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Michael Curtiz
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Writing Credits:
Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch

A cynical expatriate American cafe owner struggles to decide whether or not to help his former lover and her fugitive husband escape the Nazis in French Morocco.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
French Dolby 1.0
Italian Dolby 1.0
Castillian Dolby 1.0
Spanish Dolby 1.0
German Dolby 1.0
Czech Dolby 1.0
Hungarian Dolby 1.0
Polish Dolby 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $33.99
Release Date: 11/8/2022

• Introduction by Lauren Bacall
• Audio Commentary With Film Critic Roger Ebert
• Audio Commentary With Film Historian Rudy Behlmer
• “Warner Night At the Movies”
•“Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart” Documentary
• “Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of” Documentary
• “Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic” Documentary
• “You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca” Documentary
• “As Time Goes By: The Children Remember” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes
• “Who Holds Tomorrow?” TV Program
• Homage Cartoon “Carrotblanca”
• Scoring Stage Sessions
• 4/26/43 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Broadcast
• 11/19/47 Vox Pop Radio Broadcast
• Trailers
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Casablanca [4K UHD] (1942)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 3, 2012)

Because this represents my sixth (!) review of 1942’s Casablanca, I will skip the standard movie discussion. If you want to inspect my extended thoughts, please click here,

To summarize: I don't fully agree with the immense critical reputation maintained by Casablanca, but I like the film nonetheless. It’s a genuinely well-crafted piece that offers a stimulating plot and some good performances. I don't know if it's one of the absolute finest movies ever, but it's definitely a strong production.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus A

Casablanca appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This was an impressive presentation.

Sharpness felt appealing. Any softness that occurred came from the source, usually due to some light soft focus used for Ingrid Bergman. These instances created no distractions, as overall definition was strong.

I noticed no issues with jagged edges or moiré effects. Edge haloes failed to mar the presentation.

Source flaws also were a non-factor here. The movie came with a layer of grain that appeared to use some “management”/removal, but this remained tasteful when utilized.

Blacks looked deep and dense, while shadows offered good clarity and smoothness. Contrast seemed solid, with a positive silver feel to the production that received extra heft via the disc’s HDR. I could find nothing much about which to complain from this solid transfer.

While not up to the high quality of the picture, the DTS-HD MA monaural audio of Casablanca seemed good for the era. Dialogue occasionally betrayed a little brittleness but usually seemed nicely clear and fairly natural. The speech lacked some of the depth we'd hear in more modern recordings, but it appeared quite rich for its era.

Effects and music also sounded a bit thin and tinny, but these faults seem typical for the day, and both elements appeared clean and relatively crisp. On occasion, we even heard a little low end; an early scene in which a plane flew overhead was so vivid that I almost felt like the track included a surround element!

No problems related to noise or hiss showed up during the movie, so it seemed clean and smooth. The audio of Casablanca couldn’t totally overcome the restrictions of its era, but it seemed quite good for its age.

How did this 4K UHD compare to the 2012 Blu-ray? Audio remained essentially identical, as any differences appeared marginal.

Visuals enjoyed the usual benefits of the format, specifically in the way HDR added to blacks and contrast. Unsurprisingly, the 4K could feel a little softer than the Blu-ray, as the superior resolution made the source’s restrictions more obvious. Ultimately, I thought the 4K became more satisfying than the Blu-ray, though I wouldn’t call it a revelation.

As we shift to extras, the 4K UHD disc opens with an introduction by Lauren Bacall. During this two-minute, nine-second clip, she gives us a quick chat about the film’s timeless appeal. It’s forgettable but painless.

Up next are two separate audio commentaries, and the first one comes from film critic Roger Ebert, who provides a running, screen-specific affair. The veteran of a few other tracks for flicks like Citizen Kane, Ebert knows his way around an audio commentary, and he offers a generally interesting one here.

Ebert provides a mix of topics. He gives us a little history about the film and its participants, and he drops a fair amount of trivia facts into the discussion. He debunks myths like the alleged casting of Ronald Reagan as Rick and he tells us other tidbits as well.

Ebert gets into some deconstruction of the flick as he relates notes about camera techniques and other elements. To his credit, Ebert even criticizes some aspects of the movie.

