Wow, there is everything to feel confident about in your purchase. You own a film, that defines film, in it's definitive release. Casablanca is endlessly quotable, discussable and entertaining. It has never looked and most likely will never look better. The sound of this release is incredible. I grew up with my grandfather's collection of VHS that seemed to always have old movies hissing and generally sounding tinny. This 60+ year old movie sounds great which helps to involve you in a way that you most likely haven't experienced before. Casablanca, looking and sounding this great, and the Roger Ebert commentary are worth the price of admission but the extras are insightful and will never be better because there isn't anymore to add. I personally feel a strange sense of pride in my copy. My sincere appreciation goes out to all those at Warner Bros involved in this release.
Frankly, the PQ is unbelievable for a film made in 1942. Absolutely spotless restoration and transfer, with perfect contrast and impressive stability. The detail is exceptional (pay attention to tight specular highlights, such as in people's eyes or glass and jewelry).
The sound is also surprisingly clean, with no harshness or noise. No gimmicks here either, they stuck with the original monaural soundtrack, but again the clarity is astounding for a film of this vintage.
And, naturally, the film itself is fantastic. It truly has a little bit of everything (tracking the project's development makes it obvious why and how it ended up this way), but the pieces all fell together in just the right sequence to produce a masterpiece. It encompasses all movies, all genres, and the synergy that results (intentional or not) reminds us over and over again why we love cinema so much in the first place.
Umberto Eco said it best:
"Thus Casablanca is not just one film. It is many films, an anthology...When all the archtypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homeric depths...If nothing else, it is a phenomenon worthy of awe."
(Sorry for the lengthy post, but I love this movie.)
Wishman, it's hard to believe the movie is more than 60 years old. The restoration (there must have been one) and the transfer are impeccable. Look at the lamp's on the tables in Rick's restaurant, and you'll be amazed at the details they have on those hanging decorations, whatever they may be called.
Don't expect sensational surround sound from the film, obviously there will be audio limitations from the source.
Let me recommend another great black and white film. Although very new by comparison, Good Night and Good Luck is amazing. People may scoff that the lack of color will never help show off a format...well, I disagree. It's incredibly sharp and detailed, there just happens to be no color. And it's a great story, too.
Congratulations on your purchase, I have a feeling you won't be disappointed.
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