD set arrived. Sure, I knew the basic plot, the familiar imagery, the parodies, and the quotable lines. But this was the first time I remembered actually sitting down and watching it all at once.

“Casablanca” remains an interesting snapshot of another time. It shows the unique Moroccan city, the period costumes, and the intriguing politics leading up to the U.S.’s involvement in WWII. Usually you see Nazis blazing through a city demanding whatever they wanted rather than simply leaning on the government of a neutral territory. The fact that Laszlo and Ilsa could hide out in the open rather than stay out of sight is a unique aspect of the plot.

“Casablanca” also offers up a unique cast of characters. Rick Blaine comes across as the original anti-hero. Underneath a selfish, uncaring exterior is a hero with a heart of gold. I think Indiana Jones and Han Solo owe a lot to old Rick. That being said, Humphrey Bogart’s performance comes across as a bit stiff in a modern context. But it’s easy to get over quickly. “Casablanca” is dated in a few other respects. They use the old ‘fuzzy cam’ any time Ingrid Bergman is shown on camera (especially notable in Blu-ray), some of the airplane effects are obviously toys on wires, and some of the matte paintings aren’t all that convincing. But there are a lot of other tricks that they use that still hold up today. For example, the plane to Lisbon was a cutout on a soundstage with midgets in front of it. Those little things along with the cinematography make it an impressive accomplishment.

As a fan of modern films, I have to admit that I was a little bored halfway through “Casablanca.” Despite this, I thought the overall story was interesting and I was impressed with what they were able to accomplish with limited resources and writing the script on the fly. If nothing else it’s fun to see where so many quotable lines originally came from. If you’re a movie buff or if you simply like “Casablanca,” then this would make a great Christmas gift for you.

The Blu-ray set comes with movie poster postcards, replicas of important production documents (like a memo renaming the film), a passport holder, and a book of photos. The bonus features on the DVD are a bit less impressive. There’s a 6 minute featurette interviewing Bogart and Bergman’s children, the Bugs Bunny cartoon ‘Carrotblanca’, and a few outtakes that have no sound. I was disappointed that there were no old interviews with Bogart or Bergman. On the positive side, there’s an interesting audio commentary by Roger Ebert (obviously done before his throat surgery) and a half hour documentary on the making of the film. It’s full of all sorts of interesting anecdotes and stories from the set.

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