‘Asphalt Jungle’: No. 1 Heist Movie

John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle tops a list of great heist movies in St Louis Today. In this classic thriller, Marilyn played Angela Phinlay, the young mistress of a corrupt businessman (Louis Calhern.) It was Marilyn’s first ‘big break’, and she remembered the experience with pride.

The Asphalt Jungle (1950): A fabulous film noir directed by John Huston, this is a tight, dark look at an ex-con trying to set up one more big job — a jewelry-store heist — after getting out of prison. Sterling Hayden is excellent in the lead, with great support from James Whitmore and Sam Jaffe. Marilyn Monroe has a small role.

Watch a trailer here

Maf the Dog: Call Off the Search

‘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?’

The Independent

‘Blonde Bombshells’ in San Francisco

As Pola in 'How to Marry a Millionaire' (1953)

Marilyn Monroe (1926-62) is the most famous Hollywood blonde, and she stars in several of the Blonde Bombshells movies playing the Castro Theatre from  Aug. 27-Sept. 5.

Bay Area Reporter

Friday August 27 – MM Double Bill

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 3pm and 7pm

The Seven Year Itch 4:50 pm and 8:50pm

Saturday August 28 – MM Double Bill

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 3:20pm and 7pm

How to Marry a Millionaire 1:30pm, 5:10pm and 9pm

Sunday August 29

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 3pm and 6:45pm

Monday August 30

Bus Stop 3:20pm and 7pm

Friday September 3

Some Like it Hot 2:45pm and 7pm

Sunday September 5

The Misfits 2:30pm and 6:45pm

The ‘Blonde Bombshells’ season also includes films starring one of Marilyn’s favourite actresses, Jean Harlow, as well as Carole Lombard, Lauren Bacall, Lana Turner and Jayne Mansfield.

Full listings here

Eli Wallach to be Honoured by Academy

Photo signed by Eli Wallach to Betsy Brett, staffer at Immortal Marilyn

Actor Eli Wallach, who played Guido in The Misfits (1961) will be honoured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on November 13 during the Governors’ Award dinner at the Grand Ballroom, Hollywood and Highland Center.

Over a career spanning half a century, Wallach has appeared in Baby Doll (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), How the West was Won (1962), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Now approaching his 95th birthday, Wallach featured in two recent releases, Roman Polanski’s The Ghost Writer (2009) and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010).

Marilyn Monroe befriended Eli in the mid-1950s, when they both attended the Actor’s Studio in New York. While filming The Misfits, Marilyn wisely predicted that Wallach would continue working to a very old age. (Ironically, The Misfits would be the last film either Monroe or her co-star, Clark Gable, would ever make, and Montgomery Clift and Thelma Ritter both passed away within a few years.)

‘She saw herself drowning in Hollywood in 1955 and told her studio, “I’m not just wiggling my behind,”‘ Wallach said of Monroe at the time. ‘Marilyn is not any one thing; she’s multi-dimensional. As an actress, she has lots of imitators- but only Marilyn survives.’

Eli Wallach’s autobiography, The Good, the Bad and Me, was published in 2006 and includes some of his personal memories of Marilyn and The Misfits.

Hollywood News

Celebrating ‘The Misfits’ in Dayton, Nevada

The Historical Society of Dayton Valley and Dayton Valley Days committee are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the filming of ‘The Misfits’ in Dayton and Stagecoach on Sept. 18 and 19 on Dayton’s 160-year-old streets. Here’s a chance to connect with this community’s roots.

To make this event special, we are asking locals who remember the shooting of “The Misfits” to share their favorite local story, photographs or unique memorabilia on Saturday, Sept. 18, at a “Reminiscing The Misfits” rap session at the Dayton Valley Community Center at 170 Pike St., Old Town Dayton beginning at 2 p.m.

To add to the fun, the historical society is sponsoring a Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable “look alike” contest with a $50 cash prize going to each winner. Contestants are being asked to participate in the parade that begins at 10 a.m. Judges will finalize their decisions after the parade about 11:30 at the community center.

On Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. and at 6:30 p.m., the Misfits Theater Group is presenting a melodramatic skit telling a tale about your favorite stars in “The Misfits'” movie. The live act is being held at the famous Odeon Hall’s ballroom where many of the movie’s action scenes occurred.

For more information, call Ada Hill at 775-246-7550, Vicki Kinney at 775-246-9396 or Laura Tennant, 775-246-3256 or visit www.daytonnvhistory.org or www.daytonvalleydays.org.

Reno Gazette Journal

Marilyn Monroe’s ‘White Mask’

This fascinating article by Thomas Larson, about Marilyn’s quintessential role as Sugar Kane in Some Like it Hot, was first published in the San Diego Reader in 2003. Here’s a short extract:

‘Graham McCann writes in his 1988 Marilyn Monroe, “The film is so significant for Monroe watchers, for it is the quintessential fiction on Monroe.” The movie invites the audience who has followed her “personal highs and lows for several years” “to tease out the biographical references in Monroe’s character.” This, McCann says, is what gets her fans into the theater.  For the film-makers of the 1950s, the question was always—how can the thrice-married Monroe be reflected to an audience who desperately wants her to find the right man? Answer: have art imitate life. Thus, a shy, bespectacled, unmanly Junior (Arthur Miller) meets a generous, ditzy, confessional Sugar Kane (Marilyn), and their unlikely, mixed-up, marriage-minded romance is the story. One the public knows already.

But there’s a price to pay for this too-complete identification. Since no actor can maintain her screen persona—despite the desires of audience and studio—the star like an animal ensnared in a steel trap begins to chew her foot off in order to get free. This is, essentially, the tragedy depicted in Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard. In fact, Monroe’s troubles during Some Like It Hot trace a similar emotional arc to those of Norma Desmond (played to pugnacious perfection by Gloria Swanson) in Wilder’s great 1950 movie. There, the deluded silent-film star tries to parlay her old glory in a thankless Hollywood and fails utterly. Playing the 24-year-old Sugar Kane, the 32-year-old Marilyn becomes as self-destructive in her life as Swanson’s Norma was in her role.’

Celebrating Jack Cole

'My Heart Belongs to Daddy', from 'Let's Make Love' (1960)

“The Jazz/Musical Theatre Dance Program of the School at Jacob’s Pillow (Becket, MA) is presenting works that Chet Walker has created in the Jack Cole tradition in two final performances: a free presentation on the Inside/Out Stage on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 6:15 and a sold-out benefit concert in the Ted Shawn Theatre on Sunday, Aug. 22, at 8pm.”

Jack Cole was Marilyn’s choreographer and trusted friend, working with her on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and throughout her dazzling career.

Among their most memorable collaborations are Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend and My Heart Belongs to Daddy.

Debra Levine profiles Cole in today’s Huffington Post

Read her Los Angeles Times article from 2009, examining Cole’s fruitful partnership with Marilyn.

‘Some Like It Hot’ in Ithaca

“This is Monroe in one of her steamiest performances alongside two of the most talented actors of their generation. Ranked the funniest American movie of all time by the American Film Institute, and it’s true!”

Sunday, August 22 at 7pm and Tuesday, August 24 at  9:30pm at the newly reopened Cornell Cinema

Jolie, Clooney Tipped for ‘Maf the Dog’

Photo by Douglas Kirkland

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.