The girl upstairs almost kills me with a cast iron bucket. So I ask her down for a drink. What’s wrong with that?
“A grand and goofy comedy” – The New York News
It’s a long, hot New York City summer in 1952 and advertising man Richard Sherman has sent his wife and son to enjoy the cooler climate of the beach while he stays home to work. When the upstairs neighbor, a stunning model for “US Camera” almost kills Richard with a tomato plant dropped from above, Richard begins to invest in his fantasy life, until the line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred. A hilarious take on the shifting morals of 1950’s America.
George Axelrod’s comic play, The Seven Year Itch, which became a hugely successful film starring Marilyn Monroe in 1955, is being revived at the New Village Arts Theater in Carlsbad, California (near San Diego), from today, July 29th, through August 22nd.
“You can tell that George Axelrod had a great respect for women,” says Kristianne Kurner, executive artistic director at the theater. “The Girl (played by Jacque Wilke) doesn’t have a name, but she’s really strong. And I think the humor, instead of coming out of a derogatory thing about women, comes from the husband’s guilt. That guilt is really funny.”
Marilyn’s screen time in the final Marx Brothers movie, made in 1949, adds up to less than a minute – but she certainly made the most of it!
Funding was withdrawn before shooting ended, hence a very long rooftop chase scene where the actors pass countless neon advertising signs.
Despite only having a walk-on role, Marilyn was chosen to promote the filmand flew to New York City – probably for the first time – in July.
It’s rather an odd film but well worth seeing if you’re a diehard Marx or Monroe fan. Available on DVD, and showing this Sunday, August 1, at 6pm, and again on Tuesday, August 3rd, at 6pm, at the Bio Orion in Helsinki.
Paul Giamatti will star in a new HBO movie, to be produced by Tom Hanks, about Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev’s trip to the US in 1959. Based on a 2009 book by Peter Carlson, K Blows Topis named after a New York Daily News headline, penned after the premier’s desired visit to Disneyland was unceremoniously cancelled.
Khrushchev may not have met Mickey Mouse, but he did go to Hollywood and was introduced to Marilyn Monroe at a star-studded luncheon at Twentieth Century Fox. Which has to be an improvement, don’t you think?
‘The lunch over, Skouras led his new friend toward the soundstage where Can-Can was being filmed, stopping to greet various celebrities along the way. When Skouras spotted Marilyn Monroe in the crowd, he hastened to introduce her to the premier, who’d seen a huge close-up of her face—a clip from Some Like It Hot—in a film about American life at an American exhibition in Moscow. Now, Khrushchev shook her hand and looked her over.
“You’re a very lovely young lady,” he said, smiling.
Later, she would reveal what it was like to be eyeballed by the dictator: “He looked at me the way a man looks on a woman.” At the time, she reacted to his stare by casually informing him that she was married.
“My husband, Arthur Miller, sends you his greeting,” she replied. “There should be more of this kind of thing. It would help both our countries understand each other.” ‘
Cardiff went on to direct his own movies. Had he directed Marilyn instead of Olivier (with whom she famously clashed), filming of Showgirl might have been a very different experience. Nonetheless, Marilyn did some of her finest acting in this gentle period comedy, and she never looked lovelier.
My tribute to Jack Cardiff, who died in 2009 – over here
A more spiritual perspective on Marilyn’s last home, currently up for sale, from Dana Claudat.
I must admit to having mixed feelings about this property. While it is a beautiful house, where Marilyn once lived, it is also the place where her life ended. Whoever finally buys it will have to accept that it will always carry these associations with MM, and it inspires a sometimes morbid curiosity in people.
The house is located in a tiny cul-de-sac in Brentwood, a quiet, upmarket residential suburb of Los Angeles. Some of its more recent occupants and neighbours have not been happy about the constant visits by sightseers, and I can understand that.
However, public interest shows no sign of waning. Ideally I would like to see this house restored to its 1962 form as a national heritage site, in the way that John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool, UK is now maintained.
But while Monroe is fast becoming one of America’s greatest icons, historians have been slow to recognise this. The endless auctions of recent years, where Marilyn’s personal property has been dispersed among private collectors, are a similar example of opportunities squandered.
And with no surviving relatives to protect Marilyn’s legacy, I can’t see a sea-change occurring anytime soon. In death, as in life, Monroe seems to be alone and unprotected.
Cafe Etc is on Jetty Road, Brighton, a suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. Owned by Carol Walker, the cafe is decorated with MM posters and memorabilia. If you’re in the area, please do pay the cafe a visit and leave a comment here.
‘Lastborns are usually rebellious, risk takers, confident, caring, creative, charming, affectionate and “the life of the party”. Lastborns can also be immature, self-centered, spoiled, manipulative and irresponsible. Youngests seem to be more observant and have more diverse interests than their older siblings. They also take more risks, travel more, and are more liberal. Youngest brothers are the most fearless of men. Youngest females are the most feminine and flirtatious of women. Younger sisters of brothers are magnets to men. Examples of younger sisters of brothers include Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, and Elizabeth Taylor. They often find that they have more men attracted to them than other girls. The best match for a youngest male is a firstborn female and the best match for a youngest female is an oldest male of sisters. Two lastborns in a relationship can be fun but firstborn children bring stability to a relationship.’
This is an interesting take on how Marilyn’s character was formed, though given her unstable childhood, it is hard to place her as a ‘lastborn’ at any period. Norma Jeane had an older half-brother and sister from her mother’s first marriage, but she never met her step-brother, who tragically died at just 13. At the same age, Norma would learn that she had a ‘sister’, and first met Berniece Baker Miracle, then married with a young daughter, six years later. Marilyn remained in contact with Berniece throughout her life.
The young Norma Jeane was also close to another foster child, Lester Bolender, and later Eleanor ‘Bebe’ Goddard. But Marilyn always considered herself a ‘waif’, passed between relatives, friends and an orphanage, and in some ways was more like an only child. One of her closest friends at the end of her life was masseur Ralph Roberts, whom she nicknamed ‘Brother’.
The photo is part of a series taken by Ed Cronenwerth as early as 1948, while Marilyn was under contract to Columbia (where she won her first starring role in a minor musical, Ladies of the Chorus.)
While there is little evidence to suggest that Marilyn practised yoga regularly, she was certainly one of the first Hollywood stars to champion the traditional eastern discipline. Monroe is also said to have pursued further instruction in the final year of her life.