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Reel Stories: Iconic Film Posters from Movies Set in Liverpool

Reel Stories: Iconic Film Posters from Movies Set in Liverpool

Poster of the 80s film Letter To Breznev. The poster shows the cast members Margi Clarke and Alfred Molina on the left of the poster with Alexandra Pigg and Peter Firth on the right. The bottom centre of the poster has a cityscape of Moscow and Liverpool

Films are often shaped by the cities that become their backdrop. And there’s few as iconic a movie setting as the city of Liverpool. With it’s Mersey waterfront and the looming Liver birds that overlook the vista from on high, it’s a sought after location for filmmakers.

To celebrate Liverpool’s movie stardom The Museum of Liverpool is currently hosting a special exhibition of original film posters and memorabilia that from the past 60 years featuring the city in Reel Stories: Liverpool and the Silver Screen.

Liverpool as a city has an uncanny knack of being able to double as other cities from New York to Paris or Moscow to Rome. And some may be surprised by the fact that it comes second only to London in its ability to attract filmmakers.

In recent memory it’s streets have seen blockbusting movies Captain America, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and Sherlock Holmes all filming there on location. Only two weeks ago there was a ‘Hardy Hunt’ on by the locals to catch a glimpse of Brit megastar Tom Hardy as he filmed for Peaky Blinders.

In fact, cinematic history in the area goes right back to 1896 when the film Liverpool Scenes was shot in the city for the creators of cinema the Lumiere Brothers by Alexandre Promio. So with such a rich film history this new exhibition seems fitting.

Poster of the film Nowhere Boy. A full length photograph of actor Aaron Johnson's Portrayal of Beatle John Lennon takes up the left hand side of the picture. The right hand side has a drawing of the Liverbird building in Liverpool and iconic street signs Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane
Nowhere Boy – Courtesy of Ecosse Films

The first floor of the Museum Of Liverpool has taken on the vibe of an old school cinema displaying over 40 striking original film posters showcasing the role cinema has played in its history.

Figures prove what a booming industry film has been for Liverpool, it’s own Film Office which opened in 1989, has brought in £20 million to the city’s economy, with more than 6000 productions having been set there.

Paul Gallagher, Acting Senior Curator of Urban History at the Museum of Liverpool, said: “One of the earliest posters on display is Waterfront, a film made in 1950.

We’ve got a whole section that explores the waterfront – the portal into the city – its stories and people. Other themes include crime, youth sub-culture and faith, as well as the works of Liverpool auteur, Terence Davies whose idiosyncratic films include Distant Voices, Still Lives, The Long Day Closes and more recently, Of Time and the City.

Poster of film Of Time And The City by Terence Davies. A black and white picture of an old desolate Liverpool street probably after the WW2 bombings
Of Time And The City – Poster design John McGill, Photograph by Bernard Fallon

Paul goes on to say, “Very few cities are instantly recognisable on screen; Liverpool ranks alongside the likes of New York, Los Angeles and London.

It’s a testimony to the number and range of films made here that Liverpool has embedded its architecture, landmarks and characters in the minds of movie-goers.”

Poster of film Revengers Tragedy directed by Alex Cox
Revengers Tragedy – Courtesy of Alex Cox

The exhibition also looks at another important cast member in our filmic experience, the humble cinema, or in this case more accurately Liverpool’s historic and iconic picture palaces, such as The Paramount and The Forum.

The city had some of the North West’s most luxurious picture houses where they could sit comfortably in salubrious surroundings and soak up the latest flick. So if you’re planning a visit to Liverpool in the next six months this show is a must for film fans and lovers of iconic imagery.

Entry to the exhibition is free, it’s on now and runs until September. For more information visit the Museum Of Liverpool website.

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