Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017)

Despite her objections, Gloria Grahame (as depicted in this biopic) does remind one of Blanche DuBois. An aging beauty whose insecurity leads her to continually seek reassurances, Grahame may not depend upon the kindness of strangers but she certainly does impose herself upon the family of former lover Peter Turner. What little empathy this setup creates for the character is all but dashed when another similarity with DuBois is revealed by Grahame’s sister halfway through the movie.

 

Which is a pity, for Annette Bening’s magnificent performance is ably supported by Jamie Bell and Julie Walters, the evocation of time and place are enjoyable and the occasional directorial flourishes as the film skips from flashback to flash-forward add a nice touch.

 

Perhaps in an attempt to boost Grahame’s prestige, the filmmakers often invoke Humphrey Bogart’s name, from opening with a close-up of an engraved gift he gave her through to her riposte when Turner tells her that she smokes like Lauren Bacall. Nevertheless, Bogie’s advice to “stay in the shadows and let the camera find you” is used to good effect when Grahame overhears a phone call. Yet her subsequent actions come too late for anyone to care.

 

In a scene meant to reinforce the age difference between the two lovers, Peter Turner’s father informs his son that he was a big fan of Gloria Grahame. It is doubtful he would have remained so if he had viewed this biopic.

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Gloria Grahame’s sister did not disclose the details of Gloria’s past relationship with her stepson to Peter Turner.

No scene recreations in this biopic, though it does feature a actual clip from Naked Alibi.

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