Marilyn and Mae: Great Film Comics

Marilyn mimics Mae West in a deleted scene from ‘The Seven Year Itch’

“Austerlitz notes that his biographical chapters are intended to create a conversation among comedy’s most influential practitioners. Arranged in rough chronological order, the effect is cumulative. Mae West’s brazen sexuality primps the pillow for Marilyn Monroe’s bombshell self-awareness; unlikely bedfellows Jerry Lewis and Richard Pryor somehow manage to conceive Eddie Murphy.”

Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy by Saul Austerlitz, reviewed at the Boston Globe

‘Honoring the Horse’ in Nevada

Ernst Haas, 1960

“Fall 2010 is the 50th anniversary of the filming of The Misfits in Reno, Dayton and the Pyramid Lake area. The star-studded film, written by Arthur Miller and directed by John Huston, was the last movie appearance for both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, and also featured Montgomery Clift, Thelma Ritter and Eli Wallach.

However, other ‘stars’ in the movie were four-legged creatures – wild horses, rodeo horses and trained movie horses played prominent roles in the film. To pay homage to these horses, along with horses in general, which have played such an important role in Nevada’s history, the ‘Honoring the Horse’ exhibit will be featured in the University of Nevada, Reno’s Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center beginning Sept. 15.

The ‘Honoring the Horse’ exhibit will run through March 2011, and in February, the Knowledge Center will host a discussion and showing of ‘The Misfits’, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film’s release.

For more information, go to www.knowledgecenter.unr.edu/specoll, or call 775-682-5665.”

Nevada News

Phoenix Ramada Demolition

In 1956, Marilyn Monroe stayed in a penthouse suite at the Sahara Motor Inn, downtown Phoenix, Arizona, while filming Bus Stop. More recently known as a Ramada Inn, the motel is currently being razed and will be used as the site of a new law school, reports AZCentral.com.

This demolition is going ahead despite protests from local heritage organisations.

“The Sahara Motor Inn, later called the Ramada Inn, is an urban oasis that rose from the sand like a mirage in Downtown Phoenix, complete with a sparking pool, restaurant, cafe, bar, 175 guest rooms, gift shop, two large terrace suites for hosting parties and meetings, and two apartment penthouses. There are also 8 possible spaces for retail. These mini-resorts defined Phoenix in the 1950s by bringing resort-style amenities to the middle class. These mini resorts even attracted celebrities. Marilyn Monroe herself lodged in one of the penthouse suites in the Sahara while filming ‘Bus Stop’. During the late 50’s people from all over the country passed through Phoenix and many of these people spent the night in one of these mini resorts. They experienced a taste of living in the desert, fell in love with Phoenix, and then moved here.

The Sahara was built by Del Webb, the namesake for ASU’s own School of Construction which boasts of its collaboration that creates ASU’s School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment. ASU claims to be ‘the model of sustainability’ and the City promotes sustainable development, but in razing the Ramada, there is nothing that is sustainable, Earth-friendly, or revitalizing.”

Downtown Phoenix Blog

Alex North Centennial Salute

Alex North composed the haunting soundtrack to The Misfits, and other classic films including A Streetcar Named Desire, Cleopatra and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

A tribute to North, featuring a screening of The Misfits, will take place in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre (the same venue where the Oscar nominations are announced each year), on Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, on Friday, September 24th at 7.30 pm.

As with all Misfits-related events, I wish I could be there. The soundtrack is available on CD.

‘My Week With Marilyn’ Casting Update

Montage by ‘jaune’ on Tumblr

My Week With Marilyn (based on Colin Clark’s book about the making of The Prince and the Showgirl) begins shooting in ten days, reports Baz Bamigboye in the Daily Mail.

Bamigboye also states that Eddie Redmayne (who previously starred as Angel Clare alongside Gemma Arterton in the recent BBC adaptation of Hardy’s Tess) has been cast as Clark (James Jagger, son of Rolling Stone Mick, was previously considered.)

Richard Clifford will play actor Richard Wattis, and best of all, the brilliant Zoe Wanamaker (Susan Harper in My Family) as Monroe’s drama coach, Paula Strasberg.

Tales From Misfit Flats

Photo by Eve Arnold

“The Misfit Flats are among the most beautiful spots in the world to me!! I was utterly mesmerized. I remember vividly the exact first moment I stood there and the exquisite calm that came over me. I felt it was my natural spot. I couldn’t love that stretch of desert more, but then I loved Dayton and that fabulous bar with the dollars on the ceiling. I’ve loved the memories of that film again and again…”

Gail Levin, director of Making The Misfits, speaking to Laura Tennant in advance of the Dayton Historical Society‘s celebration of the movie’s 50th anniversary,  September 18-19.

Reno Gazette-Journal


Murray on Marilyn: Missing Her Marks

“When you worked with Marilyn Monroe [in ‘Bus Stop’, 1956], there was press around all the time. And everyone was so uptight. Like: ‘Is she gonna know her lines? Is she gonna show up on time?’ And she didn’t know her lines, and she didn’t come on time. But there was kinetic energy [during the shoot] from all of this.”

Don Murray, speaking with Stan Taffel at Cinecon