More on Movieum of London

The Times Online carried this story about the new Movieum on London’s South Bank today:

Opening scene for new museum of the cinema
Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

The original sets from Star Wars, costumes from Superman and the iconic Rank gong are all part of an ambitious new museum devoted to cinematic history.

The “Movieum” will open today in a sprawling 30,000 sq ft (1,860 sq m) space in County Hall, London.

Visitors will be taken behind the scenes of the British film industry with a display of more than 4,000 original props and sets from films such as Gladiator, Thunderbirds and Elizabeth, as well as classics made in Britain in earlier decades.

The exhibits will trace the history of Pinewood Studios – where Dirk Bogarde, Gregory Peck, Laurence Olivier and David Lean made some of their finest films – as well as bring to life the specialist departments working behind the camera, such as special effects, make-up and wardrobe.

The organisers are expecting between 250,000 and 500,000 visitors a year, to judge from the success they had with an earlier County Hall exhibition on Star Wars, which attracted about 200,000 people over eight months.

The opening comes almost a decade after the British Film Institute closed the doors of the Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI), primarily because of rising costs. A BFI spokesman expressed interest in the new museum, particularly as MOMI’s collection is languishing in a storeroom. It is believed that some of the objects could now be lent to the Movieum.

Jonathan Sands, one of the Movieum’s directors, said that he had the lease on the County Hall space for 25 years. “The Star Wars exhibition proved to us the fact that that location could work,” he said.

Exhibits draw on film props and sets owned by Weird & Wonderful, Mr Sands’s production company, which claims to own one of the largest such collections in the industry, hiring some of them out to other productions for film and television.

Many more exhibits are being lent by artists who were involved with making them, as well as the studios. Although films such as Star Wars and Batman were made possible by Hollywood studios, they feature in the Movieum because they were made in England.

Mr Sands said: “We want to illustrate the ‘Bet you didn’t know this was made in England’ angle . . . The American industry is actually produced by British talent “This is an exhibition about the industry by the industry. There’s nothing like this.”

The museum’s emphasis is on interactivity. Mr Sands said that visitors would have a chance to make a mock film and actors would help people to take their own screen test.

The original throne from Elizabeth, which starred Cate Blanchett as the monarch, will be displayed for visitors to sit on within a setting of the sumptuous palace that they saw on screen.

The technology that allowed Superman to fly over London will be adapted for the 250 different film titles in which visitors to the Movieum can choose to star.

Mr Sands said: “It puts the visitor in the actual film using special effects.”

He added: “The display will trace how a film is made from A to B, from the concept of an idea and the script to editing and the distribution of a film, the special effects and the model-making.”

One thought on “More on Movieum of London

  1. Forget the press releases- Movieum is a cheap and poorly executed attraction. The organisers should be ashamed of them selves for taking money off the visitors.There is no interpretation of the movie memorabellia which reduces it to junk as opposed to the precious images it created.The exhibits are badly lit. The captions are too small. There is no narrative to engage the visitor. The acoustics are poor. The staff do not engage with the visitor. MOVIEum is an insult to London and an insult to British Film.

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