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Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool

A beautifully shot melodrama about the last great love of one the biggest film noir femme fatales, Gloria Grahame.


Film star Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) has a breakdown in her dressing room. It‘s 1981, Grahame‘s big successes happened 30 years ago, she acts in a theater in Lancaster, England. She calls for young actor/warehouse worker Peter (Jamie Bell) with whom she had a passionate affair with 2 years before and asks her to put her up with his parents. Peter brings her there, a typical working-class house in Liverpool, where his mother Bella warmly welcomes Gloria. The fact that Gloria is dying of cancer is clear to everyone but Peter. FILM STARS DON‘T DIE IN LIVERPOOL by director and screenwriter Matthre Greenhalgh (CONTROL) is a big Hollywood melodrama, still the most underappeciated and most grandiose subgenre. The film is about the big and short-lived love between Gloria and Peter that is shown in elegantly interwoven flashbacks. Every image that cinematographer Urszula Pintikos films is designed to evoke the maximum of emotion. Pontikos knows every trick that old masters like Joseph von Sternberg had who always made the wind and rain whirr in the background of his glamorous dramas with Marlene Dietrich. She perfects the transitions with tracking shots and doorsteps which Orson Welles and Ernst Lubitsch developed in their films. Jamie Bell storms out of the house while the camera follows him. When he enters the door, the camera moves further like an advancing body, but he‘s in a different time when happiness reigned. FILM STARS DON‘T DIE IN LIVERPOOL is the most beautiful homage to classic melodrama to come out of this century along with Todd Haynes FAR FROM HEAVEN – and an exacting deconstruction of the myth of the “femme fatale.“

Tom Dorow

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Großbritannien 2017, 105 min
Genre: Biography, Drama, Romance Films
Director: Paul McGuigan
Author: Matt Greenhalgh
DOP: Urszula Pontikos
Montage: Nick Emerson
Music: J. Ralph
Distributor: Sony Pictures
Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Vanessa Redgrave
FSK: 6
Release: 05.04.2018




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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