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Movies of the Month > Casablanca revisited

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message 1: by Elaine (last edited Feb 17, 2009 08:59AM) (new)

Elaine (httpgoodreadscomelaine_chaika) | 241 comments I was curious to see if watching an old b&w movie like CASABLANCA on Bluray is worth it. The picture, especially the opening credits are more three dimensional, but there is no great difference between Bluray and a remastered DVD. The movie itself stands the test of time. It is as fresh, witty, and up-to-date as it was in 1941. Even the acting styles are not outdated. It's interesting to note that it is very clear that Ilsa and Ric slept together in Paris and, probably also when she visits him in his office in Casablanca. How that got past the censors, I don't know. If you haven't seen it in a while, it is worth looking at again. Very enjoyable, as it has been every other time I've watched it, but I don't think I'll buy the Bluray version. The big virtue of a Bluray are the comments by film critics that one can listen to while watching, but these weren't particularly insightful. In fact, they were downright boring.


message 2: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 469 comments Thats the beauty of movies made in that era. You never see the main characters in bed as you do with modern pictures, but we, the audience assume something passionate must have happened in Paris. There was nothing for the censor to object, either visually or with the dialogue.

You dont hear Rick saying....
"Remember making love in your apartment off the Rue du Rivoli"
All he says is "We'll always have Paris", we the audience fill in the rest.

I just saw the movie again two weeks ago. Yes it still holds up very well. God only knows what would have happened if Ronald Reagan had gotten the part instead of Bogart.


message 3: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Feb 17, 2009 11:21AM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Elaine, glad you like this classic but I must disagree...the high-definition transfer is one of the best B&W films I've ever seen! The difference between the standard DVD and the blu-ray is night & day. The three dimensional depth to the image is startling and you can see faces a hundred yards in the background, which are only a soft blur on DVD. Now, many soft filters were used on Bergman's close-ups so you may be referring to that fact, but the film is drop dead gorgeous and is the film that sold me on the HD format:) Are you watching on a 1080p 24.fps television? If your tv is under 42 inches, the step up in quality will be barely noticable at 720p or lower resolution. But if you're projecting over 100 inches it is like watching the film for the first time...must own on Blu-ray!!

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/dvdcomp...




message 4: by Elaine (new)

Elaine (httpgoodreadscomelaine_chaika) | 241 comments Alex DeLarge wrote: "Elaine, glad you like this classic but I must disagree...the high-definition transfer is one of the best B&W films I've ever seen! The difference between the standard DVD and the blu-ray is night &..."




message 5: by Elaine (last edited Feb 17, 2009 01:23PM) (new)

Elaine (httpgoodreadscomelaine_chaika) | 241 comments Elaine wrote: "Alex DeLarge wrote: "Elaine, glad you like this classic but I must disagree...the high-definition transfer is one of the best B&W films I've ever seen! The difference between the standard DVD and t..."

Alex,
I watched it on a 70'" 1080p TV AND a 50" 1080p TV. I agree that the opening was definitely 3 dimensional -- the earth really revolving. And you are right that it is deep focus even in the crowd scenes,but I wonder if that was true in the original. Could they have, in remastering, added the background clarity. I recall a softer look both from seeing the film years ago at a place that showed the actual reels of old movies, and they are definitely not as sharply focused in my DVD version. I may be misremembering and I may have only seen it in old prints that weren't restored. Deep focus was usually used both to avoid pointing the viewer to what is important in the mis en scene, as Welles did in CK, and also to give a message of "this is unvarnished truth" The documentary feel of CK illustrates that too, but Casablanca is romantic which usually does have a mistier feel (have you ever seen the silent film Sunrise?) I was hoping for more enlightenment from the commentaries, but they were so poor that I didn't watch them for very long. I am a big fan of technology and marvel at its ability to have us enjoy movies that would be mediocre if not for HDTV. I'm thinking of the magnificent Korean director of Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter(I can't recall his name.) We saw a magnificent movie of his on a 1080p plasma, and it occurred to all of us that without that technology, the beauty and the attendant meaning of the movie would have been entirely lost. I'm going on Amazon to search for that director. He's Ke Tun.... (or Dun). You gotta see his films. When I find his name and list of movies, I'll send them along to you.


message 6: by Alex DeLarge (last edited Feb 17, 2009 02:55PM) (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Thanks Elaine! You're right with CASABLANCA and I wondered if the clarity was originally intended or a product of the new technology. My instinct is that the 1080p rendering is the exact resolution of the original negatives, so even in theatres at the time audiences may have seen inferior (2nd or 3rd generation) copies. And glad to see you with a nice 70" 1080p set!!

