Over the course of the past few weeks, we at the American Treasure Tour have highlighted major cinematic features that have remained extremely popular and critically revered over the years, as we celebrate the movie posters in our collection. The art from films such as The Gnomemobile, Zombies of the Stratosphere, and McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force are prominently displayed in our Music Room, often on the walls above the nickelodeons. Today, we are going to discuss a movie poster for a lesser-known and all-but-forgotten treasure called Casablanca.
Some might consider it rare that any but the most passionate film aficionado would have any knowledge of this quiet little "B" movie with its cast of virtually unknown actors; however, it became a sensation upon its theatrical release in 1943, and won many awards including some from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In fact, it received three Oscars, for Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture, and is widely hailed as one of the best, most popular films ever made in Hollywood. Its blend of comedy, romance, suspense and intrigue have compelled audiences worldwide to watch and enjoy this film that takes place in Vichy-occupied Morocco over and over again.
A pivotal plot point in Casablanca centers on the owner of Rick's Cafe Americain, played by Humphrey Bogart, who is in possession of two highly-coveted German letters of transit. These are required documents for any fugitives who hope to travel out of Morocco and to the safety of the neutral United States. Before getting to America, though, the refugees would have to fly into what other country?
Today in History
On September 3rd, 1783, the Treaty of Paris officially declared the independence of the United States from the United Kingdom, the first of her colonies to break away from the empire. Tensions did not end with the declaration of peace; however, as the British military did not effectively uphold its end of the negotiations and remained in western forts. War would break out again in 1812 between the two nations.
George Hearst was born on this date in 1820. He pursued fortune and glory in the California Gold Rush of 1849 and, like many prospective prospectors, found his fortunes dwindling despite his efforts in gold mining. Unlike many others, he was able to diversify, first by dealing in quartz mining, then by running a general store and a variety of other trades. His wealth began to form when he exploited the discovery of silver in the Nevada Comstock Lode. The money he made in and around Virginia City, Nevada compelled him to other mining ventures, as well as investments in many other business, including publishing. The fame of his son, William Randolph Hearst, began with his possession of the San Francisco Examiner, the newspaper that began the Hearst publishing empire.
Only 145 years after George Hearst's birth, Charlie Sheen came into the world as Carlos Irwin Estevez. The son of established actor Charlie Sheen, and brother to Emilio Estevez, Charlie was in a number of critically acclaimed films, including Platoon and Wall Street in the 1980s, prior to embracing comedy roles. His greatest success - and notoriety - occurred after he took on a starring role in the popular situation comedy Two and a Half Men.
I know a good deal more about you than you suspect. I know, for instance, that you're in love with a woman. It is perhaps a strange circumstance that we both should be in love with the same woman. The first evening I came into this cafe, I knew there was something between you and Ilsa. Since no one is to blame, I - I demand no explanation. I ask only one thing. You won't give me the letters of transit: all right, but I want my wife to be safe. I ask you as a favor, to use the letters to take her away from Casablanca. -- Paul Henreid (as Victor Laszlo, from Casablanca)