Here's Looking At You, Kid
LAST TIME around I bemoaned the fact that my nephew, who is something of a modern movie buff, had never seen any old black and white movies. He was totally unaware of great films like Casaclanca, It’s a Wonderful Life or The Third Man. I went on to recommend a couple of shops in Belfast where it is possible to buy terrific old classics on DVD and video.
Browsing in a car boot sale in Whitehouse Presbyterian Church a few weeks ago, I picked up a brand new VHS tape of Casablanca for a pound. The tape inside the box was still shrink-wrapped. It had never been played. I told my nephew, “I saw this and thought of you” and presented him with it. Next time I see him, I hope to find him in raptures about it. I’ll be very surprised if he doesn’t like it.
Casablanca is one of Humphrey Bogart’s best and it’s arguably one of the best films ever made with its perfect supporting cast. It’s set in an atmosphere of suspense, intregue, excitement and love and black humour centred around Rick’s Café in Vichy-run Casablanca. Lots of phrases have come into the language from this movie. ‘Round up the usual suspects.’ ‘I’m shocked, shocked.’ ‘This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship’ and ‘Play it, Sam’. Watch it for the first time and you’ll be amazed.
Warner Brothers have issued a special double DVD with a new digitally-enhanced print of the film. The second disc has some out-takes and deleted scenes, two documentaries hosted by Bogart’s wife, Lauren Bacall a Buggs Bunny spoof, Carrotblanca and a radio version of the story. All-in-all, terrific value. Warner have also prodeuced a box set of Bogart films. Volume One packages the two-disc Casablanca special edition with the magnificient High Sierra and the action adventure Dark Passage which also stars Bacall. This box set would make a splendid introduction to the best of Bogie for any newcomer. Fans like me couldn't ask for anything more - except for volume two!