Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

by Marty Demarest


It's a classic. One of those acts of artistic alchemy that shouldn't work. Bogey, lost in love and drink and political confusion, while Ingrid Bergman haunts his life. Claude Rains, Peter Lorre and a supporting cast of "formidable hams," as one critic put it, act almost as if they're each in a different sort of film. It's a drama that feels like a romance while containing a healthy dose of thriller. It was improvised by the filmmakers as they went along. It is a heroic accumulation of clich & eacute;s that eventually achieves a sublime critical mass that can only be described as the human spirit. Casablanca is for all time. So let's leave that much alone.


Warner Brothers has finally issued a two-disc DVD set that pulls together some of the ephemera that has accumulated in our culture since the movie's initial release. Included in the set is an introduction by Lauren Bacall, and recollections from Humphrey Bogart's son and Ingrid Bergman's daughters. There are documentaries on the making of the film, not to mention a healthy dose of historical photographs and press materials. Ten invaluable minutes of lost footage and outtakes appear (not all that interesting - but then this is Casablanca we're talking about). There is the inspired inclusion of the Looney Tunes spoof/tribute Carrotblanca, and the surprising addition of the first episode from the thankfully failed television series Casablanca. Umberto Eco's seminal essay on the film isn't there -- I can't imagine why, as it's brilliantly funny -- but scholarly relics of Casablancolatry by Roger Ebert and Rudy Behlmer are included as commentary. Suffice it to say, the Casablana Special Edition is a veritable shopping list of everything a fan could want.


So how does it add up? Does it matter? The film's a legend. In fact, if you dig deep enough, you can even find a restored version of it in the set. And in the end, that's all that really matters. This isn't the type of classic that's a classic just because some earlier generation fell in love with the story and the stars. It's a classic because it's one of the best movies ever made; you can't improve Casablanca. You probably couldn't even create Casablanca again. It's too improbable -- and too improbably good. It's the gold that resulted from Hollywood years ago when movies still had the potential for magic.





Publication date: 08/14/03

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • 'Why Aren't They Digging?'
  • 'Why Aren't They Digging?'

    The family of a man killed by Spokane Police in 2011 is still searching for answers
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • 'Hookerville' Revisited
  • 'Hookerville' Revisited

    Pedestrian bridge's price tag draws fire before city council vote; plus, Washington, Idaho fall short in closing the achievement gap
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Taking a Hike
  • Taking a Hike

    Whether or not they supported the minimum wage hike, local businesses and nonprofits are scrambling to pay for it
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally & Unity March

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Rally & Unity March @ Spokane Convention Center

Mon., Jan. 16, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Marty Demarest

  • The Cowboy's Cowboy
  • The Cowboy's Cowboy

    A Canadian sings about the life —  not just the lifestyle — of the new West
    • May 15, 2013
  • Completing the Trilogy
  • Completing the Trilogy

    Mass Effect has finally arrived
    • May 23, 2012
  • Minecraft
  • Minecraft

    Adventure and survival too often give way to mindless crafts in this building-block simulator.
    • Feb 8, 2012
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Thanks, Obama

    The legacy of the 44th President goes far beyond the election of the 45th
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

scandal


scandals


Comment


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation