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 They are wonderful, but they are not, as widely claimed, ‘rare’ or unpublished.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.
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.
“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.”
“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’.”
Scarlett Johansson‘s 2009 photo shoot for Dolce & Gabbana cosmetics was very obviously Marilyn-inspired. This year she is going gothic, but the leopardskin wrap reminds me ever so slightly of this Eve Arnold portrait…
“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.