50 Fun, Weird and Frightening Film Facts About the Wizard Of Oz

At Arthouse Hotel, our fabulous film themed rooms bring the magic of the movies from big screen to your luxury suite to enjoy during your one of a kind hotel experience in Liverpool.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is one of the most marvellously magical movies of all time and it comes as no surprise that there is plenty of fun, weird and fairly frightening facts about the making of such a fantastic movie.

Here we look into some of the movies most bizarre facts that will help you see the most magical musical movie in a whole new light.

When Special Effects Win and Fail

#1 The superb scientific special effect liquid used for the Tin Man’s oil was, in fact, chocolate syrup!

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No wonder he looks so happy after being oiled. Yummy.

#2 Actress Billie Burke who played Glinda The Good Witch was 18 years older than the actress who played her foe The Wicked Witch

 

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The Good Witch got her some very good genes.

#3 More superb special effects here as the terrifying tornado sweeps towards Dorothy’s home.

Not the extreme act of nature you think you see but actually an old stocking being whipped around in a pile of dirt and dust!

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In fact, if you look close enough you can see the hand twirling the stocking.

#5 Following the yellow brick road proved quite difficult as it appeared green after the technicolour effect was applied and therefore had to be repainted

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‘Follow the slightly Greenish-Yellowy Brick Road’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, wouldn’t you agree?

#6 The Poppy field through which the cast skip merrily through was made by hand by 22 people who handcrafted 40,000 individual Poppies.

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It’s all in the details.

#7 The brightly coloured horses in the Emerald city where dyed using Jello or gelatin, even though the movie would be filmed in black and white and the technicolour process later applied.

The technique worked really well except the horses proceeded to lick most of the Jello off themselves in between takes so fresh coats had to be reapplied.

#8 When the Wicked Witch goes to take Dorothy’s slippers the sparks that fly out are actually sprays of apple juice sped up with clever camera trickery

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We don’t know about you but that looks like some seriously potent apple juice.

The Famous Ruby Slippers

#9 The Ruby Slippers were replicated in 1989 for the movies 50th birthday and weren’t cheap either coming in at $3 million

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#10 In the original story, Dorothy’s slippers were silver but, to make better use of the new-fangled colour filming process, the studio turned them ruby red instead.

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#11 So many people come to see the Ruby Slippers at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C, that the carpet needs to be regularly replaced due to wear and tear.

#12 Last year in 2017 the slippers were removed from display to undergo, what experts are calling “an in-depth conservation assessment and treatment” or a fancy trip to the cobblers.

#13 Funds to carry out the treatment and to create a new display were raised on Kickstarter and it’s rumoured that Leonardo Di Caprio and Steven Spielberg contributed in excess of $3 million between them.

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Now that is one expensive shoe habit.

What is Health and Safety?

#14 Health and safety went flying out the window here as the soft white snow drifting dreamily over the sleepy characters was actually made from notoriously poisonous asbestos.

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No wonder Dorothy looks a little red-eyed in this clip.

#15 Actors also complained about the harsh lighting used during filming, brighter because of the technicolour process, it ended up permanently damaging their eyes.

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Ah! Bright lights, bright lights.

#16 Finding people to play flying monkeys became quite difficult as many of the actors fell several feet due to the supporting wires snapping.

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Perhaps they shouldn’t have been monkeying around.

#17 As well as the excessive bright light the lamps caused the temperature to reach 100 degrees during filming

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This became a small problem for one male actor, and two crew members thanks to his less than breathable costume.

The Cost of Perfection

#18 The Cowardly Lions costume was made of real lion skin, we think PETA might have something to say about that today!

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#19 . . . and it weighed 100 pounds, must’ve been a big bloody Lion.

#20 What’s more, the genuine Lion skin smelled terrible thanks to the extreme heat caused by the technicolour lamps and the heavy weight of it making the Cowardly Lion actor sweat profusely.

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Two people were employed round the clock to dry out the costume after filming wrapped each day.

There’s no business like show business.

#21 Judy Garland was considered too plump to play such a young girl at the time of filming The Wizard of Oz and was cinched into a super tight corset during filming.

