The Nigerian Mission hosted a Seminar with Aviva Investors on the theme of Promoting Responsible Investments to finance the Sustainable Development Goals. Speakers included Gavin Power, Steve Waygood, Simson Zadek and Shari Spiegal.
October was also the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival. which I attended. This year is the 75th anniversary of Casablanca. It is one of the great films that has survived the sands of time. It is an extraordinary film not just because of the story that is told on screen but also the back story to who is in the film and why.
The film came out in November 1942 in the middle of the Second World War. Rushed out to take advantage of the publicity from the Allied invasion of North Africa a few weeks earlier. The original play was called Everyone Comes to Ricks. What most people do not realize is that the film has only three of its main actors who were born in the US. These are Humphrey Bogart playing Rick Blaine, Dooley Wilson as Sam the pianist, and Joy Page the young Bulgarian refugee Annina Brandel.
Most of the rest of the cast were refugee actors from Europe who had fled the Nazi occupation and persecution. This included Paul Henreid who had equal billing with Bogart and Bergman. He was a banned Austrian actor who was also banned in Germany. He was strongly anti-Nazi, so much so that he was designated an "official enemy of the Third Reich". In the film he plays Bergman’s husband Victor Laszlo, a renowned fugitive Czech Resistance leader. The wonderful Peter Lorre (born László Löwenstein;) born in Hungary – Jewish – so when the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Lorre took refuge first in Paris and then London and then the US. I could go on. The film was in many ways an opportunity to give refugee actors from Europe work and support. Many were also being put up in the homes of fellow actors while they worked to establish themselves in the US.