I haven’t seen the forthcoming 4K Casablanca Bluray (WHE, 11.8) but to go by the DVD Beaver screen captures it just looks darker, which is what 4K versions of classic films often provide…inkier, buried in shadow.

Compare the stills of the 4K version vs. the old 2007 Bluray — details you could see with the 2007 Bluray (which is still my favorite) you can’t see as clearly on the 4K. How is that an improvement?

Were the techs who created this inky Casablanca inspired by Criterion’s 2016 Bluray of Only Angels Have Wings? — one of the most bizarre and totally needless experiments in pointless shadow baths? 

Home Theatre Forum‘s Robert Harris, posted on 11.4.22: “Casablanca looks fine in 4k. Blacks may be a bit richer than the previous Bluray, but beyond that I’m not seeing a great deal of difference. I’m seeing some constantly shifting grain patterns, which I can understand as much of the film is taken from dupes.

“Extremely fine in some facial close-ups and medium shots, far more normal in exterior long shots and other bits of the film. The management is obvious, but not a problem.

“If one owns [an earlier 1080p] Bluray version, is there enough of a 4k bump to purchase the film again? I’m not seeing it.”

My favorite is still the good old DNR’d 2007 Bluray. Perfect — I love it like family. I hated the 2012 70th anniversary Bluray, which covered Casablanca in billions upon billions of grain mosquitoes…infinite swarms swirling around the heads and inhaled into the lungs of poor Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Dooley Wilson, etc. Ghastly.

As to the 4K, why would anybody want to watch a Casablanca that’s been shadowed and darkened all to hell? Where is the upside in that? 4K treatments almost always smother with unneccessary inky darkness that often obscures detail.

The 2007 Casablanca Bluray is good enough for me. It’s my little baby, my teddy bear, my blue blanky.

Question: Why does the 4K Bluray jacket use a shot of younger Bogart (taken in the mid to late 30s) wearing a black tuxedo, which his somewhat older character, Richard Blaine, doesn’t wear in Casablanca?  Why?  What kind of perverse or diseased mind says “yeah, that’s fine — Bogart looks a few years younger but so what?  And who cares about the black tux?”.