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After all, pain is beauty, apparently.

#22 A ridiculous sum of money was spent on filming Wizard of Oz, a total of $2.7 million (approximately $45.6 million today)

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MGM made it rain all day for the Wizard of Oz which was initially a huge box office flop.

It Wasn’t Easy Being Green

#23 The Wicked Witch used to teach America’s equivalent to Reception before becoming an actress.

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. . . imagine that being the first face you saw when starting school.

#24 At one point the Wicked Witch, when vanishing in a cloud of smoke was severely burned as her bright green make-up was flammable.

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She refused to complete any more scenes in the film that involved fire, can you blame her?

#25 The green make-up used to colour the wicked witch was copper-based and poisonous so the poor women playing her couldn’t eat when in costume, she survived on a liquid diet.

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That’s dedication to a role.

#26 The Wicked Witch was so scary that she even had scenes that were deemed too frightening for children and were therefore cut out of the movie.

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This poor woman really did put up with a lot for a film role, surely teaching wasn’t that bad?

There’s No Business Like Show Business

#27 The Scarecrows Face was made up of early prosthetics that left grooves in the actor’s face.

They supposedly took a year to completely disappear.

#28 Famous Actor of the time Beverly Hillbillies Buddy Ebsen was cast as the Tin Man but had a severe allergic reaction to the silver body paint.

#29 The same silver make-up reportedly gave the Tin Man actor a serious eye infection.

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#30 Nothing is thrown away at MGM and the proof is in the pudding as the Wicked Witch’s crystal ball made its first appearance in The Mask of Fu Manchu. A 1932 movie about the search for Genghis Khan’s tomb.

#31 Even the Good Witch Glinda’s shimmering ballgown was reused from the movie San Francisco.

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MGM were thrifty when they wanted to be.

The Real Star Of The Movie

#32 Judy wanted to keep Terry, the dog who played Toto, but Terry’s owner refused and quite rightly too, get your own dog, Judy!

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#34 The poor little puppy even sustained injury when a crew member trod on her foot breaking it.

#35 Terry, the dog was also scared of the steam that came out of the Tin Man’s hat.

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#36 and she earned more than The Munchkins, but they most likely didn’t care as its rumoured many of them took the job to escape a Nazi-occupied Europe.

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More About The Munchkins

#37 In fact, The Munchkins got a bit of a bum deal and instead of being recognised individually they are represented as one entity with one Walk of Fame Star between all 124 of them.

#38 Judy Garland even named her Oscar Juvenile Award the Munchkin award! The cheek.

#39 One of the Munchkins was a licensed pilot who served during WWII.

#40 The Munchkins were actually rumoured to be quite unruly on and offset, often throwing wild parties and drinking heavily whilst filming their scenes.

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Well, they didn’t get a lot else from the world famous movie so why not?

A Little About The Author

#41 The author of the Wizard of Oz, L.Baum, used to breed special chickens.

#42 The world of Oz was named so by the incredibly creative author, whose inspiration was . . . wait for it . . . a filing cabinet label O-Z!

#43 It’s all in the details as The Wicked Witches death certificate is dated exactly 20 years after author L.Baums death.


#44 Despite L.Baum being an active supporter of female rights, Judy Garland was only paid a measly $500 a week while her male co-stars raked in $3,000 for the same work.

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Interesting to see the times haven’t changed that much eh?

Behind The Scenes

#45 It is rumoured that when Judy was filming the lion slapping scene she was in fits of giggles unable to finish a decent take.

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Director, Victor Fleming, took her to one side, slapped her and sent her back to try again where she nailed the scene in one take.

#46 The cast can be seen here dancing a popular routine from the 1939 dancehalls of the age. The Jitterbug was originally a number in the movie but was edited from the final cut.

We think those were some snazzy dance moves for the time, don’t you?

What if . . .

#46 If 20th Century Fox had won the rights to film Wizard of Oz Shirley Temple would have starred in the role as Dorothy.

#47 Dorothy’s original costume involved a blonde wig and heavy make-up, but the decision was made to aim for a more natural look.

