Thursday, March 15, 2012

The undeniable classic, "Casablanca"

While "The Godfather" is busy celebrating its 40th anniversary this year (and got a re-release courtesy of Cinemark Theatres), another American celluloid treasure will be turning 70 and getting it's own fresh look on screens later this month.

Michael Curtiz's undeniable classic, "Casablanca," premiered in November of 1942 before being released into theaters in early 1943. The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for Best Actor (Humphrey Bogart, who lost to Paul Lukas in "Watch on the Rhine"), Best Supporting Actor (Claude Rains, who lost to Charles Coburn in "The More the Merrier"), Best Black-and-White Cinematography (lost to "The Song of Bernadette"), Best Film Editing (lost to "Air Force") and Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (lost to "The Song of Bernadette").

Ingrid Bergman was nominated for Best Actress, though not for Curtiz's film. She was cited instead for Sam Wood's "For Whom the Bell Tolls."

If somehow you're a film lover and have never seen "Casablanca," I think you should probably remedy that soon. I don't think it's the kind of film that can be over-hyped, fortunately, as every praised element is absolutely inarguable

In any case, Turner Classic Movies has announced a 70th anniversary event for "Casablanca" to be held one day only in theaters nationwide. A new digital transfer will land on over 450 screens March 21 (curiously far removed from the actual anniversary date, though I guess the annual Oscar glut would make a latter-year release a little more difficult to achieve effectively).

I caught "Casablanca" on the big screen (and on film, no less) a long time ago. It was a truly wonderful experience. I imagine if you haven't seen it, you could certainly do a lot worse than catching it for the first time on the big screen and via a slick transfer.

But wait, there's more. Notes the press release, "The event will begin with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne taking audiences behind the scenes of this epic love story in a special original production showcasing stories from those who were on set and those who simply admire this timeless classic."

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