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Casablanca 4K UHD Review

“Casablanca” remains a classic film…as time goes by.

1942’s timeless classic “Casablanca” is largely set at Rick’s Cafe in Morocco during WWII. The American owner’s club (Rick) is more than just a club for drinking, socializing, and smoking. It’s also a place for gambling and deal making for refugees seeking to get safe passage out of the country. Rick himself is a cynical man who claims to never stick his neck out for anybody, but that all changes when his former lover Ilsa comes walking through the doors. Although he remains heartbroken by how things ended between them, his love for her still remains (despite how he tries to ignore his feelings). When Ilsa and her husband (an important resistance leader named Victor Laszlo) approach Rick for letters of transit, Rick must make a big decision about what to do.

Directed by the ever versatile Michael Curtiz (who remains one of THE most underrated filmmakers) and penned by Jules J. and Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, “Casablanca” is frequently cited as one of the very best films of all time. It’s not hard to see why. For starters, this is simply one of the great romantic stories in cinema. It’s never sappy for a second and is subtle, passionate, and moving. Dramatically, there’s a lot going on here (especially with the character dynamics). There’s political intrigue during wartime, there’s a love triangle, there’s corruption, there’s seedy deals, and so forth. All of that is capped off with profoundly excellent writing. The dialogue is snappy, the lines are endlessly quotable, the characterization is truly as good as it gets and the ending is one of the best in cinema history. There are real character arcs here with grand payoffs (particularly with Rick, Ilsa, and Louis).

Speaking of the cast, it’s absolutely stacked with talent with the likes of Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Paul Henreid, and Dooley Wilson. Bogart gives one of his greatest performances as Rick- the cynic with a heart of gold. Ingrid Bergman’s at the top of her game as Ilsa. Claude Rains had a long storied career but he honestly steals this movie as the shady Police Captain Louis. 

This review couldn’t end without talking about the music. The combination of Max Steiner’s iconic score and the song and Herman Hupfeld’s song “As Time Goes By” is the lifeblood of the film. 

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 2160p. How does it look? Happy to report the B&W classic has never looked better. The image clarity is jaw droppingly stunning here. It looks like a brand new movie.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? It was a little snowy in spots but this is largely a deeply impressive 2.0 track through and through.

Extras:
* Blu-ray copy
* Digital copy
* 2 commentary tracks (on the 4K and Blu-ray)- One by the late legendary film critic Roger Ebert and one by film historian Rudy Behlmer.
* An intro by Lauren Bacall (on the 4K and Blu-ray)
* Blu-ray extras: Theatrical and re-release trailers, outtakes, over 1 ½ of deleted scenes without audio, “Who Holds Tomorrow?” “Casablanca” TV episode, a cartoon called “Carotblanca,” 2 radio dramas, scoring stage sessions, featurettes titled “Great Performances: Bacall On Bogart,” “Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of,” ”Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic,” “You Must Remember This: A Tribute To Casablanca,” “As Time Goes By: The Children Remember,” and “Warner Night At The Movies” which contains a newsreel, a “Now, Voyager” trailer, “Vaudeville Days” short film, and 3 cartoons titled “The Bird Came C.O.D.,” “The Squawkin’ Hawk” and “The Dover Boys At Pimento University.”

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November 9, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , , , , , ,

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