Garbus, Churchwell on ‘Love, Marilyn’

Sarah Churchwell praises Love, Marilyn on Twitter

Sarah Churchwell – author of The Many Lives of Marilyn Monroe, whom also appears (as herself) in Love, Marilyn – praised the new documentary on her Twitter account last night.

Meanwhile, Liz Garbus, director of Love, Marilyn – screened at the London Film Festival last weekend – has spoken about MM to FemaleFirst.

“Marilyn created a figure of female sexuality and femininity at a time in the U.S. of great repression…I think it is naive or simplistic to say that Marilyn was an early feminist but what she did do was discuss sexuality.

The approach that I took in the film was to get a cast of actresses but none of them were playing Marilyn what they doing was using their experiences as actresses today to bring to life Marilyn’s experiences. They had insights into them that even I, who had read the documents twenty times didn’t.

Stylistically it is very different to anything that I have done before and I haven’t seen a film like it. I felt that I was doing something that was risky as I had a whole bunch of different actors reading fragments of thoughts and ideas.

You had to edit them to become cohesive and yet still relish their fragmented nature as they are not meant to be a narrative – they were meant to illuminate moments in time and brief thoughts; some of them fleeting.

So I had to respect that and then provide the viewer with a cohesive narrative and that was a balancing act.

[MM] created a new type of American figure and that was quite brilliant. Maybe some of it was instinctive but you don’t create that by accident…In the movie we show a lot of her press conferences and you see the way that she talks to the press – she is so clever and she handles the press so well.”


‘Gone But Not Forgotten’ at WH Smith

Marilyn Monroe: Gone But Not Forgotten is a UK ‘bookazine’ special, published by Instinctive Product Development and currently on sale at WH Smith for £5.99. Photos include a few by Carl Perutz, and the text is by Jessica Bailey. Six free 7×5″ postcards and a folder are also included.

Inside the Hollywood Jewellery Box

Sadie Mintz is the 105 year-old founder of the Hollywood Jewellery Box, and designer of the earrings worn by Marilyn in Some Like it Hot, reports Emily Smithack for the Smithsonian blog.

“On one occasion in the 1950s, I rented several pairs of the same rhinestone earrings. Evidently they were worn by Marilyn Monroe and several other cast members in Some Like It Hot. My husband and I made the earrings. We were supposed to make them with a lot of rhinestones, very noticeable. These earrings were the very same that Marilyn Monroe had on in the famous LIFE magazine photograph of her, which I always kept framed on the wall.

Years later, I sold my inventory back to the studios. I kept some things for the grandkids – I had three granddaughters, and they used to love to come play in the drawers. But I did keep those rhinestone earrings. I tried to have them sold by Christie’s or Butterfield’s – I don’t remember which auction house. They agreed it was the same design, but I had no proof that these were the very same earrings worn by the stars, so they could not ‘authenticate’ them. I wonder what more information they needed since I was already in my mid-nineties and remembered everything! My eldest granddaughter even got me a clip of the video showing the earrings. These were indeed the same earrings. I ended up having them sold at auction by the Screen Actors Guild, which was more lax on the authenticity rules.”

Julien’s Icons and Idols

Julien’s Auctions will be holding their Hollywood Icons and Idols sale in Beverly Hills on November 9-10. Marilyn-related items include an eight-minute film made at John F. Kennedy’s birthday gala; the purple skirt Monroe wore for a 1953 photo shoot with John Vachon; a rare photo taken in Las Vegas in 1947; negatives from the set of The Misfits by Thomas Kaminski; the framed Cecil Beaton triptych which took pride of place in her New York apartment; and documents including Norma Jeane’s high school yearbook, and her final will.

UPDATE: Some selected results…

The film reel from President Kennedy’s birthday gala was sold for $3,200

A 1942 Emerson Junior High Yearbook sold for $1,152

A 1953 ‘Golden Dreams‘ calendar sold for $512

An off-white chiffon gown from Franklin Simon’s of Fifth Avenue sold for $7,680

Framed copy of Modern Photography‘s August 1954 issue, signed by Marilyn to Roy Green, sold for $3,840

Scrapbook containing candid photos from River of No Return, signed by Marilyn and other stars, sold for $5,760

Purple wool wraparound skirt, worn by Marilyn when photographed by John Vachon in Canada for River of No Return, sold for $50,00

Gold blouse and matching capri pants by Don Loper, worn by Marilyn and gifted to Lefty O’Doul’s wife Jean, sold for $43,750

Playbill for The Waltz of the Toreadors (1957) at the Coronet Theatre, NYC, signed by Marilyn and Arthur Miller, sold for $1,408

Copy of Marilyn’s final will sold for $3,200

Framed Cecil Beaton triptych, inscribed to Marilyn, sold for $38,400




‘The Jump Artist’ and Marilyn

Marilyn jumps with Philippe Halsman, 1959

The Jump Artist, Austin Ratner’s prize-winning novel, is based on the early life of photographer Philippe Halsman, a Latvian Jew who was accused of killing his father while still a teenager, during a holiday in the Austrian Alps in 1928.

The ensuing trial led to allegations that the prosecution’s case was anti-Semitic. Albert Einstein and Thomas Mann were among the many protestors against Halsman’s sentence, and he was released in 1931.

The final chapter includes an account of his ‘Jump’ photo session with Marilyn in 1959, which made the cover of Life magazine. Here is a short extract:

“When the movie star did finally arrive, she was very nervous about the idea of jumping and had to be talked into it again. ‘You told me last time that a picture of a jump reveals the soul,’ she said, peeking out from behind the fake Byobu screen. She tossed her white socks out onto the chair.

‘I know your soul already,’ Philippe said. ‘It is as beautiful as all your exterior assets.’

When Marilyn emerged barefoot in the black evening gown and saw Yvonne there holding a floodlamp, she froze.

‘This is my wife, Yvonne,’ Philippe said.

Yvonne put the lamp down and walked to her, touched her arm. Marilyn stiffened.

‘We saw Some Like it Hot, dear,’ Yvonne said. ‘You were so funny!’

Marilyn looked surprised and somewhat relieved. But as Yvonne said. But as Yvonne crossed the studio again to retrieve the lamp, Marilyn watched carefully, as though any female, even a kind one, could at any moment circle back and bite her.

Philippe examined her face. The makeup was perhaps a bit harsh. ‘I won’t make you redo it this time,’ he said. He checked the Weston light meter, picked up the Rolleiflex, and took a few shots. Then he told Marilyn to jump.

The shoot proceeded at its usual frenetic pace. Yvonne literally ran, jumping over cables, when another Rolleiflex or extra lamp was needed. Photographs actually were precious moments in time, and moments in time could never be recovered. Philippe and Yvonne ran around like people trying to catch gold falling from the sky.


Marilyn jumped like a little girl, with her legs tucked up underneath her.

‘Did you really like the movie?’

‘Yes, Marilyn. Everyone did.'”