Our cover this month, Casablanca (Warner Brothers, 1946) (551/2 in. by 781/4 in.) by Luigi Martinati sold for $478,000 at Heritage Auctions’ Movie Posters Signature Auction in Dallas on July 29-30, 2017. Martinati, an Italian artist, started to focus on illustrating movie posters in the mid-1940s, transitioning from his earlier career as a commercial artist. After partnering with two other creative designers, Martinati went on to produce some of the most notable cinema posters (Casablanca being one of them), working almost exclusively for Warner Bros.
This film is one of the most beloved films of all time, but Warner Bros. actually had no idea that Casablanca would turn out to be the success that it was. The film was simply one of hundreds that were being produced in Hollywood every year. In fact, the studio began shooting it with an incomplete script, which was written from day to day as the filming progressed. The film was then rushed into its release so that Warner Bros. could take advantage of the free publicity after the Allied landing in the city of Casablanca, Morocco during the North African invasion. The success of the film was initially nothing groundbreaking, but its reputation continued to gradually build. Today, the lead characters, memorable lines and theme song are embedded in American movie history.
With some of the awe-inducing prices being paid at auction, film posters definitely aren’t a shabby investment. And, for those more comfortable with investing in the stock market, according to a 2007 Washington Post article, Casablanca is actually credited with helping to woo foreign investors to Morocco.