Review / ‘Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool’ (M) *** and a half

IN 1986, actor/writer Peter Turner published a memoir describing the final years of the 1952 Oscar-winning supporting actress fallen on hard times, Gloria Grahame.

If we are to believe Peter, and there is no reason not to, his credentials for telling this story are stronger than anybody else’s. In Gloria’s final years he was her carer and lover. How come an aspiring young actor got that gig? See the film and find out.

Playing Gloria in her late 50s to Jamie Bell’s late-20s Peter, Annette Bening brings virtuoso skills to deliver a wide gamut of emotions. It’s not until the closing credits and a TV clip of the actual Gloria’s brief Oscar acceptance speech that we see the facial resemblance between the two women. I saw her portrayal of a femme fatale in “The Bad and The Beautiful”, a film that, as a teenager, I didn’t really understand. In life, she may have been a woman of some speed (four husbands, evoking the old adage ”marry in haste, repent at leisure”) but by the time Peter took her into his family’s home, she was increasingly in need of TLC.

Which Peter’s parents (Julie Walters and Kenneth Cranham) in time gave her as much for her sake as for their son’s. Other notable performers are Vanessa Redgrave as the actress mother who taught Gloria her craft and Frances Barber as her envious sister Joy.

At Palace Electric, Dendy and Capitol 6

 

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