This means he delves into some plot flaws and knocks the overly stiff character of Laszlo. At times Ebert simply tells us the story, though, and the commentary occasionally goes dull. Still, this seems like an above average chat for the most part.

Next we hear from film historian Rudy Behlmer, who also gives us a running, screen-specific track. A commentator for quite a few other older flicks, Behlmer comes prepared as always. He starts at the beginning as he traces the film’s origins and its path to the screen.

Behlmer gets into casting, the many rewrites of the script, quick biographies of many participants, and scads of other production issues. Though he goes quiet a little too often, Behlmer seems efficient and thorough during this mostly lively and informative commentary.

These extras also appear on the included Blu-ray copy along with some features not found on the 4K disc. A creative and fun addition to the set, Warner Night at the Movies attempts to replicate the cinematic experience circa 1942.

This feature includes a preview for Now, Voyager - a flick from the same era as Casablanca - plus a period newsreel, three animated shorts (The Squawkin’ Hawk, The Bird Came COD and The Dover Boys at Pimento University), and a live-action musical short entitled Vaudeville Days.

These are the kinds of pieces that might have preceded a theatrical showing of Casablanca, so if you activate this feature, you get an attempt to duplicate a night at the cinema. With “Night” on, you go through all these components and then head straight into the movie. I like this program and think it’s quite clever.

Under “Behind the Story”, we open with Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart gives us a general look at the actor’s career. Created in the late 1980s, it runs one hour, 23 minutes, 27 seconds as the actress chats about the work of her late husband.

The show also includes remarks from Alistair Cooke, writer/director Richard Brooks, screenwriter Julius Epstein, writer Budd Schulberg, director John Huston, actors Katharine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman and Van Johnson, and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich. A few remarks from Bogart himself also pop up along the way.

A nice general overview of his career, “Bogart” traces the actor’s roots as a performer and watches as he starts with roles as nice, clean-cut young men before he transitions to gangster and then the romantic tough guy exemplified in Casablanca. Often I don’t like documentaries that pour on the movie snippets, but here they seem very appropriate and appreciated, especially since they demonstrate the evolution of his career.

We also find cool contrasts such as the same scene from Bogart’s two different versions of The Petrified Forest and snippets of earlier non-Bogart takes on The Maltese Falcon. The show even tosses in items like an unused take from The Big Sleep alongside the final version as well as some great home movies created by Bacall and others.

“Bogart” doesn’t offer a tremendous amount of insight or detail, and most of the interviews and Bacall’s remarks seem more superficial than I’d like. The content does improve after she and Bogart meet and we get her personal remembrances. Overall, the program remains entertaining and it gives us an enjoyable look at Bogart’s work.

Next comes the 37-minute, 20-second Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You Never Heard Of. It features statements from Behlmer, directors Steven Spielberg and William Friedkin, editor/sound designer Ben Burtt, biographer/film historian Alan K.Rode, The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World author Kati Marton, producer Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., and cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, editor Carol Littleton.

“Heard” offers some biographical information about Curtiz, but that’s not its emphasis. Instead, it concentrates on his career, so it largely acts as an appreciation of his work. We hear about his films and learn a little about his methods. Though the result can be a bit fluffy at times, it’s still a fun, educational piece; it’s particularly good to hear from notables like Friedkin and Spielberg about Curtiz’s influence and abilities.

Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic. It fills 34 minutes, 59 seconds with info from Alan K. Rode, William Friedkin, Steven Spielberg, Kati Marton, Rudy Behlmer, Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Caleb Deschanel, Carol Littleton, production designer Jeannine Oppewall, composer Don Davis, and costume designer Ruth Myers.

As you probably noticed, “Classic” uses essentially the same crew as “Heard”, and it follows a similar motif. We get a mix of production notes and appreciation here, as all involved talk about the film’s creation and greatness.

This is less informative than “Heard” just because the Blu-ray’s other components already tell us so many of the same production details. Nonetheless, it’s still a good piece and it merits a look.