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#48 The iconic “Over The Rainbow” song was nearly cut from the movie because it ran too long.

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Thankfully it wasn’t . . . now you’re singing it in your head, aren’t you?

#49 MGM stopped Disney from making a Wizard of Oz, imagine what the genius of Disney would have done to Oz if he got his hands on the book rights.

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Oh, what magic there could have been.

#50 Oscar-nominated six times, winning best score and best original song, Wizard of Oz was beaten for best picture by Gone With The Wind.

Quite frankly my dear we don’t give a damn.

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The Wizard of Oz is still our favourite musical of all time and one of the most wonderful movie themed rooms at Arthouse Hotel.

So, ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’ and ‘Fly Over the Rainbow’ to party like a munchkin in the Wizard of Oz room where our superb accommodation offers are designed to help groups of guests enjoy one of a kind party breaks in Liverpool.

movie themed hotel rooms

Yellow Brick Road reception

All the luxury themed rooms are perfect for hen parties, stag dos and special celebrations of any kind and thanks to the superb location in the heart of Liverpool’s Ropewalks, Arthouse Hotel is ideally situated for enjoying the best of the cities nightlife.

Wizard of Oz - movie themed hotel rooms

Wizard of Oz room

The best bars in Liverpool can be found right on your doorstep with our very own Alma de Cuba and Mulholland Bar offering fantastic atmosphere, food, music and drinks all night long.

Call now and start planning a wonderful stay in Liverpool on 0151 601 8801 or email info@signatureliving.co.uk and ask more about the magical Wizard of Oz room or any of our other movie themed rooms in Arthouse Hotel.

Themed Hotel Rooms & Unknown Movie Facts: My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady is one of the most beloved musicals of all time and the inspiration behind one of the musical movie themed hotel rooms at Arthouse Hotel.

Filmed in 1964 with an all-star cast including Rex Harrison who played Higgins, a phonetics professor with a rather large ego and Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, a working-class girl from the bustling city of London.

The story goes that Higgin’s believes in his coaching abilities so much he can tutor the cockney twang out of Eliza and therefore make her a well-spoken upstanding member of society.

The two form an unlikely relationship and eventually fall in love, despite social differences and the interference of aristocratic suitor, Freddie, played by Jeremey Brett.

The movie served as inspiration for one of our musical movie themed hotel rooms and the My Fair Lady room at Arthouse Hotel is simply Loverly.

Check out some of the lesser-known facts behind the creation of My Fair Lady the movie, its origins and some of the famous cast members below.

Award Winning Performances

My Fair Lady was released to critical acclaim winning a grand total of 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

Diva Behaviour

Renowned for her gracious caring attitude, Audrey Hepburn displayed slightly diva-esque behaviour when she was informed her singing voice would be dubbed. She walked offset in a huff, only to return the following day and apologise to everyone who she had offended.

Age is Only a Number

Middle-aged adults playing high school children was a thing way before 90210 and Dawson’s Creek.

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Eliza Doolittle was only supposed to be 19 in My Fair Lady but Audrey Hepburn was a fantastic looking 35 years old during filming.

Star-Studded Recommendations

Hollywood isn’t wasn’t the cutthroat industry that it’s made out to be today. Cary Grant was approached to play Rex Higgins but he turned the role down knowing he wasn’t right for the it.

Instead, he strongly recommended Rex Harrison for the part and said if he wasn’t cast he wouldn’t even go and see the movie.

Another Role Rejection

Dame Julie Andrews played Eliza Doolittle on stage, just 19 at the time and at the beginning of what would become a blossoming film career.

She refused the role in the movie as she was also up for the part of Mary Poppins and didn’t want the two to conflict.

Delaying Walt Disney

Hoping to boost the career of now Dame Julie Andrews, the wonderful man Walt Disney offered to delay filming Mary Poppins until summer 1964 so she could take on the role of Eliza Doolittle as well.

On Set Interference

The dashing neckties that Higgins wore throughout filming were where crew and costume had stashed Rex Harrington’s microphone.

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Occasionally the device would pick up radio conversations from passing police cars reporting crimes or updating criminal pursuits.

