Gloria Grahame

Presented by the Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI

In the Afterglow: The Mercurial Stardom of Gloria Grahame

Film program

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Wed 20 Mar – Wed 3 Apr 2024

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Perhaps as well-known for her turbulent private life as for her silver-screen stardom, Gloria Grahame (1923–81) was a unique talent who made her mark in Hollywood from the mid-1940s to the late 1950s. With skill and poise developed through years of hard work with her acting coach mother – although her versatility was sometimes overlooked for her beauty – she was one of the most striking actors of the period. After working on Broadway, Grahame was spotted by an MGM talent agent and offered a contract. After a few very minor roles her first notable appearance was in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) at RKO, where she also quickly received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Crossfire (1947). Grahame later won the award for her standout performance as a Southern belle in Vincente Minnelli’s The Bad and the Beautiful (1952).

With a world-famous pout and one of the most expressive left eyebrows in Hollywood, she became “film noir’s leading female masochist” (Imogen Sara Smith), perhaps thanks to the emotional and physical scarring her characters underwent in Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1951) and Fritz Lang’s The Big Heat (1953). She also had a soft expressiveness that allowed her to lean into melodrama, comedy and musical performance. Grahame worked with Hollywood’s biggest stars and directors in leading and supporting roles, and this season highlights her most impressive film work. Ultimately, her success plummeted almost as quickly as her meteoric rise to fame, and she died too young at the age of 57. Nevertheless, the relative compactness of her career makes her lasting image and legacy even more legendary.


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

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