Movie City: Liverpool

By Nick Dawson | November 10, 2009
Liverpool skyline The famous Liverpool skyline.

To celebrate the release of Focus Features’ raucous comedy Pirate Radio, FilmInFocus is designating Liverpool – the musical hub of the British Invasion – as its next Movie City.

In the 1960s, as Pirate Radio amply demonstrates, rock ‘n’ roll music was the pulse of Britain. London, the country’s capital, was swinging, but Liverpool was the hub of the musical revolution that history would come to know as the British Invasion. (There’s something in the Mersey water when it comes to music, as it’s the city with the highest ratio of Number 1 records to occupants.) Rock had previously been pioneered in Liverpool by the likes of Frankie Vaughn and Billy Fury, but things really exploded in the early 1960s with the emergence of bands like Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Searchers and, of course, the Beatles.

In addition to being the home of Merseybeat, Liverpool is a place that has also been inextricably linked to film since the first days of cinema. Indeed, with the exception of London, it is the most filmed city in the U.K. To mark its current status as FilmInFocus’ Movie City, we commissioned a number of articles charting Liverpool’s longstanding love affair with celluloid, principally an exhaustive examination of the metropolis’ myriad connections to film by our resident historian, David Parkinson (himself a proud Liverpudlian). To complement this mammoth feat of research, Nick Dawson provides a whistle stop journey through 10 films made in Liverpool over the past 60 years, from the Ealing comedy The Magnet through to Danny Boyle’s Millions.

Liverpool on Film

As part of Movie City Liverpool, David Parkinson provides a fascinating and thorough history of Merseyside’s multifaceted relationship with the movies.

Part 1: Silent Beginnings
Part 2: Hollywood on the Mersey
Part 3: Wartime Liverpool
Part 4: Wit and Grit
Part 5: Scouse Oscar Winners
Part 6: The Swinging Sixties
Part 7: Scouse Scribes
Part 8: Contrasting Auteurs
Part 9: The Mersey Boom

Mersey Movies

FilmInFocus’ Nick Dawson picks out 10 films made in Liverpool that demonstrate the city’s diverse cinematic history.

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