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Casablanca 70th Anniversary Theatrical Event

My first exposure to Casablanca came young, not through seeing the film itself, but through Kermit and Miss Piggy reenacting the final scene on an episode of The Muppet Show. Whether it was Woody Allen’s Play it Again Sam or Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal obsessing over the romantic implications of that final scene I’ve always felt like through pop culture osmosis I had see Casablanca. Or at least the best parts.

Trying to explain this to a film connoisseur friend he rolled his eyes and later bought me a copy of the two disc special edition, berating me until I finally watched it last year. And guess what? Everyone was right; it’s a great film.

Having been recently sent to the digitally remastered 70th anniversary screening of Casablanca, I have may been one of the newer fans amongst the mostly elderly matinee crowd, but at least I could recognize the error of the older gentleman behind me as he continued to misquote famous lines moments before they were delivered on screen throughout the entire movie.

A prerecorded introduction by TCM host Robert Osborne discussed the film’s enduring popularity, as well as told a few behind-the-scenes anecdotes.

The screening was done to coincide with the release of the Casablanca Ultimate Collector’s 70th Anniversary Edition, a three disc limited and numbered set that featured the remastered film on Blu-ray and standard DVD, as well as 13 hours of bonus material. Among the many features of the set: two feature length documentaries, a hard cover 62 paged book with never-before-seen on-set photos, sketches and production notes, a reproduction of the original 1942 French theatrical poster as well as a collector’s set of drink coasters. With all this attention being paid now, it’ll be interesting to see what Warner Brothers has been holding back for the 75th anniversary.

Tim Hennessy