Heidelberg Goes Hollywood in - Catch Me If You Can - Movie
Press release from the issuing company
KENNESAW, Ga. – January 24, 2003 – Heidelberg, long-respected in printing circles, is fast becoming a household name thanks to its Hollywood debut in the hit movie ‘Catch Me If You Can.’
In the film, an FBI agent on the trail of a check counterfeiter brings the latest piece of evidence to a pair of printers to provide any clues about its production. The experts hold the faux check up to the light and conclude that because of the superb quality of the piece, it could only have been printed on a Heidelberg.
“The scene was short but the message was clear: Heidelberg stands for quality,” said Niels Winther, president of Heidelberg USA.
The movie – produced by mogul Steven Spielberg and his DreamWorks studio – is an adaptation of the real life story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who before the age of 21 successfully duped federal agents and made millions of dollars by counterfeiting checks. His skills at forgery improve with age and technology, so that by the end of the film, Abagnale reaches the pinnacle of his craftsmanship, working in a provincial French print shop to produce checks that were authentic in production quality, but false in the data.
“It’s a perfect one-sixteenth all the way around. Color separation is flawless – there’s no bleeding,” one of the printer characters said in the film, according to the script.
“Where was it printed?” asked the FBI agent played by actor Tom Hanks.
“It was printed on a monster – a Heidelberg…four color,” answered one of the printers. “You can smell the weight – two tons without the ink.”
Heidelberg’s appearance on the silver screen came through no direct contribution from the company. DreamWorks screenwriters and prop masters, in an effort to retell Abagnale’s real-life story as historically accurate as possible, found through their own independent research that Abagnale had used a Heidelberg press in his real-life misadventures and that its reputation for quality printing is unparalleled.
DreamWorks assistant prop manager for the film, Ritchie Kremer, conducted dozens of hours of research for the press scenes, and in the process learned about Heidelberg and its industry standing.
“I found that it was a really good machine and that’s why Frank Abagnale used it,” said Kremer, who helped recreate the look of a European pressroom in 1967.
At the time Abagnale was forging checks in the mid-1960s, Heidelberg was thriving amid a changeover from letterpress to offset, which the company entered in 1962. In 1967, the year Abagnale was nabbed by authorities, the company was renamed Heidelberger Druckmaschinen Aktiengesellschaft and was preparing for the stunning introduction of the first Speedmaster in 1974.
“While some could argue that a Heidelberg press played a somewhat dubious supporting role in this film, it is fun for our employees to see the company recognized so visibly by family and friends who have seen the movie,” Winther said, “And while we would never support the activities of Abagnale, we’re pleased that the quality of Heidelberg’s output is seen as the best of the best.”
Indeed, the real-life Abagnale does admit to using a Heidelberg to pull off his schemes. After all, he said, “Heidelberg presses were and still are the finest in the industry.”
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