“If you could invite any five people, dead or alive, to a dinner party, who would you choose?
My grandfather (legendary actor John Barrymore), Blake Edwards (film director), Marilyn Monroe, Rachel Maddow (US radio presenter), and Jeff Spicoli (the character played by Sean Penn in ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’).”
I think nearly everyone who answers that question puts Marilyn on their list!
“In honour of Bill Clinton turning 50 in September 1996, John Kennedy Jr. had Drew pose as Marilyn Monroe on the cover of his magazine, George, with the heading, ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’, which Marilyn Monroe sang to his father at the now-infamous 19 May 1962 Birthday Salute to President John F. Kennedy.”
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.”
Marilyn Today is the magazine for members of ‘Some Like it Hot’, a postal fan club based in Germany. September’s issue includes an interview with photographer George Barris.
Thanks to Chris
Over at The Believer, Anne Helen Peterson takes a look at Confidential, the notorious ‘scandal sheet’ of the 1950s which paved the way for the likes of The National Enquirer and Perez Hilton.
“The decision to put Marilyn Monroe on the cover of an early issue helped boost sales, but the magazine’s content comprised equal parts stars and general-interest celebrities: politicians, government officials, singers, and socialites. At the same time, the fan magazines, whose singular focus had been Hollywood stars, began to cover teen idols, television personalities, and Jacqueline Kennedy. The lines between fan magazine and scandal rag were blurring, but so, too, were those that had long separated the high-, middle-, and lowbrow press. A blatantly pornographic magazine like Playboy was suddenly posturing as ‘gentleman’s journalism’—and the New Yorker was profiling Marlon Brando, a major Hollywood star.”
The rise of Confidential ran parallel to Marilyn’s own reign as the uncrowned queen of Hollywood, including the disastrous ‘Wrong Door Raid’ of 1954, and a 1957 story by journalist Robert Slatzer, who claimed to have had an affair with Marilyn five years earlier, while she was filming Niagara.
Years after Marilyn’s death, Slatzer claimed to have secretly married the actress in Mexico in 1952, and he remains one of the most controversial figures in Hollywood lore.
Leave it to Liz Smith, the first mainstream journalist to notice that the Eve Arnold prints at Castle Galleries, heralded by the media as ‘rare and unseen’, have all been published before.
“EVE ARNOLD, the great photographer, took many wonderful pictures of Marilyn Monroe over the course of six years. Eve, maternal and intelligent, was the only female photographer Monroe ever allowed. (MM was more comfortable with men, especially when doing her ‘thing’ for the still camera.) Eve has always spoken of Marilyn in the highest regard, as a photographic subject and as a sensitive human being.
Now there’s a collection of Eve’s prints up for auction. They are wonderful, but they are not, as widely claimed, ‘rare’ or unpublished. All have been seen over the years. The prints have been spiffed up from the original negatives but there’s nothing new.
Perhaps someday, the nudes Eve Arnold took of Marilyn during the famous 1960 slip/bikini session, will show up. (This was the session where Marilyn told Eve, ‘I want to look like Botticelli’s Venus rising from the sea.’ Eve, surveying the star’s zaftig curves, replied: ‘Maybe we should go for Rubens.’) The nudes – MM in bed – were stolen from Ms. Arnold’s studio decades ago and never recovered.
Now, those would be ‘new and rare.'”
The affair between Marilyn and Yves Montand, while filming Let’s Make Love in 1960, is the subject of a new book in French, Les Sentiments (‘Feelings’) by Agnes Michaux, to be published on September 1st.
Thanks to Chris at Club Passion Marilyn
“Daft headline of the week: ‘Portraits reveal a playful side to Marilyn Monroe,’ said the heading on a news story, published on Tuesday, about some previously unseen photographs. It just about could have got away with ‘show’, but the word ‘reveal’ definitely implies that nobody has hitherto suspected that Monroe had a playful side. This headline was obviously written by one of the three people in the world who have not seen Some Like It Hot.”
Guy Keleny, The Independent
Part of the ‘Magnum ke Tasveer’ exhibition
More information at The Hindu
Parisian street art inspired by Marilyn’s role in Bus Stop, photographed by Zerbi Hancock as part of a Flickr set, ‘Marilyn Monroe’
“Hundreds of hours of footage of iconic movie stars and newsreel footage from the likes of Getty Images, BBC Archives and Eagle Rock Entertainment will find their way onto TV screens next month, as backdrops for a new British music TV channel.”
Billed as the first ever music channel here for the over-fifties, Vintage TV is dedicated to music from the 1940s to 1976 — the era before music videos became ubiquitous.
Vintage has hired a specialist production company to create new music videos fashioned from archive content of the time.
Around 120 videos will be ready by the Sept. 1 launch, including rare footage of Marilyn Monroe in the video for ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow’, images of Martin Luther King in the video of Elvis Presley’s ‘If I Can Dream’ and film of The Rolling Stones revamped for a new video of ‘Not Fade Away’.”
More information at The Guardian