DVD - Image A+ Sound A Extras A
BD (Ultimate Collector's Edition) - Image A- Sound B+ Extras A
BD (70th Anniversary Edition) - Image A Sound A Extras A
starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains
screenplay by Julius J. Epstein & Philip G. Epstein and Howard Koch, based on a play by Murray Burnett, Joan Alison
directed by Michael Curtiz
by Walter Chaw Whenever I watch Casablanca (and there's a lot of pressure that comes with watching Casablanca (the chorus from Freaks rings in my head: "One of us, one of us, we accept you, one of us")), I'm stricken by what the film would have been had Orson Welles or John Huston (or even Billy Wilder--Rick is, of course, the prototypical Wilder outsider) sat at the helm instead of the madly prolific Michael Curtiz. Schooled in German Expressionism, Curtiz, by the time of Casablanca, had lost much of anything like a distinctive visual style, and on this film, a troubled production from the start, there's a lack of imagination to the direction that contributes, at least in part, to the way that Casablanca just sort of sits there for long stretches. For all of its magnificent performances (Claude Rains, best here or in Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious; Peter Lorre, a personal favourite; and let's not forget Sydney Greenstreet), Casablanca is curiously sterile: its politics are topical, but its love story is passionate by dint of history rather than proximate ardour. Ingrid Bergman arguably gave off more heat in Victor Fleming's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and inarguably did so in Gregory Ratoff's Intermezzo. Casablanca is legendary, and that forgives a lot of its blemishes.