Casablanca Michael Curtiz

CasablancaMichael Curtiz
DVD reissues of classic movies should be treated like pieces of social history, and while this trend remains in its infancy, Warner Bros.'s treatment of Citizen Kane and now Casablanca makes the company a forerunner (except for cineaste-oriented Criterion, of course). On this two-disc version, one can linger forever at Rick's Café Américain in Morocco, where the proprietor won't have a drink with you and the piano player won't ever play a certain song. Unless she walks in to this gin joint. Star Humphrey Bogart gets the most respect from the extras here, with an extensive biography hosted by his widow, Lauren Bacall. Tributes to the great film range far — from filmmakers and actors to historians and academics — but none may be more clever or succinct than Carrotblanca, the classic Looney Tunes spoof; Tweety's take on Peter Lorre alone is worth the price of admission. By throwing pretty much a film vault's worth of archives at the project (including deleted scenes and outtakes for which audio is long lost), there is a fair amount of overlap in terms of subject, especially when one adds two commentaries to the mix. Robert Ebert proves himself once again an adept and entertaining analyst while a second commentary by film history Rudy Behlmer is more stilted and scripted but still interesting. Like Kane, DVDs like this are love-fests through and through — no one dares drop even a hint of "well, it's not that good" — but if you're gonna buy it, you probably agree. Extras: two commentaries; tributes to the film and Bogart; outtakes and deleted scenes; Carrotblanca; pilot episode of Who Holds Tomorrow? 1955 TV series based on the film; more. (Warner)