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Casablanca (1943)

Warner Bros.

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains.

Rating: PG

Run time: 102 mins

Genre: Romantic

Verdict: Brilliant (see rating system)

Here's looking at you, kid...

More than 60 years after Humphrey Bogart spoke those memorable lines to Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca looks astonishingly well thanks to a gorgeous new digital transfer that has restored picture and sound to pristine condition.

Winner of three Oscars, including "Best Picture", Casablanca is the ultimate romantic movie, set against the backdrop of the Second World War, and boasting a cracking script, lots of action and fine performances.

Rick (Bogart) operates the famed Rick's nightclub in Casablanca, a Moroccan city crowded with Europeans fleeing the advancing Nazi hordes and hoping for eventual escape to America. It's a place of intrigue as big money exchanges hands for the precious papers that will allow refugees to depart for freedom

Into this exotic world one night comes Ilsa (Bergman) - the woman who broke Rick's heart in Paris the day the Nazis marched in two years before. As Rick's pianist Sam (Dooley Wilson) sings As Time Goes By, Rick and Ilsa see each other for the first time in years - and the moment is one of the most spine tingling in movie history.

But Ilsa isn't alone - she is travelling with her husband, freedom fighter Victor Laslo (Henreid), a man determined to keep fighting the Nazis. In turn, they are just as determined to ensure Casablanca is his last port of call.

While the movie follows Laslo's bid to stay one step ahead of Major Strasser (Conrad Veidt), the vicious Nazi officer pursuing him, the movie's heart is really the love between Rick and Ilsa - and about doing the right thing when the going gets tough.

A brilliant ensemble cast brings the film to life, none more so than Claude Rains as the amusing, but shrewd Captain Renaud, the Vichy police chief who must answer to the Nazis, even though he secretly despises them.

The fine two-disc edition issued by Warners in 2003 is loaded with extras, including a fascinating documentary on the chaotic circumstances during production when the scriptwriters didn't know how it was going to end. They even gave Rick the playful line "It's still a story without an ending."

In the end, everything came together perfectly and with a fine musical score from Max Steiner (Gone With The Wind), enhancing every scene, the movie continues to enthral even after repeated viewings.



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