Casablanca at 70
Casablanca‘s one of the top classic films of all-time, and it’s managed to exist on virtually every home video format, including HD-DVD and CED, which sounds trivial, but it’s managed to remain within that hallowed pantheon of top international classic films while others have gone out of print, or remain isolated on obsolete video formats, or have yet to appear even on DVD-R.
Relax… this isn’t a rant about the lack of classic films on DVD. Casablanca [M] (1942) is at this point untouchable, and deserves to be, because every time I sit down to watch the film, it amazes me how well it’s made – an observation echoed repeatedly by interviewees within the collection of making-of docs and featurettes that have followed the film from laserdisc to DVD & Blu-ray.
It’s latest Blu-ray release also comes with a documentary on director Michael Curtiz, whom film historians and directors such as Steven Spielberg and William Friedkin have been lauding for years.
There’s a whole swathe of cineastes who may know some of the 160 films he directed in his massively prolific career, but not the guy who directed Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), Dive Bomber [M] (1941), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1943), Mildred Pierce (1945), and The Egyptian [M] (1954) – films spanning a broad range of genres.
Warner Home Video’s set also includes several bonus documentaries on Disc 2. The Brothers Warner [M] (2008) came out separately on DVD not long ago (hence the archived review), and I’ll have reviews of the additional docs - Jack L. Warner: The Last Mogul (1993) and You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story (1997) – in the coming weeks.