A Hidden Talent

Despite being a member of the Eton College choir and being known for his excellent singing voice, directors chose to dub the vocal talents of actor Jeremy Brett who played the besotted Freddie Eynsford-Hill.

His songs were sung instead by a 43-year-old Bill Shirley.

A Very Different Type Of Fair Lady

If we could imagine another in the role of Eliza Doolittle first thoughts do go to Julie Andrews. However, by the time filming came around Andrews was immersed in work with Disney so, if Audrey Hepburn had not accepted the role a third actress was in line.

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Super starlet Elizabeth Taylor is said to have coveted the job although its very hard to imagine Ms Taylor playing a common working class cockney don’t you agree?

Devastating News on Set

The 60s was a decade rife with iconic moments in history, one of which was the shocking assassination of JFK.

Announcing the tragedy to cast and crew fell to Audrey Hepburn after she’d filmed the most famous song number of the My Fair Lady movie “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”.

Setting The Perfect Scene

Thanks to the large budget given to the movie, set designers were extra creative with their work which eliminated the need to film outside.

Instead, every scene in My Fair Lady was shot on the sound stages of Hollywood studios.

Childish Inspiration

When it came to naming the movie, directors struggled and at first settled on Lady Liza but because of protests from Rex Harrison, the title was changed.

The inspiration for the new title was the traditional children’s nursery rhyme “London Bridge is falling down, My Fair Lady.”

An Arresting Beauty

Audrey Hepburn is without a doubt one of the most naturally beautiful women to ever have graced our screens.

It comes as little surprise that when she entered the set in full costume for the ballroom scene, the room fell silent then cast and crew began to applaud, cheer and even shed tears at how stunning she looked.

Blowing The Budget

In the 60s, production companies were spending huge sums of money on making movies.

Only the year before My Fair Lady was made, Cleopatra at 20TH Century Fox had racked up a bill of $35 million, roughly translated to around £350 million today.

My Fair Lady came in at just $17 million, and despite being half the cost of Cleopatra, it was still the most expensive movie made by Warner Bros at the time.

Precious Creations

Again thanks to the huge sums of money at their disposal directors hired the exceptionally skilled Cecil Beaton to design the 1500 elaborate costumes for the cast.

His work including the stunning beaded ballgown and monochrome lace Ascot dress for Eliza Doolittle’s character all of which earned him the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

Beaton’s work was so exquisite, and expensive, that the studio hired amusement park trams to transport the clothed cast to and from set to avoid damages and dirt.

Costs Vs Profits

Despite costing Warner Bros under half of what Cleopatra cost Fox, My Fair Lady has grossed $20 million more in profits overall.

In fact, My Fair Lady even made it into the top 100 highest ranking films of all time.

Bad Habits

We all assume that Audrey Hepburn was the picture of health, but she had a nasty habit.

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Hepburn smoked around three packs of cigarettes a day, much to the displeasure of Rex Harrison who had recently given up before filming started.

Wouldn’t It Be Larvly . . . Loverly . . . Laverly?

A cockney accent isn’t the easiest to replicate, especially not for California born soprano, Marni Nixon.

She had to continuously practice the cockney singing accent when she provided the vocals for Eliza Doolittle.

A feat that earned her the title “Ghostess with the Mostest” as audiences would never see the face behind the amazing talent.

A Mouth Full of Marbles . . . or were they?

Health and safety was still a thing in the 60s so instead of popping a potential choking hazard into the mouth of Audrey Hepburn during Higgins’ eloquencey lessons, grapes were used in place of marbles.

Founded in Greek Mythology

My Fair Lady was based on a play about a mythological ancient Greek sculptor named Pygmalion who created what he considered to be the ideal women out of stone.

The story goes that once the statue was created Pygmalion fell in love with it and on the day of Aphrodite’s festival he wished for a wife to be a living likeness of the woman he’d carved. When he kissed the statue’s lips the woman came to life and married Pygmalion.

My Fair Lady’s Higgin’s is the present day equivalent of Pygmalion, fashioning his ideal women out of Eliza.

