My review of Andrew O’Hagan’s comic novel, The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe, is featured in the Issue 15 of the UK fan-club magazine, Mad About Marilyn, as well as coverage of the summer auctions, a profile of photographer Bob Beerman and a 1961 article by Louella Parsons.
“My husband makes fun of me because I love to color. Usually, I am coloring with a kid but there have been times when a kid stopped coloring and I just kept on going. I really like this coloring book because I love Marilyn Monroe. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, even before color hits the page. I’ve almost colored all the pages, so now I need to get another one.”
My Week With Marilyn, Colin Clark‘s 2000 memoir of his stint as a production assistant on The Prince and The Showgirl, the 1957 movie starring Sir Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe, will shortly be filmed with Michelle Williams as Marilyn, Kenneth Branagh as Olivier, James Jagger as Clark and Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike, according to press reports.
Clark was the son of art historian Kenneth Clark (Lord Clark of Saltwood), and his better-known brother, Alan Clark, was a Tory MP in the Thatcher government of the 1980s, whose political diaries caused a sensation when they were published in 1993.
Colin Clark’s first memoir about Marilyn, The Prince, the Showgirl and Me (1995) was well-received (Joan Collins called it her favourite book of that year.) It was based on diaries Clark claimed to have kept during filming in 1956.
Five years later, Clark published a sequel, My Week With Marilyn, which he claimed was based on a ‘lost week’ not covered in his diary. He also claimed that he and Marilyn became quite intimate at this time, even (platonically) sharing a bed.
This second volume met with considerable scepticism, not least from Alan Clark who speculated that Colin had fabricated the diaries entirely. Nonetheless, it sold well and the BBC produced a documentary narrated by Colin himself, The Prince, the Showgirl and Me, first aired in 2003, a year after his death.
Though Clark’s books make for quite an enjoyable read, some Monroe researchers have found that dates in his published diaries do not match the original production notes for The Prince and the Showgirl.
Because the source material is contentious, many MM fans are already concerned that this will not be a fair representation of the events of 1956, and in particular the personal and artistic clashes between Monroe and Olivier.
However, it must be granted that the cast and crew appear stellar. Production of My Week With Marilyn is reported to begin in the UK this September, and will allegedly be produced by the Weinstein brothers (former heads of Miramax Films) and directed by Simon Curtis (who recently helmed the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford.
‘My reporter was eager to ask Angelina Jolie about her plans to play Marilyn Monroe when they spoke at Monday’s premiere of Jolie’s new thriller, Salt. According to reports, author Andrew O’Hagan told the Edinburgh Book Festival that the star would fill Marilyn’s shoes in a film version of his novel, The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, opposite George Clooney as Frank Sinatra. But Jolie just looked bewildered. “Where did all these rumours come from?” she asked. “I haven’t heard a thing about it! I don’t even know if I’d be the best person to play her.” As to her rumoured co-star, she added, “I haven’t even talked to George about it.” An embarrassed (or incensed?) O’Hagan – whose book contains the memories of Maf, a Maltese terrier given to Marilyn by Sinatra – went so far as to issue a statement about the confusion: “Despite what was said in the unchecked stories that appeared in the papers… I made no public statement about Ms Jolie or Mr Clooney… Everything about the film has still to be decided.” Scarlett Johansson, anyone?’
Extract from Glamour: Women, History, Feminism by Carol Dyhouse
“As the 1950s gave way to the 1960s, film stars still inspired emulation – especially those stars who seemed to offer a new kind of fresh, youthful sexuality, less worldly than traditional glamour, but more intriguing than a femme-fleur. Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn were the icons of the time.
The most prominent screen glamour girl of the period, Marilyn Monroe, had a childlike, vulnerable quality, described by Diana Vreeland as ‘fluffy zaniness’. But Monroe herself embodied many of the contradictions of the era. In the early days of her career, photographed by Tom Kelley nude and stretched out on red satin, she came close to being labelled as ‘cheesecake’. She appeared to lack the self-possession that had distinguished many of the screen goddesses of the 1930s, and she seemed more innocent than other pin-up girls. Monroe was never the girl next door however, and could be capable of a sharp realism. ‘I guess I’ve always had too much fantasy to be only a housewife,’ she confessed on one occasion, adding, ‘Well, I also had to eat. I was never kept, to be blunt about it. I always kept myself. I have always had a pride in the fact that I was on my own.’
Perhaps one of the last high moments in the classic Hollywood celebration of glamour was when Marilyn Monroe, in a memorable public performance, sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to John F. Kennedy in Madison Square Garden in May 1962. She wore a gown by Jean Louis in nude marquisette covered with rhinestones, described by Adlai Stevenson as ‘skin and beads’. In 1999 the gown sold at auction by Christie’s for $1.2 million.”
A new French publication…
Explore this issue of the new collection “People”, tracing the path of the biggest stars of the twentieth century. From Madonna to Romy Schneider, Johnny Hallyday to Michael Jackson, Find the personalities that have marked our time and left an indelible imprint in our memories.
This richly illustrated booklet tells you the key moments of Marilyn Monroe’s life through amazing, emotional anecdotes.
A book in small format, convenient to take anywhere with you!
Also available at many newsstands.
Size 15×19 96 pages Fully quad
Postage and France: € 1.90 Postage Europe € 3.50
Thanks to Chris at Club Passion Marilyn
Marilyn, August 1953: The Lost ‘Lost’ Photos, by John Vachon, will be published on October 29.
Thanks to Emma at Everlasting Star
Andrew O’Hagan’s comic novel, The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe, is set for Hollywood, according to today’s Guardian.
A few years ago, Douglas Kirkland recreated his 1961 Monroe photo shoot with Angelina Jolie, to stunning effect. While I do wonder if Jolie can recapture Marilyn’s fragile charm, she is a gifted actress and Hollywood’s biggest star right now. (Her performance in Life Or Something Like It, back in 2002, drew comparisons to Monroe in some quarters.)
Screen adaptations of two other Marilyn-related books, My Week With Marilyn and Blonde, are also rumoured to be in the pipeline.