The director is Kim Ki-duk and he is one of my favorites....are you sure we're not related? Last night, I just ordered his new film DREAMS which is only available in Hong Kong (region 3 DVD) and will sadly never be released stateside, like his last two films BREATH and TIME. SPRING, SUMMER, etc... is one of my favorites and you must own the region 3 BitWin disc; the image quality is far superior and is uncut. The US version (the one you rent from NetFlix)is missing the last two minutes which completes the cycle of death and rebirth. I would love to see this one on Blu-ray. Have you seen 3-IRON? That's my top Kim Ki-duk film and I highly recommend:)


message 7: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments i love this film. it's in the collection and i watch it with regularity. bergman and bogart both reported that they weren't given a lot of "direction" on how they should be relating to each other in casablanca (as opposed to the scenes in paris). this made for some tension that stands out (in a good way) in the film. there's a lot of moral ambiguity that crosses their faces...confusion - real human emotion. i think that's one of the reasons why the film holds up so well: the acting is outstanding, the cast is teeming with talent, and the whole mixing of love story/political thriller/war film really works.


message 8: by Elaine (new)

Elaine (httpgoodreadscomelaine_chaika) | 241 comments Alex DeLarge wrote: "Thanks Elaine! You're right with CASABLANCA and I wondered if the clarity was originally intended or a product of the new technology. My instinct is that the 1080p rendering is the exact resolution..."

I just ordered Iron from Amazon and Spring, Summer... Why don't you think Dreams will be released here? I rarely watch Netflix disks. When they digitally remaster, they can sharpen the picture to more pixels than the original negative -- in essence photoshopping it. To get people to shell out $50 for a remastered movie they do that because they know modern audiences judge a picture by its sharpness, not caring that the misty, filtered look of the original was part of the aesthetics and semiotics of the original. I was just suspicious of the sharpness of that Bluray. I grew up on B&W movies in the late 40's. I was too young to see Casablanca in its original release, but I did see it in revival theatres. Citizen Kane was unusual in its clarity as was The Magnificent Ambersons, but their sharpness underscores that was not typical of the cinematography in those days. Maybe I'm wrong and C in bluray is faithful to the original.


message 9: by Elaine (new)

Elaine (httpgoodreadscomelaine_chaika) | 241 comments Alex DeLarge wrote: "Thanks Elaine! You're right with CASABLANCA and I wondered if the clarity was originally intended or a product of the new technology. My instinct is that the 1080p rendering is the exact resolution..."

alex, I just looked on Amazon USA and they have Kim do Duk's: BAD GUYS, TIME, THE SAMARITAN GIRL, THE COAST GUARD, 3-IRON, ADDRESS UNKNOWN, THE BOW & REAL FICTION. they may have more, but I didn't do an exhaustive search. How do you order movies from Hong Kong? What happens if you get a defective disk,
Elaine


message 10: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Manuel wrote: "I just saw the movie again two weeks ago. Yes it still holds up very well. God only knows what would have happened if Ronald Reagan had gotten the part instead of Bogart."

The part was intended for Bogart from the start. The reason the Reagan rumor got started was someone uncovered a news release announcing Reagan (and Ann Sheridan!) for the movie. It turns out that was SOP for the studios: mention up and coming stars in the announcements of new projects even if there was no intention of casting them, just to keep their names in public view.




message 11: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Glad to see his film TIME get a US release but BREATH and DREAMS still are a year or so behind. I order from yesasia.com which is an English friendly sight and, knock on wood, never had a problem with a disc. But you do need a region-free dvd player: these disc are coded region 3.


message 12: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10781 comments it's too bad ronald regan on the whole wasn't just a studio rumor...


message 13: by Manuel (new)

Manuel | 469 comments Thanks Daniel,
even if just a rumor, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Hard to imagine anyone other than Bogart in that role.


message 14: by Elaine (new)

Elaine (httpgoodreadscomelaine_chaika) | 241 comments Alex DeLarge wrote: "Glad to see his film TIME get a US release but BREATH and DREAMS still are a year or so behind. I order from yesasia.com which is an English friendly sight and, knock on wood, never had a problem w..."

I have two new Bluray players, but I bought them in the US, so I presume they won't play region 3. It is so absurd for them to keep media players and media localized to specific regions in this international consumer market and international audiences. It's aggravating. How did you get a region 3 player? My friends from Turkey can buy all-region players there.


message 15: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I purchased a Denon 2930 DVD player that has a region hack code you can enter with the remote. Some manufacturers do this because they sell the same player worldwide, but are required to region block DVDs: it would be too expensive to place different mainboards or chipsets in each market. But most Blu-ray players are not "hackable" so you are region locked on DVD as well as Blu-ray! With one exception that I know of: LGBH200 Blu-Ray player. It is out-of-production and is a duel format machine that can play Blu-ray and HD-DVD format (and DVD too). There is a top secret code and bootleg software you can download to make it all region free for blu-ray and dvds! I own one that I purchased from eBay but they are tough to find. If you do a google search for region free DVD players you can find many companies that sell them modified. This will open up a whole new world of home cinema for you:)


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