The Asphalt Jungle will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray as part of the prestigious Criterion Collection in December. With many special features, Criterion editions are a cineaste’s dream, attesting to its long-held status as the definitive heist movie. Directed by John Huston, The Asphalt Jungle gave Marilyn her first important role (although not a large one) and was her own favourite film.
New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Audio commentary from 2004 by film historian Drew Casper, featuring recordings of actor James Whitmore
New interviews with film noir historian Eddie Muller and cinematographer John Bailey
Archival footage of writer-director John Huston discussing the film
Pharos of Chaos, a 1983 documentary about actor Sterling Hayden
Episode of the television program City Lights from 1979 featuring John Huston
Audio excerpts of archival interviews with Huston
Excerpts from footage of the 1983 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony honoring Huston, featuring actor Sam Jaffe and the filmmaker
Marilyn: Character Not Image, a new exhibition curated by none other than the multi-talented actress, comedienne and host of TV’s The View, Whoopi Goldberg – a woman who has consistently defied stereotyping throughout her long career – will open at Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary on September 25, through to October 22.
“This show presents a different side to the legendary actress: behind the glamour was a vulnerable, sensitive, and ambitious young woman who spent time writing poems and diary entries to self-analyze, understand, and reassure herself. In these writings, she craves love and friendship, and battles with ongoing pain, heartbreak, and disappointment. She attempts to understand the world on her terms, tries to accept her insecurities and fears, and to become a better artist.
Milton Greene was a personal friend who constructed many famous images of Marilyn the star, but he also took many intimate photographs of Marilyn the person. The images here demonstrate her sweetness, humor, and impatience: with husband Arthur Miller, talking to animals, receiving directions for a photoshoot, taking a summer dip. The images by Weegee reveal a sly complicity between subject and photographer: his dark-room distorted imagery pokes fun at the unreal and absurd facets of the Hollywood industry, of which Marilyn was keenly aware.
Also on view is the dress she wore during the unforgettable 1962 performance singing ‘Happy Birthday’ for President John F. Kennedy at Madison Square Garden, perhaps the most significant moment of her career, the crystallization of the persona she was continually creating since she dreamed of becoming an actress as a little girl. The dress and the drawings are on loan from Julien’s Auctions’ forthcoming November events.
‘The image of Marilyn Monroe the icon endures and strengthens as time goes by, but her personal life remains a mystery,’ says Whoopi Goldberg. ‘With this exhibition I wanted to show a glimpse of the woman behind the icon using, before now, never-before-seen images, some of her personal writings, and some pieces of her artwork.'”
Architectural Digest has republished biographer Donald Spoto’s 1994 article about Marilyn’s many homes, from the bungalow she shared with the Bolender family as a child, to the modest retreat where she spent her final days.
“She was the most photographed woman in America, and very likely the most peripatetic. There was something of the pilgrim about her, for she was a ceaseless wanderer in search of herself. And even after 20th Century-Fox had rechristened her Marilyn Monroe, she briefly took the name Journey Evers, as if to signify the continuous motion of her life.
In 1951 and 1952, swiftly attaining stardom, Marilyn had nine films in release—and added no less than three addresses to her biography. She paid little attention to her surroundings and lived in a sparsely furnished apartment on Hilldale Avenue in West Hollywood and, two blocks from that, in a small one-bedroom at 882 North Doheny Drive, at the corner of Cynthia Street. There she began her romance with Joe DiMaggio in 1952. ‘Almost any place would have done for me,’ she told a friend, ‘but I tried to make it homey for Joe.’ “
Carol Koontz, a baton and drum corps leader who met Marilyn (in her Grand Marshal capacity) while competing at the 1952 Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, has died in Ohio aged 83, reports CantonRep.com.
“For decades, Koontz shared her skills in baton-twirling, music, and pageantry with thousands of local youngsters in Stark and Tuscarawas counties. She started the troupe in 1962 and was still giving weekly baton lessons until about two weeks ago, her daughter Holly Flowers said.
Koontz began teaching the baton in 1948. In 1952, the Tuscarawas County native won the Miss Dennison and Miss Ohio pageants and competed in the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, N.J. During her talent portion in the national contest, Koontz played a classical piece on the clarinet, then twirled two ‘fire’ batons.
She also had her picture taken with Monroe, who was a special guest.
‘My grandma (Carol’s mother) happened to be in the restroom when Marilyn Monroe was in there, and Marilyn asked her how she kept her hair curly in humid weather,’ Flowers said with a laugh. ‘My grandmother was giving Marilyn Monroe hair tips.’
Years later, Koontz led her troupe on the famed boardwalk at a Miss America commemoration event, her daughter noted.”
In a new series about Marilyn’s contemporaries for Immortal Marilyn, Leslie Kasperowicz profiles Gene Tierney, the beautiful star of Laura. Gene found fame during the 1940s at Marilyn’s home studio, Twentieth Century-Fox. Her first husband was Oleg Cassini, one of Marilyn’s favourite designers (you may recognise Gene’s red Cassini dress in this photo, as it was also worn by Marilyn.)
While Marilyn’s white halter dress from The Seven Year Itch may be her most iconic movie costume, the beaded ‘nude’ gown she wore to sing Happy Birthday to President John F. Kennedy in 1962 is perhaps the greatest marker of her place in history. After selling for $1.627 million at Christie’s in 1999, it will now be the star item in the Marilyn-only sale at Julien’s Auctions in November, Vanity Fair reveals.
As previously reported by ES Updates, the auction will also include the collections of David Gainsborough Roberts, Monroe Sixer Frieda Hull and Marilyn’s estate. Collector Scott Fortner, who is helping to curate the sale and touring exhibition, has offered fans a chance to win tickets to the event and a limited edition box-set catalogue. To enter the contest, visit his MM Collection Blog.
UPDATE: The ‘Happy Birthday’ dress was sold at Julien’s for $4.8 million on November 16, 2016, making it the most lucrative dress in auction history. The buyer is Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum, who plan to showcase the dress in future exhibitions. Read a full report from Scott Fortner on his MM Collection Blog.
Theologian Gerald McDermott has written an article about Marilyn’s stutter for the multi-faith website Patheos, suggesting that the iconic breathy voice she used in her movies helped her to control it.
“If stuttering was a recurring pattern in this troubled actress’s life, how was she able to perform? How did she become such a famous movie star that people are now surprised to hear that she was a stutterer? The answer is not crystal clear, but there are strong clues.
We know that for many of her years in Hollywood Marilyn had an acting coach named Natasha Lytess, who taught the young actress to breathe and move her lips before she actually spoke. A focus on breathing helps many stutterers. But Natasha also instructed Marilyn to enunciate every syllable, especially final consonants.
This exaggerated diction might have helped distract Marilyn, as stutterers are sometimes helpfully distracted, from her problem with starting words. But at the same time the staccato style can produce a stopping and starting that makes it more likely the speaker will block on words starting with difficult consonants or vowels.
We also know that in the 1950s ‘breathy breathing’ was a popular therapy among speech therapists. Charles Van Riper, for example, taught stutterers to slow down speech and prolong their words, and to use gentle breathing.
Wherever she learned it, this method worked for Marilyn most of the time. She made many movies, and her stutter was never readily apparent once the movies got to the screen. Quite the contrary, in fact. Her breathy speech became famous, and in fact is known today among speech therapists as a technique called the ‘Marilyn Monroe voice.'”