A film favourite

Glasgow has come into its own in recent years as a great place to live, but it’s been hot property with film makers for many years.
You might not have guessed you were watching Glasgow on the silver screen, mind you. Remember Cloud Atlas? The scenes with Halle Berry set in 1970s San Francisco were in fact set around Douglas Street just north of the city centre.
Not many cities have the kind of vertiginous streets you find in San Francisco. Glasgow not only has the steep angles but some good examples of the sort of architecture the film makers wanted, too.
Then there was World War Z, the Brad Pitt zombie film. While George Square doubled as Philadelphia there was a great deal of excitement in the city centre as people tried to catch a glimpse of Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Some people even had zombie lessons to increase their chances of becoming one of the local extras.
City Chambers is an Italianate building with mosaic floors and marble staircases which made it a grand stand-in for the Kremlin in An Englishman Abroad as well as the Vatican in Heavenly Pursuits.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery was turned into New York’s Grand Central Station for The House of Mirth and, less salubriously perhaps, Morgan Freeman goes shopping in a branch of Spar in the Jet Li film Unleashed.
Glasgow has taken a starring role as itself in many a film over the years, though. The Maggie is a classic 1954 Ealing Comedy based on Neil Munro’s short stories about the Vital Spark and her captain, Para Handy, on the Clyde. More recently, Scarlett Johansson starred in Under the Skin, a science fiction horror film set in and around the city.
So pay attention when you’re next at the cinema. You might be watching Glasgow in disguise!