Leaving Hospital, 1961

Rested and recovered after several weeks at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, NYC, Marilyn faces the paparazzi with a brave smile. She had been through a divorce and two bereavements in the previous year, as well as making two movies. Ex-husband Joe DiMaggio was a regular visitor at this time.

Rare footage

Thanks to Omar

Underground Comedy Movie 2010

In this summer release, written and directed by Offer ‘Vince’ Shlomi (better known to US readers as ‘the ShamWow guy’), Lindsay Lohan recreates the famous ‘subway scene’ from The Seven Year Itch, as a skit, but with one major difference – this time, ‘The Girl’ pulls a gun on the paparazzi.

In the sketch, one of the characters tells Lohan, “You look like Marilyn Monroe,” to which she replies, “Marilyn never had to wear a SCRAM bracelet!”

I think this ‘revenge fantasy’ is quite a clever idea, and is most likely a spoof on the paparazzi, not Marilyn herself – but please be warned – as the trailer indicates, Underground Comedy Movie 2010 is peppered with violence, sexual innuendo, and profanity, and therefore is not suitable for the easily offended.

Kelly Osbourne as Marilyn

While Kelly Osbourne doesn’t look much like Marilyn, I appreciate her efforts to copy some classic images here. After all, it’s an opportunity few Monroe fans would be able to resist…

Philippe Halsman, 1952

Douglas Kirkland, 1961

‘The Seven Year Itch’ in California

Jacque Wilke as 'The Girl'

The girl upstairs almost kills me with a cast iron bucket. So I ask her down for a drink. What’s wrong with that?

“A grand and goofy comedy” – The New York News

It’s a long, hot New York City summer in 1952 and advertising man Richard Sherman has sent his wife and son to enjoy the cooler climate of the beach while he stays home to work. When the upstairs neighbor, a stunning model for “US Camera” almost kills Richard with a tomato plant dropped from above, Richard begins to invest in his fantasy life, until the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. A hilarious take on the shifting morals of 1950’s America.

George Axelrod’s comic play, The Seven Year Itch, which became a hugely successful film starring Marilyn Monroe in 1955, is being revived at the New Village Arts Theater in Carlsbad, California (near San Diego), from today, July 29th, through August 22nd.

“You can tell that George Axelrod had a great respect for women,” says Kristianne Kurner, executive artistic director at the theater. “The Girl (played by Jacque Wilke) doesn’t have a name, but she’s really strong. And I think the humor, instead of coming out of a derogatory thing about women, comes from the husband’s guilt. That guilt is really funny.”

‘Love Happy’ in Helsinki

Marilyn’s screen time in the final Marx Brothers movie, made in 1949, adds up to less than a minute – but she certainly made the most of it!

Funding was withdrawn before shooting ended, hence a very long rooftop chase scene where the actors pass countless neon advertising signs.

Despite only having a walk-on role, Marilyn was chosen to promote the film and flew to New York City – probably for the first time – in July.

It’s rather an odd film but well worth seeing if you’re a diehard Marx or Monroe fan. Available on DVD, and showing this Sunday, August 1, at 6pm, and again on Tuesday, August 3rd, at 6pm, at the Bio Orion in Helsinki.

Marilyn in Love Happy

Thanks to Sirkku Aaltonen

MM to Feature in Khrushchev Movie

Listening to Khrushchev, September 1959

Paul Giamatti will star in a new HBO movie, to be produced by Tom Hanks, about Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev’s trip to the US in 1959. Based on a 2009 book by Peter Carlson, K Blows Top is named after a New York Daily News headline, penned after the premier’s desired visit to Disneyland was unceremoniously cancelled.

Khrushchev may not have met Mickey Mouse, but he did go to Hollywood and was introduced to Marilyn Monroe at a star-studded luncheon at Twentieth Century Fox. Which has to be an improvement, don’t you think?

‘The lunch over, Skouras led his new friend toward the soundstage where Can-Can was being filmed, stopping to greet various celebrities along the way. When Skouras spotted Marilyn Monroe in the crowd, he hastened to introduce her to the premier, who’d seen a huge close-up of her face—a clip from Some Like It Hot—in a film about American life at an American exhibition in Moscow. Now, Khrushchev shook her hand and looked her over.

“You’re a very lovely young lady,” he said, smiling.

Later, she would reveal what it was like to be eyeballed by the dictator: “He looked at me the way a man looks on a woman.” At the time, she reacted to his stare by casually informing him that she was married.

“My husband, Arthur Miller, sends you his greeting,” she replied. “There should be more of this kind of thing. It would help both our countries understand each other.” ‘

Extract from K Blows Top in Smithsonian Magazine

Vintage newspaper articles from The Los Angeles Times

Vintage newsreel footage

Jack Cardiff Documentary on DVD

Marilyn-signed photo, given to Jack Cardiff

Cameraman: The Life and Works of Jack Cardiff is a new documentary about the Englishman who became Marilyn’s favourite cinematographer after they collaborated on The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956.

Cardiff went on to direct his own movies. Had he directed Marilyn instead of Olivier (with whom she famously clashed), filming of Showgirl might have been a very different experience. Nonetheless, Marilyn did some of her finest acting in this gentle period comedy, and she never looked lovelier.

My tribute to Jack Cardiff, who died in 2009 – over here

Feng Shui at Fifth Helena Drive

A more spiritual perspective on Marilyn’s last home, currently up for sale, from Dana Claudat.

I must admit to having mixed feelings about this property. While it is a beautiful house, where Marilyn once lived, it is also the place where her life ended. Whoever finally buys it will have to accept that it will always carry these associations with MM, and it inspires a sometimes morbid curiosity in people.

The house is located in a tiny cul-de-sac in Brentwood, a quiet, upmarket residential suburb of Los Angeles. Some of its more recent occupants and neighbours have not been happy about the constant visits by sightseers, and I can understand that.

However, public interest shows no sign of waning. Ideally I would like to see this house restored to its 1962 form as a national heritage site, in the way that John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool, UK is now maintained.

But while Monroe is fast becoming one of America’s greatest icons, historians have been slow to recognise this. The endless auctions of recent years, where Marilyn’s personal property has been dispersed among private collectors, are a similar example of opportunities squandered.

And with no surviving relatives to protect Marilyn’s legacy, I can’t see a sea-change occurring anytime soon. In death, as in life, Monroe seems to be alone and unprotected.