A Musical Without Singers

Today musicals are usually filled with the biggest and brightest stars in musical movie making. If you can’t sing you aren’t cast or in the case of Russell Crow in Les Miserable, you sing anyway and get mocked for it.
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In the early day’s famous faces were favoured over fantastic voices and therefore musical movies were heavily dubbed. The entire cast, with the exception of Stanley Holloway who played Eliza’s father Alfred had their singing voices dubbed, why wasn’t Russell Crowe dubbed we here you ask? The answer, we just don’t know!

The Dead Penguin Play Mascot

Before My Fair Lady was a film it was a stage play with Rex Harrison still in the role of Higgins.

Apparently, Rex admired the work of the Pygmalion writer Shaw so much that he often referred to a Penguin edition of the play’s script. Whenever things didn’t seem right with the dialogue Rex would bark to stagehands;

“Where’s my Penguin”

After a while, this became a regular command and the crew and directors decided it was time to put a stop to it.

So, one day when Rex gave his usual command a stuffed Penguin was rolled out onto stage instead of his script. The entire cast and crew roared with laughter including Rex Harrison who never asked for his Penguin again.

And finally . . .

The Rain In Spain Does Not Stay Mainly In The Plain, in fact, it rains mostly in the northern hills and mountains of Spain, the plains in the south see very little rain at all.

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Book Your Stay At Arthouse Hotel

Come rain or shine, Liverpool is a fabulous place to enjoy a short city break and Arthouse Hotel is located in the very heart of the cities most popular nightlife.

Our rooms can sleep a number of guests all in one space and we have some superb hotel offers ideal for groups of people coming to the city.

Call now on 0151 601 8801 or email info@signatureliving.co.uk to book your stay or check out some of our amazing Liverpool hotel offers here.

The Highlights of Our Love Island Quiz at Arthouse Liverpool

Last week, we played host to our very own Love Island quiz at Arthouse Hotel Liverpool. The summer fun was hosted by Love Island’s Katie Salmon and Signature Living’s very own Roger Jonas.

The night saw fans of ITV2’s biggest show gather to put their Love Island knowledge to the test! And we certainly threw in some fabulous prizes along the way.

Love Island Liverpool Quiz

Roger and Katie put fans through their paces with a variety of quiz rounds. Love Island winner Cara De La Hoyde and fellow Islanders of the past Gabby, Georgia and Tyne-Lexy stayed at Signature Living’s Shankly Hotel just a few weeks ago. And during their stay, we filmed some exclusive videos for our video quiz round.

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Roger Jonas and Katie Salmon

We also served up a colourful range of refreshing Love Island cocktails. Our eclectic menu featured the Do Bits Society, Megan the Snake and My Type on Paper. What more could a Love Island fan want?!

love island liverpool quiz

love island liverpool quiz

Our colourful creations went down a treat with our quiz guests. Poured to perfection by our cocktail experts, Arthouse Hotel’s Mulholland Bar is one of the best spots for cocktails in Liverpool.

love island liverpool quiz

We spread the summer vibe around Arthouse with plenty of decorations brightening up the bar. Even our famous gorilla sported some summer attire! Quiz attendees enjoyed our range of cocktails and indulged in delicious pizzas.

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Love Island’s Katie Salmon was joined by her girl group including Instagram star and model Chloe Khan.

love island liverpool quiz

Of course, we couldn’t let our Love Island quiz-goers miss an episode! In between the fun, we showcased the latest antics of the villa on our big screen.

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The drama saw Wes save Megan and everyone’s favourite love-to-hate Islander Adam pack his bags for home. It’s safe to say we had our very own commentary of cheers and boos as the dumping took place.

Amazing Love Island Quiz Prizes

At Signature Living, we never do things by halves. So, we went all out with amazing prizes for our quiz winners. The first prize saw our lucky winners bag a stay in our luxury Skyline Suite.

The perfect party atmosphere, the stylish spot features everything from a large pool-style bath to outdoor terrace looking out across the city.

The second prize offered the winner a romantic date night meal at Liverpool’s iconic Alma de Cuba bar and restaurant. And last but not least, winners of our third prize got their hands on some Love Island themed goodies!

