I just watched, on BBC2 (16.20-18.00), what I usually nominate as my favourite film, Casablanca (made in 1942). Even on its umpteenth viewing this masterpiece never fails to compel – shooting it in black & white only adds to the atmosphere.

Difficult to believe that it was made under trying conditions – that Hungarian director Michael Curtiz had poor English and when shooting began the storyline’s ending had not been decided upon. These might be legends, but the finished film is a thing of wonder – not least for perfect casting and acting. Great as each participant is, for me the ‘steal’ is made by Claude Rains as the corrupt yet likeable police chief Captain Renault.

With a DVD of Casablanca on the shelf, I expect to Play It Again soon. I shall invite Sam round.