Barris Photos and More at Heritage Auctions

Photos of Marilyn taken by George Barris in 1962 (taken from the original negatives, and signed by Barris) will go under the hammer for a starting price of $500 each at the Heritage Auctions‘ Entertainment, Music & Posters sale, set for July 20-21. Photos by William Carroll, Andre de Dienes and Kashio Aoki are also on offer, plus images from Ray Anthony’s ‘My Marilyn’ party, the hand-print ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and a silk-screen print by Bert Stern.

Among the more unusual items are a newspaper clipping accompanying an original photo of Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio on Redington Beach in Florida; and a grave marker from Marilyn’s crypt at Westwood Memorial Park, plus vintage photos and slides of fans paying their respects.

UPDATE: Marilyn’s grave marker sold for $7,500 – view results here

Wednesdays With Marilyn in Palm Springs

The Palm Springs Cultural Centre is hosting a summer season of Marilyn’s movies each Wednesday at 7 pm, with Niagara on July 10; followed by Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on July 17, How to Marry a Millionaire on July 24, and Some Like It Hot on July 31. On Wednesdays at 7 through August, catch The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, Let’s Make Love and Monkey Business. And finally, the retrospective winds up in September with Don’t Bother to Knock and The Misfits.

Thanks to Eric at Marilyn Remembered

Marilyn, a Basket and a Baby

This rare and charming photo of Marilyn getting her make-up done by an unnamed woman while a baby looks on from inside a basket, was posted to the Avedon Foundation’s Instagram account yesterday. It was taken in New York 61 years ago, on July 2, 1958 – five days before Marilyn flew to Los Angeles to begin shooting Some Like It Hot.

Marilyn: the Pencil Skirt’s Best Friend

No history of the pencil skirt is complete without reference to Marilyn, as Rosalind Jana writes for Australian Vogue.

“The pencil skirt became a defining garment of the 1950s and early 1960s. It could be luxuriously smart, as seen in lime green on Grace Kelly in Rear Window. It could exude sex appeal, as demonstrated by Sophia Loren who paired it with strappy tops and tightly tailored jackets. It could be chic in black on Audrey Hepburn. For Marilyn Monroe, perhaps the most famous wearer of the pencil skirt, it came to define an entire aesthetic: one predicated on a particularly voluptuous projection of femininity, complete with tight sweaters, crisp white shirts and an overarching emphasis on her hourglass figure. Like the hobble-skirt, it required a very particular way of walking—see Monroe’s famous wiggle epitomised in Some Like It Hot, her wide-eyed character Sugar Kane sashaying provocatively in the skin-tight skirt.”

Marilyn Mural in Loch Sport, Australia

Former chef turned artist Simon White painted this mural (using a 1957 photo of Marilyn by Sam Shaw, plus The Beatles and explorer Steve Irwin as inspiration) on a water tank in his new hometown of Loch Sport, Victoria (on the East Gippsland coast, 260 km east of Melbourne, Australia), as Carolyn Webb reports for the Brisbane Times.

‘The Seven Year Itch’ in Norfolk, VA

The Seven Year Itch will be screened at 7 pm on Monday, August 19 at the Naro Cinema in Norfolk, Virginia, capping off ‘Mal’s Movies’, a summer season of Hollywood classics selected by film and theatre critic Mal Vincent.

“The star, of course, is Marilyn, and that’s all that needs to be said. Based on the Broadway play, Billy Wilder’s classic comedy is devoted to the premise that husbands reportedly get an ‘itch’ after seven years of marriage. Such frenzy is encouraged by the fact that the wife is away for the summer, and Marilyn Monroe, playing a model, lives upstairs. It’s the perfect comedy for the summer. Tom Ewell is hilarious as the befuddled middle-aged husband who doesn’t quite know what to do with Marilyn. She is most avid about Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto and cooling off her underwear in the fridge. Summertime galore! Monroe’s comic gift is proven throughout.”

After the show, viewers will vote for their top four performances of the series – and Marilyn will be competing against the likes of Doris Day, Maureen O’Hara, Lana Turner and Rita Hayworth for the Best Actress title!

Marilyn, the ‘Smart, Bubbly’ Blonde

“Beat for beat, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes just might be the single funniest film I’ve ever covered for this column,” Caroline Siede writes in the latest entry for her ‘When Romance Met Comedy’ series at AV Club.

“So much of what makes the filmwork ultimately comes down to just how fantastic Monroe and Russell are in it, both individually and as a duo. Russell was the bigger star at the time and commanded the higher salary, but this is one of the key films that launched Monroe into the Hollywood stratosphere and established her signature ‘dumb blonde’ persona. I could fill this whole column just listing off the genius comedic scenarios that [Howard] Hawks and [Charles] Lederer dream up, and that Monroe and Russell flawlessly deliver. One of my favorites is a sequence where Lorelei tries to escape a locked room via a porthole window, which becomes a great showcase for Monroe’s pitch-perfect comedic timing and Hawks’ clever eye for physical comedy.

Lorelei’s obsession with diamonds is both a funny comedic runner and the film’s most pointed piece of satirical commentary. As Lorelei sees it, if the world is going to objectify her anyway, she might as well get some financial benefit from it—especially since she’s learned firsthand that diamonds won’t betray her in the way that men so often do. 

Like the best satires, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes heightens cultural dynamics to the point where you can’t help but see the absurdity in them. Yet it does so in a way that always gives Lorelei and Dorothy the comedic upper hand, rather than forcing them to be the butt of the joke. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes imagines a world where women are allowed to be as open and unembarrassed about their desires as men—whether that’s Dorothy’s interest in ‘a beautiful hunk o’ man’ or Lorelei’s proclivity for wealthy beaus. They never waiver in their directness about asking for what they want, nor from their loyalty to one another. In the end, they’re rewarded for their ingenuity, not punished for it.

There’s a sort of loosely accepted myth that cultural progress is linear—that of course a movie made in 1953 would be more sexist than a movie made today. Yet once you lock into the satirical tone beneath its surface-level pleasures, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes refutes that idea in nearly every scene. It’s both an old-fashioned romp and a shockingly progressive ode to female independence, sexual agency, and camaraderie. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but—as this romantic comedy sees it—so is the woman who will happily throw on her finest evening wear and upend the patriarchy with you.”