To keep up with the latest Signature Living events at Arthouse and beyond, make sure you give us a follow on Facebook. You’ll also find the latest offers at Arthouse Hotel here.

Celebrating the Best Summer Movies of All Time

This summer, why not join us for a girls weekend away in Liverpool at Arthouse Hotel? With weekend availability this August, don’t miss out on the fun!

Arthouse is a movie-themed hotel in the heart of Liverpool nightlife. The perfect spot for a sleepover or night out with the girls, what better way to spend a summer evening?

Plus, we have a fabulous weekend offer in store for you that you won’t want to miss…

Our Favourite Summer Movies

To get you in the spirit for a summer stay in Liverpool, we thought we’d celebrate the season with some of the best summer movies of all time.

Roman Holiday (1953)

A charming tale of summer romance, Roman Holiday had to be on our list. Starring the timeless Audrey Hepburn opposite Gregory Peck, the romantic classic saw Audrey win an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.

The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Starring the one and only Marilyn Monroe, The Seven year Itch is another of our favourites. The dazzling Hollywood classic brought audiences the iconic scene of Monroe standing on the subway grate in her famous white dress.

To Catch a Thief (1955)

A sun-kissed Hitchock classic, To Catch a Thief stars the one and only Grace Kelly opposite the iconic Cary Grant. The alluring thriller takes audiences on a journey of suspense and romance with the glamorous backdrop of the French Riviera.

Stand By Me (1986)

A coming-of-age comedy by Rob Reiner, Stand By Me brings Stephen King’s novella The Body to life. The heartwarming film is a summer classic. Following the friendship of four boys from a small town in Oregon, viewers are brought along on an unforgettable hike in search of a dead body.

 The Parent Trap (1998)

Starring Lindsay Lohan (opposite Lindsay Lohan!) The Parent Trap is a family favourite when it comes to childhood summer movies. The feel-good film features everything a summer film should do, from summer camp chaos to lakeside mischief. Not forgetting, there’s a fantastic use of Beatles hit ‘Here Comes the Sun’.

Grease (1978)

It goes without saying that Grease is on our list of the best summer movies ever made! The musical comedy starts with summer dreams ripped at the scenes as the holiday romance of Danny and Sandy comes to an end. And though heading back to school is usually a bit of a downer, John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John keep the fun alive alongside an all-singing and all-dancing cast.

Jaws

Last but certainly not least, our list of summer movies wouldn’t be complete without Steven Spielberg’s iconic thriller, Jaws. Shot along the sandy shores of Martha’s Vineyard, the must-see summer blockbuster of 1975 became the highest-grossing film of all time until the release of Star Wars. Arguably the best bit of all, the spine tingling score compromises of just two alternating notes.

Girls Weekend Away in Liverpool

Arthouse Hotel is a unique themed hotel, situated along dynamic Seel Street. This spectacular spot is inspired by timeless movies and pieces of art from throughout the years.

One of our most popular summer rooms is our dazzling Marilyn Monroe themed room. Decorated in glamorous shades of red, this fabulous space is truly one of a kind.

Have your very own Marilyn moment as you and the girls enjoy a night in style. Sleeping 4 guests, this stylish room includes a whirlpool bath, TV and dressing table.

Grease fans can also look forward to staying in style in our Grease-themed hotel room. Sleeping 6 guests, this room will leave you with chills, multiplyin’…

Ultimate Girls Weekend (£229 per person)

Our Ultimate Girls Weekend deal is the perfect way to spend a fun-filled weekend in Liverpool city centre, only moments from Liverpool nightlife.

Making your stay all the more convenient,  take a look at what you could enjoy from our Ultimate Girls Weekend package

girls weekend away in liverpool

  • 2 night stay in one of our themed rooms
  • Choice of pamper packages (hair, make up, spa treatment)
  • 2 course meal and afternoon tea at any Signature Living restaurant*
  • Choice of fun activity (cocktail, rum or wine masterclass, bubble soccer, Breakout escape game, disco dodge ball)

*Subject to availability

To find out more or to book your stay at Arthouse Hotel, you can reach our friendly team on 0151 601 8801.