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‘The Game of Their Lives’ Set for St. Louis Premiere

Category: The Game of Their Lives News
Article Date: March 22, 2005 | Publication: Missouri Film Commission | Author: Press release

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The Missouri Film Commission will host the Midwestern premiere of “The Game of Their Lives,” a movie filmed in St. Louis and Brazil that tells the inspiring true story of the 1950 U.S. World Cup soccer team that pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in World Cup history.

The event will take place on two screens at the AMC Esquire 7 in Clayton on Sunday, April 17. Premiere show times have not yet been determined and the film will open in limited markets, including St. Louis, on April 22. Missouri Film Commission Chairman Alan Liebert negotiated with Bristol Bay Productions and IFC Films to arrange the opening.

In the spring of 1950, the U.S. recruited players in the soccer hotbed of St. Louis. The St. Louisans joined players from the east coast for a short 10-day training period before leaving for Rio, the site of the World Cup. After a crushing defeat by Spain in the World Cup opener, the Americans expected more of the same when they played England’s top-ranked team on June 19, 1950.

But instead of being embarrassed, the Americans played the game of their lives.

Directed by David Anspaugh and written by Angelo Pizzo (both collaborated on “Hoosiers” and “Rudy”), the film stars Gerard Butler (“Phantom of the Opera”), Wes Bentley (“American Beauty”) and Patrick Stewart (“X-Men”).

The movie spent seven weeks shooting in St. Louis in the summer of 2003. To recreate 1950 St. Louis, set designers turned back the clock with some Hollywood magic. Carpenters built two-story false storefronts to fill empty lots or to hide modern building facades. Local car clubs were recruited to provide hundreds of vintage vehicles. Thousands of extras went through an assembly line of hairdressers and costumers to get the natty 1950 look.

The production filmed at a number of locations around St. Louis including the St. Louis Women’s Club, Marquette Park, Calvary Cemetery, Missouri Athletic Club, Soldan High School field, the Kodak Building, Union Station and the Casa Loma Ballroom. Filmmakers also spent a lot of time on the Hill, the Italian-American section of St. Louis where most of the players lived.

The Missouri Film Commission, within the Missouri Department of Economic Development, began recruiting the production in February 2002. Hundreds of photographs of St. Louis were sent to the producers. The film commission showered the production company with information about crew, equipment, talent, lodging and other resources. Eventually the film commission staff escorted Anspaugh, Pizzo and several producers on a three-day scout of the city.

The producers liked what they saw, and by January 2003, a production office had opened in St. Louis. The company spent almost six months prepping before filming began on June 13 and concluded July 25.

There is no word yet on any of the film’s stars attending the premiere. Show times and ticket information will be announced by April 1.


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