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Blu-ray Says, ‘Here’s Looking at You, Casablanca’

While several dozen movie titles a month are being converted to Blu-ray Disc, now that a single HD disc format is the accepted norm, few film titles are as iconic as “Casablanca,” the classic filmed on a Hollywood backlot about (and filmed during) World War II.

The Humphrey Bogart-Ingrid Bergman film is often listed as among the top two or three best all-around motion pictures of all time (usually alongside Orson Welles’ “Citizen Kane”). So its arrival on Blu-ray disc on Dec. 2, announced a few days ago by Warner Brothers, might signal a big symbolic arrival of the HD format, (not that there was much doubt at this stage).

“Casablanca” was already released in HD DVD a couple of years ago (Warner’s one-time format preference), and virtually the same bonus content and other extras in this two-disc set will be replicated in the Blu-ray version. As was the case with standard DVD several years ago, Hollywood studios are busy not just pumping their newer releases out on Blu-ray, but also having to play catch-up by re-releasing their older titles for a new consumer venue.

This film, which has been roundly praised for its story, script, music and acting, will be given the full treatment as far as extras—with trailers, interviews, outtakes, making-of content, and other material (some of which also appeared in the standard DVD version, as well as the HD DVD presentation).

Not bad for a black-and-white movie, filmed in 1942, in barely a week.