In 1942 Casablanca was released with low expectations. And despite an A-list cast, it was seen as a regular Warner Bros. fare.
Seven decades later on you have one of the most powerful, inspiring and timeless films ever made.
Casablanca follows the story of Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), a hard-drinking, womanising American who runs an upscale nightclub in Casablanca.
Rick claims no allegiances serving only to profit himself.
That is until, old flame Ilse Lund (Ingrid Bergman) - with whom Rick fell in love with in Nazi-occupied Paris years earlier - arrives at his bar with her fugitive husband, resistance leader Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid). Rick’s cynicism becomes more apparent throughout as he is torn between the woman he loves and doing ‘the right thing’.
In the end Rick plumps for the latter, letting the love of his life disappear with her husband for a worthy cause.
On the surface, Casablanca is a romantic film - even including moments of comedy - with characters who you constantly look up to and empathise with – I took up smoking just to be as cool as Bogart.
But in the layered plot, what we have is a topical war film that asks bigger questions than ‘will he get the girl?’
Generally considered as one of the greatest films of all time, it is easy to see why.
An extraordinary supporting cast (Claude Rains and Peter Lorre to name but a few), perfectly formed dialogue, endless quotes (that have become customary in the English language) and unforgettable scenes e.g. ‘The battle of the national anthems’, ensure that Casablanca gets better ‘as time goes by’.
Plus, I have no shame in admitting that I well up at the closing scene.
Blu-Ray extras include audio commentary, an introduction, ‘Bacall on Bogart’, ‘A Tribute to Casablanca’ and so much more.