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'Casablanca' Gets High Marks on 4K Ultra HD for its 80th Anniversary

Posted on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 4:26 PM

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Casablanca is considered by many to be one of the best movies ever made. Opening in theaters in 1942 and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman as former lovers who must deal with their past while foiling the efforts of the Nazis trying to capture Bergman's resistance leader husband, the classic movie garnered Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Director (Michael Curtiz). It was also nominated for Cinematography, Actor (Bogart), Supporting Actor (Claude Rains as the local constable), Editing, and Music. The Library of Congress chose Casablanca as one of the first entrants for its National Film Registry. It's also considered a great romance, with the American Film Institute ranking it as the top romantic movie of all time.

It's difficult to imagine anyone that enjoys movies not having seen it at least once, if only to see what the fuss was about. Even if you haven't seen the movie, you've probably heard quotes, including "Here's looking at you, kid,", as well as "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine," and "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." Frequently misquoted is the line "Play it once, Sam. For old times' sake." (many people repeat it as "Play it again, Sam")

The movie makes frequent appearances in theaters (find showtimes), and, with the 80th anniversary of the movie, Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies are bringing the movie back to theaters on March 5 and 8, 2023.

If you can't make it to a movie theater to see it on the big screen, or you just want to have it in your collection to watch whenever you want, the movie was just released on 4K Ultra HD and the reviews for it are pretty good! A.Frame, the digital magazine for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the people behind the Oscars), featured it in a recent article and referred to the 4K disc release as "nothing short of miraculous" and covered what was done to produce the 80th anniversary edition:

Once the best possible version of the film was assembled, Eisenberg and her team went to work on balancing the color shot by shot. On a black-and-white film like Casablanca, the wider color spectrum offered with HDR ensured that every velvety black, vivid white, and the subtlest shade of grey was masterfully refined, enhancing the film's beautifully lit interiors, moody nighttime sequences or intense close-ups.

"You never have to try hard to make Ingrid Bergman beautiful," Eisenberg laughs. "That's easy!"

With the wider color gamut, previously unseen aspects of the film are now revealed.

That high praise is backed up by other reviews, with High-Def Digest giving it a near-perfect score and Ralph Potts on the AVS Forum giving the new video transfer a 96 out of 100 rating. The Digital Bits said in its review that the 4K release is a "stunning and essential addition to the library of any self-respecting cinephile." There are many more reviews just like this, so if you don't have this title in your collection, this is an excellent time to add it. If you have the movie on DVD or Blu-ray, perhaps you can share it with a friend or family member and treat yourself with the 4K disc!

In case you're not yet convinced, there are plenty of extras included in this release as well. Along with the 4K Blu-ray disc, HD Blu-ray disc, and a Digital Download code, the excellent audio commentary by the late Roger Ebert is not to be missed. If you don't understand why this movie is so highly regarded on its own merits, listening to Ebert describe what he loves scene-by-scene may change your mind! More commentaries are available, as are featurettes about the making of the movie and additional footage that didn't make the final cut.

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