This great movie gets the full bells and whistles treatment on DVD.
While this is a great movie, some of the extras felt a little redundant.Casablanca is a movie about love. Pure and simple. It's about what people do for love, how they react to love, how they are effected by love and what happens when they have to contain their love for the greater good. All of these ideas and concepts are very much on the surface but they also play into the subtext of this extraordinary film. Set in Morocco during World War II, Bogart plays Rick Blaine, a man who runs a cafe that hosts some of the most infamous dwellers in the black market. When Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) darkens Rick's doorstep, we come to find out about their past and how their unrequited romance has made Rick the person that he is. In the end there is a lot of double dealing, a lot of romance, a lot of strings being pulled as we are presented with one of the most amazing movies from the 1940s.
There are two commentary tracks on this DVD release. One is by critic Roger Ebert and the other comes to us from Historian Rudy Behlmer. I dipped in and out of both of these supplements, and while I found them to be interesting I don't know that I would call them amazing. As someone who loves movies and loves their histories, it's really nice to find out how the movies got made, what things were like on the set, and what was the rhyme and reason for certain decisions.
Introduction By Lauren Bacall
On this DVD there are two documentaries that fans of this film can sink their teeth into. They are Bacall On Bogart and You Must Remember This: A Tribute To Casablanca. These two documentaries are similar in that they celebrate what this movie has to offer, as well as what it represents within the lexicon of present day films. Due to time reasons, I didn't have the time to go through these two documentary films like I wanted to but from what I saw they were pretty darn comprehensive.
Additional Scenes And Outtakes
Who Holds Tomorrow?
Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul Documentary
If you ever wanted to know about Jack L. Warner than this documentary will certainly give you everything that you need to know. Produced by Warner's Grandson Gregory Orr, we get to see where Warner came from to how he eventually ended up ruling Hollywood with the films that he put into production. They don't make them like this anymore, so I would certainly suggest checking this bonus feature out.
Even more extras...
Now, if you like all that good stuff this set also comes with the following physical extra pieces:
- Exclusive Passport Holder And Luggage Tag
- 48-Page Photo Book
- 10 One-Sheet Reproduction Cards
- Archival Correspondence
Standard Version. Presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of its original theatrical exhibition. This black and white film looked really sharp on this release. As I have already reviewed it in another set of Bogart films, I don't think I can say too much more about it. It really seems something has been done the assets to allow this movie to hold up as well as it has over the years.
Dolby Digital. English and French Mono. I thought the sound was quite solid on this film. The truth of the matter is that this is an old film. No matter how advanced we may get in an audio sense there are always going to be issues with assets over time. While I can't say that any part of this movie sounded bad, I could tell that there was a bit of wear on the audio. However, I would have to get real nit-picky to pinpoint where everything was, and chances are if you are buying this DVD set you understand that over time things like this happen.
This DVD set is packaged to the hilt. With a white cardboard piece that looks like the cafe in the film, the back portion of this DVD visually showcases everything in this set. It also offers up a Special Features listing, a cast list, and then on the underside it gives users technical specs. Inside, this set is filled with the aforementioned artwork and special features that come with this set. This is one of the few releases that you don't want to open because everything is packaged up so nicely.
If you don't already own this movie on DVD then this new version is probably the way to go. Sure I found some of the extras to be a bit redundant, but overall things were really where they needed to be. My biggest problem is that while I think the 48 page booklet, passport holder and luggage tags were all cool, I don't know if a younger or older audience really cares about all these bells and whistles. The reality is that Casablanca n't need any of this stuff. There is so much to admire just in the film itself that I am not sure what we are given really needs to all be here.
All told, Casablanca is one of those movies that stands the test of time. It truly is an American classic and it's the kind of film that will be around long after writers like myself aren't writing about it.