You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca ofers a 34-minute, 38-second documentary about the movie. Hosted by Lauren Bacall, this program features interviews with Bergman’s daughter Pia Lindstrom, Rudy Behlmer, screenwriters Julius Epstein and Howard Koch, story editor Irene Lee Diamond, film historian Ronald Haver, playwright Murray Burnett, actor Dan Seymour, composer Henry Mancini, soundman Francis Scheid, and first assistant director Lee Katz.

Overall, it's a nice piece that provides a good background for the making of the film. We hear a basic history of the project and also learn some of the controversies and problems that surrounded it. This is the only place we get remembrances from actual members of the production, which adds some insight.

One other fun aspect comes from a discussion of spin-offs and rip-offs of Casablanca, a couple of which show up elsewhere on this disc. The program should have been longer and more detailed, but as it stands, it's a nice overview of the film.

Some modern reminiscences appear in As Time Goes By: The Children Remember. This six-minute, 45-second program includes comment from Bogart’s son Stephen and Bergman’s daughter Pia Lindstrom.

As with “You Must Remember This”, some of the memories contradict what we learn in the commentaries. A few good notes pop up, but overall this seems like a somewhat bland walk down memory lane that mostly just tells us what a great movie Casablanca is.

Some long-lost cut material shows up in the next two areas, and Deleted Scenes provides two unused clips. With the original audio gone, we get subtitles from the script to accompany them.

One shows Rick as he meets with Laszlo in jail, and the other gives us a comic glimpse of a German officer who drinks before he thinks. The pair total a mere one minute, 40 seconds, but they offer a fun look at some cut material.

Outtakes falls in a similar vein. This gives us four minutes, 58 seconds of unused footage. Nothing here seems as interesting as the “Additional Scenes”, especially since these clips also come without sound. Still, they’re an intriguing addition to the disc.

A production related to the film shows up next. Who Holds Tomorrow? comes from a 1955 TV series adaptation of Casablanca. Starring a badly miscast Charles McGraw as Rick, this program runs 18 minutes, 37 seconds. It reminds me of the Barry Nelson adaptation of Casino Royale in that it bears some vague resemblance to the best-known work but it seems thin and flat.

While not entertaining on its own, “Who Holds Tomorrow?” still earns a spot on this disc as a historical curiosity. In a nice touch, the piece includes many of the original host portions with Gig Young along with some commercials that accompanied the broadcast. These seem more entertaining than the limp show itself.

Briefly glimpsed during “You Must Remember This”, the full-length version of the 1995 Bugs Bunny cartoon Carrotblanca appears. It lasts eight minutes, two seconds and provides a decent spoof of Casablanca. I wouldn’t call it a classic, but it seems entertaining at times.

Some audio features appear. The Scoring Stage Sessions include various musical cues. We get some different takes of songs performed by Dooley Wilson along with a couple of instrumental medleys.

None of these seem all that compelling to me, but I’m sure more dedicated fans of the movie will enjoy the chance to hear some discarded audio. The “Sessions” take up a total of 15 minutes, 22 seconds.

A 1943 production of the Screen Guild Radio Show gives us a 24-minute, 38-second adaptation of Casablanca. Interestingly, this features Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid as they reprise their movie roles.

Unfortunately, that’s about the only interesting aspect of the radio show. It reduces the story to its bare bones and it doesn’t tell the tale very well. Still, it’s fun to get as a historical memento.

The audio area ends with a radio show entitled Vox Pop. Aired 11/19/47, this 29-minute, 35-second broadcast takes us behind the scenes at Warner Bros. and introduces us to a mix of personnel as part of a discussion of Michael Curtiz.

This is a pretty superficial program – and one packed with as many references to a certain brand of traveler’s checks as humanly possible – but it’s still pretty entertaining as an archival piece.

Finally, we get two trailers: one for the movie’s original theatrical release and another for its 1992 reissue.

Nothing I could say would even remotely dislodge Casablanca from its perch as a classic, and I would not want to try. I do not think it totally lives up to its reputation, but I find it to offer a very well-crafted and engaging film. This 4K UHD presents excellent visuals with sound that seems quite good for its era plus a strong set of supplements. Though not a major upgrade over the 2012 Blu-ray, this 4K became the most satisfying presentation of the film to date.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of CASABLANCA

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main