Here‘s a scan of the letter of transit that caused all the rumpus in Michael Curtiz‘s Casablanca. It’s one of the extras in the relatively new Casablanca Blu-ray box-set. Notice, however, the date that Paul Henreid‘s Victor Laszlo is travelling on — 22 Juillet 1941. And then notice the date on the gambling voucher signed by Humphrey Bogart‘s Rick at the beginning of the film — 2 Decembre 1941.
Official Casablanca letter of transit with Victor Lazlo’s name and other data filled in.
Gambling voucher signed by Humphrey Bogart’s Rick during the film’s opening minutes
Since Laszlo and Ingird Bergman’s Ilsa Lund leave on the Lisbon plane two or three days after they first walk into Rick’s Cafe Americain at the fim’s beginning, the date on the Laszlo letter of transit should obviously be 12.4 or 12.5, so we’re talking about a fairly significant screw-up here.
If I’d been in charge of putting together the Casablanca Blu-ray extras package, it would have been very, very easy to correct the date before the materials went to press. Hey — Warner Home Video did this, not me! I’m not trying to be an obsessive. I’m just reading and comparing and making a simple logical conclusion. Okay, WHV doesn’t have to fire the person who let this one slip by. It’s a forgivable blunder.
The Blu-ray Casablanca is heavenly, by the way. I’ve been watching this film since I was twelve years old, and there is a significant Blu-ray uptick in terms of ultra-minute details, tonal range and gradation (deep-midnight blacks!) and that wonderfully vivid silvery sparkle effect that great black-and-white films can and should deliver when properly mastered. I knew watching it that I was looking at something that Michael Curtiz probably never saw — not this level of picture quality. I could watch it again right now. It’s magnificent.