The timeless and magical "Casablanca" meets the digital age with decidedly mixed results. There's as much to say in this disc's favour as there is to say against it and one can't help feeling that a definitive release has yet to come our way.
The picture quality is quite sharp and director Michael Curtiz's extensive use of shadows and moody lighting look a treat. But the print needs restoration work with some unacceptable damage in chapter 13. This also affects various cutaway shots, the sky especially being rather grainy.
An accompanying documentary is a little cheesy but the affection with which the interviewees talk about the film is unmistakable. These include co-scriptwriter Julius Epstein and Murray Burnett who wrote the play the film is based on. One of the most interesting revelations is that the airfield at the end is actually a studio shot with a cut-out aeroplane and midget mechanics to keep the perspective right!
There's no faulting the excellent chaptering on the DVD that means you can select such classic scenes at a touch of a button like "Play it, Sam", "Of all the gin joints", "Here's looking at you", "We'll always have Paris", and many more.
Sound: Dolby Digital 1.0
Extra Features: Scene selection, multiple languages, subtitles, English for the hearing impaired.