It takes some artistic liberties, but Tamas Yvan Topolanszky’s film is a monochromatic love letter to the Golden Age of Hollywood.
Now available to stream on Netflix during your days of lonely isolation, Tamas Yvan Topolanszky’s debut feature Curtiz is a stylish biopic about fellow Jewish-Hungarian Michael Curtiz and his efforts to make a little-known and largely-forgotten film known as Casablanca. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.
Netflix seems to be getting into the films-about-film market, be they dramatic like this one or straight-up documentaries like the recent Road to Roma. Such things are good talking points for their sophisticated cinéaste subscribers — ha! — and in these trying times of having nothing to do beyond gestate in front of the TV, a lovely-looking delve into one of the most popular and enduring works of cinema ever seems a good way to spend an afternoon.
Curtiz is really quite good, though, even if it is a bit relaxed with its artistic license. Focusing on Curtiz, played here by Ferenc Lengyel, and his attempts to grapple with Warner Bros. over Casablanca‘s production while also working on his fraught personal relationships, a strong ensemble including Evelin Dobos as Curtiz’s neglected daughter, a clever screenplay by Topolanszky himself and co-writer Zsuzsanna Bak, and gorgeous black-and-white cinematography by Zoltan Devenyi do a lot to elevate this worthy biopic.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.