Arts critic Parker Bowman lists The Seven Year Itch among his favourite summertime movies in a column for the Visalia Times-Delta.
“The classic screwball comedy is iconic for its scene of Monroe’s dress flying up while she stands above a subway grate, a scene that completely overshadows the rest of the film in pop culture history. This, of course, is a shame, because it’s genuinely funny, Monroe is about as charming as a human could ever be in it and Tom Ewell is pitch perfect as the hilariously conflicted everyman.”
In Scotland’s Sunday Post this weekend, Craig Campbell looks back at the life of Marilyn’s most congenial co-star, Jane Russell, who would have turned 96 this week. The article was first published in the June 17 issue of Weekly News – and you can read my own tribute to Jane at Immortal Marilyn.
“This most-unusual woman, by Hollywood standards, also started a weekly Bible study group, something she would invite a most-unexpected guest to in years to come.
Jane was an established star by the time that she made GentlemenPreferBlondes in 1953 with the most-famous blonde of them all — but her opposite number certainly hadn’t yet attained iconic status.
Already an ‘old, established broad who’d been around’, Jane felt Marilyn Monroe might like to come to some faith discussions, but the idea didn’t quite click.
‘At that time, Marilyn didn’t even have her own dressing-room, which sounds insane now!’ Jane laughed. ‘She only got one for that movie.’
‘She was super-sensitive, had her feelings hurt a lot, and the guys around the studio weren’t exactly tactful.’
‘We had a group called The Hollywood Christian Group, and I asked Marilyn along.’
‘She did say the next day: It’s not for me!’
What both leading ladies did have in common, however, was movie success … Jane’s razor-sharp wit was the perfect foil for Marilyn’s portrayal of gold-digger Lorelei Lei, and the song ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ became a classic.
Russell would also star in the follow-up, Gentlemen Prefer Brunettes, which was lacking the Monroe effect and didn’t fare so well.”
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes tops a list of movies to watch before they leave Netflix in July, over at Bustle.
“Yes, there are many other great reasons to see this movie. If you don’t believe my swooning, here are some more facts: It’s got a 98 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Important film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder cited it as one of his 10 favorite films. Plus, the technicolor in this movie is so intense and over the top gorgeous that watching it is like rolling around in a rainbow for one hour 31 minutes. And, of course, decades before Thelma And Louise or Bridesmaids or Set It Off, this is a film that’s ostensibly about two women hunting rich men that actually puts female friendship at the heart of the tale.”
Artist Lucille Clerc‘s gorgeous rendering of Marilyn – inspired by Milton Greene’s ballerina sitting – adorns posters for this year’s Champs Elysees Film Festival, celebrating independent French and American cinema. (And while you’re in Paris, don’t forget to see Bert Stern’s photos of Marilyn at DS World.)
Olivier Rajchman’s Hollywood Ne Repond Plus (Hollywood Unresponsive) is a new book in French exploring the crisis at Twentieth Century Fox in 1962, focusing on three films made that year: the scandalous Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor and helmed by Joe Mankiewicz; Darryl F. Zanuck’s magnum opus, The Longest Day; and Marilyn’s last movie, the ill-fated Something’s Got to Give. It is available now in paperback and via Kindle.
Some Like It Hot will be showing at cinemas across the US tomorrow (June 11) and on Wednesday (14th), as part of the TCM Big Screen Classics series. Find a theatre near you and book your tickets now withFathom Events.
Legendary Hollywood publicist Joe Hyams (not to be confused with the reporter of the same name) has died aged 90, according to the L.A. Times. Born in New York, he served in the Marines during World War II. After a stint in journalism, he was hired as a unit publicist for From Here to Eternity and On the Waterfront. In 1956 he worked on Bus Stop, Marilyn’s acclaimed comeback following a year-long absence from the screen. Four years later, he was appointed national advertising and publicity director at Warner Brothers. He would remain at the studio for over forty years, overseeing major films like My Fair Lady, Bonnie and Clyde, Woodstock, The Exorcist, Blazing Saddles, A Star Is Born, Chariots of Fire, JFK and Eyes Wide Shut. Hyams also collaborated with actor-director Clint Eastwood on numerous films, including Every Which Way But Loose, Unforgiven and Hyams’ final project, the Oscar-winning Mystic River (2004.)
Over at The Wrap, Rosemary Rossi picks ten movie clips showcasing Marilyn in her prime, with praise from leading critics.
“It has been observed that no matter how a scene was lighted, Monroe had the quality of drawing all the light to herself. In her brief scenes here, surrounded by actors much more experienced, she is all we can look at.” – Roger Ebert on ‘All About Eve’
“The reality was that she was a great, natural comedienne. She took superficial, cut-out roles and elevated them to whole new levels.” – Peter Bogdanovich on ‘Monkey Business’
“Monroe’s inflections and expressions have a deliciously clever and sharply experienced irony” – Richard Brody on ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’
“So arresting is Monroe’s presence that when she’s not on-screen, we wait impatiently, wondering, Where have you gone, Mrs. DiMaggio?” – Melissa Anderson on ‘The Seven Year Itch’
“Monroe steals it, as she walked away with every movie she was in. It is an act of the will to watch anyone else while she is on the screen.” – Roger Ebert on ‘Some Like It Hot’