Tag Archives: Hollywood

The Estorick Collection brings La Dolce Vita to Islington

15 May

This week, let’s forget about Islington film locations for a moment. Worry not, we’ll still be talking film stars and Islington. Indeed, movie stars galore in this post, and of the highest calibre: Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Joan Collins, Jack Lemmon, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Launren Bacall, John Wayne, Jayne Mansfield, Robert Wagner, not to forget Marcello Mastroianni  and Anita Ekberg. All of them, and many more, are waiting for you in the heart of Islington, at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art.

Estorick Collection

Estorick Collection

Located in Canonbury Square, the Estorick Collection’s latest exhibition, The Years of La Dolce Vita opened on 30th April. We are invited to travel back to 1950s and 60s Rome, where many Hollywood producers and filmakers went to, to shoot at its Cinecittà studios for a fraction of what it would have cost them in California. Those were Cinecittà’s golden years with epic films such as Ben-Hur (1959) and Cleopatra (1963) being made, and young Italian directors producing some of their finest movies.

At a time where the Internet and social media seemed light years from us, and where most people could not travel long distances, how did people know about what was going on in Rome? Thanks to gossip and people magazines, thanks to photographers, thanks to Paparazzi

In fact, the name Paparazzi comes from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita itself. In it, Mastroianni plays Marcello Rubbini, a journalist writing for gossip magazines who works with a photographer friend, whose name is… Paparazzo! Marcello Geppetti (1933-1998) was one those photographers. It is mainly from his archive that the 80 pictures on display at the Estorick Collection are. Here are some of them to whet your appetite.

Audrey Hepburn who shot to fame and won her first Oscar for Roman Holiday (1953) was no stranger to Rome.

1. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn, Rome, 1961 MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

Neither was Rock Hudson, seen here with Cary Grant, who filmed in Italy A Farewell to Arms (1957) and the romantic comedy Come September (1961), which is at the heart of our Hollywood on the Italian Riviera project.

4. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Hudson and Grant

Rock Hudson and Cary Grant at Cinecittà, June 1961 MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

British actress Joan Collins, whom Lights, Camera…Islington! came across in her early career exiting Holloway Prison was by now rubbing shoulders with Jack Lemmon and Robert Wagner.

9. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Lemmon, Collins and Wagner

Jack Lemmon, Joan Collins and Robert Wagner at “Caffè dell’Epoca”, Rome, October 1961 MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

Mr Universe 1955 and actor Mickey Hargitay and his wife Jayne Mansfield were having the time of their life.

10. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Mansfield and Hargitay, Rome 1962

Jayne Mansfield and Mike Hargitay leaving “Piccola Budapest”, Rome, October 1962 MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

From one curvy blonde to another: Brigitte Bardot, Bardot…la la la la la lalaaaaa

2. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Bardot

Brigitte Bardot in Spoleto, June 1961 MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

In the meantime in Ischia, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were enjoying a break from shooting Cleopatra.

5. Estorick La Dolce Vita - Burton and Taylor

Richard Burton and Liz Taylor kissing in Ischia, June 1962 MGMC & Solares Fondazione delle Arti

We truly enjoyed discovering those Marcello Geppetti’s snapshots on display in The Years of La Dolce Vita. For an hour or so we were mingling with the stars in sunny (and warm) Rome, wondering along Trastevere, Via Veneto, la Fontana di Trevi… I guess the miserable weather made it all the better, not to mention the 3 D experience offered by the Estorick Collection.

The 3-D experience??? Yes, la ciliegina sulla torta (the cherry on the cake as the Italians say). While you go trough the rooms looking at the pictures of the stars having a coffee, enjoying a drink or a meal in a Trattoria, an incredible smell comes from the Estorick Caffè and tickles your nose. How clever! So clever that we ended up extending our stay in Rome for a Frittata of the day, some Gnocchi Sorrentina and 2 Espresso.

No pictures of Marcello? Anita Ekberg? John Wayne? Federico Fellini?

Oh yes. Plenty of those. At the Estorick Collection.

The Years of La Dolce Vita is on until the 29th June.

Fade Out

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art

39a Canonbury Square N1 2AN

Essex Road Train Station (Zone 1)

Highbury and Islington Station (Zone 2)

Buses to Canonbury Road, Essex Road, Upper Street or Highbury Corner

Myddelton Square’s Week with Meryl Streep

27 Mar

Today I was due to talk to you about a film shot in Myddelton Square and outside St Mark’s Church. I had it all planned for months, set in stone in my blog calendar: Thursday 27th March, Myddelton Square, The End of the Affair (1999) with Julianne Moore and Ralf Fiennes.

Hummm… maybe not. Let’s put it this way, we will still visit Myddelton Square and St Mark’s Church but for the time being we’ll forget about Julianne More and Ralf Fiennes. All this because I realised a few weeks ago that although I had drafted the text, selected the pictures from the movie, I was actually missing those from the location itself! As a result, making the most of a sunny afternoon, I made my way to yet another beautiful square of our borough.

As I arrived Myddelton Square some familiar yellow signs grabbed my attention.

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 01

Well, well, well…Parking spaces booked …for Filming…24 to 26 March… How interesting…

Back home, I started searching the Internet for any information I could possibly get. Eventually, some light at the end of the tunnel:  Suffragette…Biopic on Emmeline Pankhurst… First film to get permission to shoot inside Houses of Parliament…Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Ben Whishaw, not bad, not bad…MERYL STREEP? Oh oh oh…Now we’re talking.

Islington has had its fair share of Oscar and BAFTA winning movies and stars as we have seen on our blog, but this was different: filming was taking place on our doorsteps within days!

Another cause for celebration maybe is not only the fact that the shooting and such cast were coming to Islington this week, but also that Ruby Film and Television, an Islington based production company, based a stone’s throw from Myddelton Square, is behind such project. Although Islington Film Studios (later Gainsborough Studios) and Highbury Studios have long gone, Islington’s cinema industry is still going strong!

Ruby Film & TV Offices

Ruby Film & Television Offices

My initial excitement was short lived. The 24th, 25th and 26th March were all weekdays, i.e. workdays. I enlisted the help (and camera) of LadyPinkLondon who already contributes to this blog and who went to Myddelton Square during her spare time.

We are proud to present, ‘exclusively for the readers of Lights, Camera Islington!’ some behind the scenes pictures of what has been going on this week in Islington. This should keep you going until the release of Suffragette in 2015.



Myddelton Square Before…

 and After!

and After!

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 02

Setting the scene

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 06

Banners for the Suffragettes being delivered

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 09

A few vintage cars

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 08

a Police van

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 07

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 04

Lights ready and THE balcony…

And the Oscar goes to…

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 10

An Oscar ‘Made in Islington’ for Meryl?

Finally, some cast and suffragettes having a well deserved break between scenes


Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 13


Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 11

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 18

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 14 15 16

Selfie Time - Sadly no Meryl on this one!

Selfie Time – Sadly no Meryl on this one!

Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 20

Extras outside St Mark’s Church


Suffragette - Myddelton Square - MRX 19

St Mark’s Church

CALL OUT: You live or work on Myddelton Square or nearby? You got involved in the shooting in one way or another? Maybe as an Extra or as a location? Was Meryl standing on your balcony? Carey outside your house? Should you be happy to share your experience with Lights, Camera…Islington!, we would LOVE to hear from you!

Fade Out

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Myddelton Square EC1R 1XP

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

King’s Cross Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Angel, Pentonville Road, Rosebery Avenue and St John’s Street


%d bloggers like this: