Laughter may not cure COVID-19, but it’s a great way to get through lockdown. Look at Marilyn, laughing for Sam Shaw and bringing us springtime in Saturday’s Telegraph.
In the current issue of San Francisco’s Marina Times, Michael Snyder becomes the latest film critic to recommend chasing the blues away with Some Like It Hot.
“In dire times, comedy is needed more than ever. Absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesco had it right with his observation, ‘We laugh so as not to cry.’ Even if laughter isn’t really the best medicine in a pandemic, it can’t hurt.
Public gatherings have been restricted and major movie releases are being postponed, so I thought I’d note some vintage, spirit-raising film comedies that should be accessible at home in the digital domain. A sense of humor is incredibly subjective. Still, it would be hard not to chuckle, chortle, or at least smile at some point while watching any of the following.
Director-screenwriter Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959) stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as two luckless musicians who need to disappear after witnessing a gangland hit. To escape murderous mobsters on their tail, the guys cross-dress to infiltrate an all-woman band and fall under the spell of one of the gals in the group, played by the bubbly, voluptuous Marilyn Monroe. From silly to sizzling, Some Like It Hot is the real deal when it comes to frantically funny fake femmes …”
And finally, if quarantine is limiting your style choices, you could follow Marilyn’s example and slip into a potato sack (as seen in the latest issue of Yours Retro …)
Theresa Crumpton has compiled her ranking of the best Monroe movies, alongside user ratings from the IMDB website, for the Screen Rant blog. Some Like It Hot, The Asphalt Jungle and The Seven Year Itch top the list, while fan favourite Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is relegated to eighth place; The Prince and the Showgirl, which matches the aggregate score of Bus Stop (ranked sixth), is omitted entirely; and All About Eve, which ties with Some Like It Hot on IMDB, is also conspicuously absent.
A fan’s candid snapshot of Marilyn, plus her autograph, was sold for $2,250 at Nate D. Sanders Auctions yesterday. (It’s unclear if the man in the photo is the lucky fan, as his face is cut off. But his clothing reminds me of Joe DiMaggio when he joined Marilyn in Canada during the filming of River Of No Return in the summer of 1953.)
“Marilyn Monroe signed address book, with Marilyn writing ”Love & Kisses / Marilyn Monroe” on the ‘M’ page. Autograph was obtained at a chance encounter in Los Angeles, circa 1954, as Marilyn was leaving the studio lot, and is accompanied by a glossy 3.75” square photo capturing the encounter. Address book measures 2.75” x 4.25”, with various pages filled in. Marilyn’s page has some mild browning and wear but no writing other than hers. Overall very good condition.”
“Guitar Slim going down slow Play it for me and for Marilyn Monroe …”
One of our true living legends, Bob Dylan has just released his first original song in eight years. ‘Murder Most Foul’ is a seventeen-minute ballad about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and its lingering impact on the American psyche. Among the many cultural references within this extraordinary work is our MM, whom Dylan has long admired (see here.)
A new picture disc featuring fifteen of Marilyn’s songs – and gorgeous images by Sam Shaw and Baron – has been released by VinylArt via Amazon. (And while you’re there, pick up a copy of French magazine Reporters Sans Frontières‘ tribute to Philippe Halsman, including eleven pages of Marilyn.)
If, like many of us, you’re waiting out coronavirus at home, Michelle Morgan’s The Little Book of Marilyn is an easy, uplifting read, with fan input, makeovers, craft tips and more – read my review here.
As much of the world faces lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, millions are turning to movies for solace. One of the most frequent suggestions is Some Like It Hot: in the last week alone, Vulture’s film critic Angelica Jade Bastien has sung its praises, while The Medium‘s May Alsaigh focused on Marilyn’s role as Sugar Kane among the most iconic female characters. Monroe fans may wish more attention was paid to her many other great performances; Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is also a comic masterpiece, for example. However, few stars of Hollywood’s golden age enjoy such posthumous acclaim, and with its inclusive message (‘Nobody’s perfect!’), Some Like It Hot has a timeless appeal.
“The time has never been wrong for this delirious screwball romp but seldom has it been more right. When it airs on Turner Classic Movies on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. EDT, we, as a nation, would do well to huddle around Wilder’s warm fire with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe.”
Writing for the University of Toronto’s student magazine, The Medium, May Alsaigh looks at Marilyn’s role in Some Like It Hot alongside other iconic female screen characters.
“Monroe, an iconic sex symbol from Hollywood’s Golden Age, plays the character Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot released in the late fifties. The film follows two male musicians who disguise themselves as women as they flee in an all-female band after witnessing a mob hit. This film of meticulous crafts revolves around nothing but sexual desires. In the film, Sugar Kane dresses provocatively as she pours herself in a dress that flaunts her breasts for needy men. Her character speaks to female objectification and misogyny whilst motivating women to propagate toward the idea of revealing attire. “
Like most Canadian theatres, Paradise Cinemas in British Columbia is currently closed. But as the Williams Lake Tribune reports, Cariboo Art Beat have released photos from their new mural, created by Tiffany Jorgensen and Sarah Sigurdson, which will greet moviegoers when it reopens. As you can see, Marilyn is placed here with Clint Eastwood (in his ‘Man With No Name’ guise), Indiana Jones, and a Minion from Despicable Me. She’s depicted in the apparel of Marvel Comics heroine Wonder Woman, holding a crown like she did in a 1953 publicity shot by John Florea (wearing a Travilla gown from How to Marry a Millionaire.)
With many of us now in quarantine due to the spread of coronavirus, I probably won’t be reporting on many events here for a while. However, we at least have the chance to watch movies at home, and with her great comedic gifts, Marilyn can brighten our days in these difficult times. On the Vulture website today, Angelica Jade Bastien recommends Some Like It Hot and if you don’t have a copy at home, it’s widely available on streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon. (Angelica has often championed Marilyn in her articles, which you can read here.)
“But to be completely honest, I return to this film for the wounded performance of Marilyn Monroe. You probably formed an idea of Monroe long before you ever saw her onscreen. Perhaps you caught sight of her flattened image — red lipped and yearning — plastered on a mug, Andy Warhol–style. Maybe you learned through osmosis to regard her as a tragedy. Monroe is a cinematic atom bomb mushrooming with significance. In death she’s become for many artists and writers an emblem of 1950s sexuality, a feminist icon, a victim, a muse. Personally, I’d rather focus on what she did onscreen, where she’s decadently hilarious, brimming with fully realized emotion. At first blush, Sugar could be discarded as just another example of the dumb-blonde archetype. Hell, she calls herself dumb. But I think she’s too self-aware for that. Monroe balances the needs of the character beautifully. Watch as her face melts like ice cream when she notes how she always “gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop.” Watch how she leans over Joe late in the film, her body a canvas upon which the film displays its notions of sex and desire. This is a movie about desire above all else, and the hilarious ways we strive for it.”