The London Film Museum is a museum with a difference; it is the only museum of its type in the UK and offers a unique glimpse into the world of the film maker covering everything from the earliest moving pictures through to modern day Hollywood blockbusters. The concept for the museum followed on from the original ‘Movieum’ which was opened in 2008 as a result of an extremely well received Star Wars exhibition put on by its founder Jonathan Sands. Today almost 50% of the items in the London Film Museum are from Mr Sand’s private collection of memorabilia.
The museum hosts a number of exhibitions, some of which are permanently on display. One of the permanent exhibitions that has been pulling in the crowds consistently since its opening in 2010 is the ‘Ray Harryhausen – Myths and Legends’ exhibition. Anyone with a love of fantasy films will remember being amazed by the use of what were then cutting edge cinematography and photography techniques, which were used to bring a skeleton army and other such creatures to life in films like Jason and the Argonauts and Sinbad.
The ‘Capturing the Shadows’ exhibition charts the history of the film industry from its beginnings in the 1890’s, charting the technological advances that have moulded and shaped the medium. The film and photography industry is on the verge of another technological advancement as the reliance on celluloid and traditional chemical photography is being left aside in favour of digital image capturing. Capturing the shadows pays homage to the history of the craft from its beginnings in shadow theatre through to stop frame animation, everything that had some kind of influence over the way that the film industry has operated for the past 120 years.
Despite the exhibition title of ‘Magnum on Set’ conjuring up images of a heavily moustached Tom Selleck playing a 1980 private investigator, this exhibition is actually referring to the legendary Magnum Photos Agency. The exhibition includes almost 150 iconic movie images from films like Rebel Without A Cause, Moby Dick and The Seven Year Itch. There are candid shots of stars like Marilyn Monroe and Charlton Heston going over their lines before a scene, or going of scene details with the producer.
The exhibition also includes some of the original equipment that was used on the sets of some of the best known movies ever made, including cameras and scripts, as well as authentic props and costumes used in the making of the movies. The Magnum Photo Agency has been involved with the film making industry since 1947 and has captured some of the most recognisable movie photo stills in the world. The relationship formed between photographer, stars and production crews has enabled them to gain access to a part of Hollywood that few get to see. This is a must see exhibition for anyone with a love of photography or for the film industry in general as it opens the door on a part of movie history that few have ever experienced.