Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Movie and DVD Reviews: The best and not-so-best movies available on DVD, and whatever else catches my eye.

Mimsy Review: Casablanca

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, May 29, 1999

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.

Special features

Documentary5
Related Trailers6
Trailer5

Ah, Play it, Sam! If this isn’t the most-quoted movie outside of Macbeth, you’re in the wrong country. This is a beautiful DVD. The movie is presented in the original full-screen format. Languages are French and English, both spoken and subtitled. It also includes a nice documentary hosted by Lauren Bacall.

RecommendationPurchase Now!
DirectorMichael Curtiz
WritersMurray Burnett, Joan Alison, Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch
Movie Rating9
Transfer Quality9
Overall Rating8
Formats
  • Academy Ratio

I hope the tag line didn’t spoil it for you! Most everybody has already seen the movie. If you haven’t, well, you’re in for a treat. Find out why this is one of the most quoted movies in America. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman at their finest in the Great American Film.

Casablanca, in French Morocco, is controlled by the Germans since German tanks rolled into France. It retains its independence in name only: when the German police call the shots, Casablanca’s police jump. Casablanca is the last stop for refugees trying to leave the dubious glories of the Third Reich for Lisbon in Portugal, a neutral nation. In order to leave Casablanca legally, you need an exit visa; exit visas become what everyone who is anyone wants desperately.

A deleted scene (deleted from the script, presumably never filmed) had a woman who said “It used to take a villa at Cannes, or at the very least, a string of pearls. Now all I ask is an exit visa.”

At the beginning of the movie, two exit visas are stolen from German couriers, the couriers murdered. The Casablanca police begin their roundup of suspects. Casablanca itself is overrun with thieves and refugees and tourists who may or may not wish to be refugees. The only person in all Casablanca who appears to not care for leaving with the visas or selling them to someone else is Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), owner of the “Café Américain” nightclub. Rick is the coolest, most level-headed man in all of Casablanca, incorruptible by money or love.

And then she walks in: Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), the woman who left him and made him the cynical iceman he is now. They last saw each other the day the tanks rolled in on Paris. And Ilsa is not alone. She is married to Victor Laszlo, hero of the resistance, a man who has been reported killed five times but always escapes and returns again. Two people in love trying to leave the Third Reich. In Casablanca looking for exit visas like everyone else. But no one will sell. Can Rick Blaine help the woman he once loved leave with the man she now loves? Can Ilsa leave Rick again?

Simple questions whose answers make Casablanca one of the most brilliant of all American movies.

There is a vaguely interesting documentary, hosted by Lauren Bacall. Compared to the movie, it isn’t particularly memorable. More interesting were all of the included trailers: the theatrical trailers for The Big Sleep, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Key Largo, the Maltese Falcon, and more are included on this DVD. Set up a big screen television and you can play five or six trailers before the movie starts just like in the movies!

This is also an incredible transfer. It is hard to believe that the film that made this DVD was over fifty years old. The movie is crisp, very high quality.

If you’ve already seen this movie, you know that you want it. If you haven’t, you must see it soon, with friends. Rent it or buy it, but see it!

Recommendation: Purchase Now!

DirectorMichael Curtiz
WritersMurray Burnett, Joan Alison, Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch
ActorsHumphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman
Spoken languagesEnglish, French
SubtitlesEnglish, French
Special FeaturesDocumentary, Related Trailers, Trailer
More links

If you enjoyed Casablanca…

If you enjoy hard-boiled, you might also be interested in Shaft, The Night Stalker, The Seven Samurai, The Usual Suspects, Tokyo Drifter, Bordersnakes, and The Blowtop.

If you enjoy war, you might also be interested in Cabaret, The Tin Drum, The First Casualty, and Republicans overreact to Mexican army visit.