The passionate love story between a movie diva and an unknown actor 30 years younger

Peter Turner He was a 26-year-old when he happened upon an unusual neighbor at the London boarding house where he resided: Gloria Grahame, a Hollywood film diva of the 40s and 50s who no longer enjoyed the status of yesteryear and had moved to England to continue her career on stage. It was 1978 and he was trying to find work as an actor. The energy of that 55-year-old woman gesturing in front of the mirror to prepare a new role simply fascinated him.

Gloria, almost three decades older, still had that aura of fatal Woman. She waddled gracefully and smoked almost as gracefully as Lauren Bacall, something her friend Humphrey Bogart had reminded her of years ago. The protagonist of Casablanca He also gave her a sage advice that she followed at the bottom of the canyon: “Stay in the shade, the camera will always come your way.”

Annette Bening and Jamie Bell in a still from ‘Movie Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool’

Vertex cinema

Grahame attracted the camera with a deep and sassy gaze in his early days in film. Her mother, actress and theater teacher Jeanne McDougall, instilled in her her passion for the stage, and Gloria exploited her talent in films such as drama Living is beautiful!, with James Stewart, Crossroads of hatred, The greatest show in the world O Captives of evil (1952), by Vincente Minnelli, for which she won the Oscar for best supporting actress.

His career was as dazzling as it was forgotten over time. Today few are those who remember his foray into the seventh art, but director Paul McGuigan wanted to rescue her from that well of oblivion thanks to the youthful memories that Peter Turner wrote about his tragic and passionate love story with the American interpreter .

Movie stars don’t die in Liverpool takes the viewer back to the beginning of a relationship that broke taboos. Within days of meeting, the young actor and the former movie star became lovers without caring about anyone’s opinion. The age difference was never an impediment to publicly show off their love.

She met Peter when she had already had four failed marriages on her back, including that of filmmaker Nicholas Ray (Rebel without a cause), who filed for divorce when he claimed to have caught Gloria in bed with her son Anthony (aged 13 and the result of his previous marriage to Jean Evans). In the end, Anthony would end up being her last husband. A scandal that raised dust in Hollywood by making the headlines of the tabloid press and which gave him a reputation as a man-eating man.

Gloria won an Oscar for best supporting actress for ‘Cautivos del mal’ and her career was as brilliant as it was forgotten over time

On the screen incarnated tormented women, climbs or prostitutes and transferred to real life a prevailing need to feel beautiful and desired at all times. “His movements were rhythmic and slippery. His distinctive voice and familiar face. She was not wearing expensive clothes, just her usual T-shirt and jeans. I was captivated. I was dazzled by his style, “wrote Turner in the biography that gives the film its name.

Jamie Bell and Annette Bening are fantastic as Peter Turner and Gloria Grahame

Jamie Bell and Annette Bening are fantastic as Peter Turner and Gloria Grahame

Vertex cinema

Gloria quickly wowed this amateur actor with her provocative weapons of a seasoned woman. And in the film it is another veteran actress, Annette Bening, who is in charge of getting into her skin. He does it with respect, naturalness and sensitivity, revealing details of an overwhelming and tremendously seductive personality that was overwhelmed by the aggressiveness of a disease that reduced his days of happiness. Both she and Jamie Bell, who conquered us with her exquisite Billy Elliot, fill the screen with chemistry and together they have memorable moments like the scene in which they dance to the rhythm of Saturday night Fever or the one in which they recite a beautiful passage from Romeo and Juliet on an empty stage.

Annette Bening gets into Grahame’s shoes with respect, naturalness and sensitivity, revealing details of an overwhelming personality

The story begins in 1981, a few months before Grahame’s death, when she fell ill just about to go on stage to play Amanda Wingfield in The glass zoo. Turner receives a call and rushes to visit his ex-lover at a hotel in the British town of Lancaster. It is then that history dives into the moment in which they met and, through flashbacks, we go through the most beautiful and uncomfortable moments of a relationship that wandered between England and the United States and that Grahame one day cruelly settled. .

GRAF2864.  MADRID, 04/26/2018.- Actor Peter Turner presents the film

The actor Peter Turner has presented in Madrid the film ‘Movie stars do not die in Liverpool’

Javier Lizon / EFE

The mature actress refuses to receive treatment in the hospital and only wishes to reestablish herself in Peter’s family home in Liverpool, as if she were a little girl looking for pampering. The young man’s parents, admirers of the exdiva, go out of their way to take care of her, but the disease progresses and Peter must make a decision about it. As the film’s title alludes to, Liverpool is not the ideal place to bury a movie star.

The film, which opens this Friday, May 18, has a great emotional charge and emphasizes that intense and true love that both professed. An atypical union that had a bittersweet ending, but undoubtedly left a deep mark on Turner’s heart: “Gloria was the love of my life”, this man recently declared who in 1986 decided to compile in a book everything he experienced together to Grahame. Write Movie stars don’t die in Liverpool it served as a catharsis. And now that text has jumped to the big screen to reveal the most unknown side of a woman who rebelled against the rules and lived as she wanted until the end.

The atypical union between Grahame and Turner had a bittersweet ending, but it left a deep mark on the British actor’s heart.