The list of women who inspired and uplifted the golden eras of 20th-century Hollywood is long and filled with household names. Marilyn Monroe, Vivien Leigh, Doris Day, and Elizabeth Taylor all come to mind before the protagonist of the new romantic film, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.

Following the last days of Gloria Grahame, the underappreciated former star of stage and screen, the film shadows Grahame (Annette Bening) as she succumbs to illness before a performance and returns to Liverpool to seek comfort from an old flame, Peter Turner (Jamie Bell). Based on Turner’s memoir of the same name, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool is a touching look at the tumultuous life of a forgotten Hollywood icon.

It might be considered serendipitous for the film to be released in this cultural moment, following the revelations of industry-wide mistreatment and abuse of women in film, and the social media storm that these stories have inspired. Decades earlier, Grahame had herself been a victim of Hollywood’s dark side – forced into plastic surgery, attacked by lawyers and the press during her divorces, and physically beaten in films such as Human Desire, Grahame’s experiences bear a poignant relevance today.

Grahame was a talented and multi-faceted actress, working in genres ranging from noir to blockbuster musical, and her comprehensive career is explored in Robert J. Lentz’s Gloria Grahame, Bad Girl of Film Noir, published by McFarland. Compiling her feature film roles, including It’s a Wonderful Life and Oklahoma!, alongside a multitude of made-for-television productions, TV series appearances, and stage performances, Lentz explores the relationship between these roles and her turbulent personal life.

Though her legacy may have been superseded by icons of Old Hollywood glamour, this book and the new film both seek to reclaim Grahame from the depths of cinema history – giving her life and career the time in the spotlight that it deserves.