Marilyn Goes From ‘Eve’ to ‘Niagara’ in Arizona

Marilyn’s steamy 1953 thriller, Niagara, will be screened on October 3 at the NAU College of Arts and Letters in Flagstaff, Northern Arizona, as part of a two-season retrospective, 20th Century Fox: The Stars. Prior to this, you can enjoy Marilyn’s supporting role in All About Eve on September 26. (Let’s hope Bus Stop gets an airing in the next season, as it was partly filmed in the state capital of Phoenix, Arizona.)

‘Marilyn, Magnum and The Misfits’

Arnold127 ‘Marilyn, Magnum and The Misfits‘ is a new exhibition opening at the Etherton Gallery in Tucson, Arizona this Saturday, November 23, through to January 11, 2014.

Its remit goes beyond The Misfits however, celebrating Magnum photos from other eras as well as other notable photographers including Alfred Eisenstadt and Nahum Baron.

Some of the photos above – by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Inge Morath and Eve Arnold – were rare for me. You can view them all here.

“Etherton Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition, Marilyn, Magnum and The Misfits, featuring a selection of photographs of Marilyn Monroe from a private Los Angeles collection. Most of the photographs on display are from the set of Marilyn’s last film, The Misfits, taken by notable Magnum photographers including Eve Arnold, Bruce Davidson, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Dennis Stock, and Inge Morath. A selection of early contact sheets by Hollywood photographer Earl Leaf and fashion and celebrity photographer, Phillipe Halsman, will also be on view from November 23, 2013 – January 11, 2014.

Magnum Photos, founded in 1947 by several well-known photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa, was the first artist-owned photo agency, allowing its numerous members to take control of their careers while giving them the freedom to search out events and people and ultimately inform a world hungry for information.

“You’re a real beautiful woman. It’s almost kind of an honor sittin’ next to ya’.”

With those words from the 1961 film, The Misfits, star Clark Gable wryly said what photographers world-wide knew about Marilyn Monroe: she was just special and no more so than when in front of a camera. And she knew it.

Incomparable director John Huston had a royal flush of a cast starring Monroe and Gable, along with Eli Wallach and Montgomery Clift, and he made sure that only the best photographers were on set for the press photos, and those photographers were from Magnum.

Lining up to film the stars while on and off the set –it would tragically be the last film for Monroe and Gable —were Magnum photographers including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eve Arnold, Inge Morath, Philippe Halsman, Bruce Davidson, and Dennis Stock.

Along with The Misfits images, is a select group of contact sheets by photographer Earl Leaf, known for his work with magazines from Time to Movie Spotlight.  This intriguing group gives a sweet look at an early unknown Marilyn, swinging from a tree and doing cartwheels for the camera in 1950 and then 6 years later, at age 30, when she staged a publicity session to keep her image in front of the public during a one-year period when she was producing films and not acting.

The camera was always in love with the beautiful Monroe, and this rare exhibit of vintage contact sheets and press photos represents a historic look at one of the world’s most well-known film stars.  Resplendent in her natural beauty, the portraits and vintage contact sheets reveal the drive, desire, sadness, and pure spirit of one of Hollywood’s most photographed and relished stars

All photographs copyright the artists, courtesy Magnum Photo Agency and Etherton Gallery.”

 

 

 

 

 

Donald Zec Remembers Marilyn

Veteran entertainment writer Donald Zec recalls his friendship with Marilyn in today’s Mirror.

“We discussed fame, and I quoted my dictionary’s definition of a star – ‘a heavenly body radiating flashes of light.’

‘Yeah, I’ll settle for that,’ she beamed…

We flew together in 1956 to Phoenix, Arizona, where she filmed Bus Stop.

When a tray of food was put before her she rejected it saying ‘I have to watch my figure.’

My response: “You eat, Marilyn, I’ll watch your figure”, induced a playful slap on my arm.

She was then close to becoming Mrs Arthur Miller. The days of the jazzy one-liners were over. She was now cooking him chicken soup and reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Suddenly alarm bells rang and we saw black smoke billowing out of one of the prop engines.

Reassurance from the cockpit didn’t extend to the passengers quaking in seats 1 and 1A.

We discussed the unthinkable. I soothed her with the thought that if we crashed her name would be on every news bulletin and front page in the western world…

As she explained to me in one of her many calls from New York: ‘I admit I made lots of demands – the choice of co-star, the script, the costumes.’

‘But I wasn’t prepared to see myself being sold down the river.’

That phone call took place at 3.30am…

I remember this rare moment of [the Millers] in their apartment on 57th Street New York.

Everything in the large sitting room was white; the carpets, the walls, and the coffee table on which a silver-framed testimonial was inscribed, accurately, ‘to Marilyn, the Wonder of the Age.’

Beside it was a marble torso of the goddess Aphrodite.

A hint of Chanel wafted from the sofa where the ‘wonder of the age’ poured the tea.

A typewriter clacked in another room. The master was at work.

Then the tapping stopped. The tall, bespectacled genius entered and sat down beside her.

There was a long silence while Miller scrutinised her, virtually feasting his eyes on the tangle of golden curls around those lovely features, the unbuttoned shirt tied loosely at the bare midriff.

They looked at each with a tenderness that a single sound would have shattered.

Miller stood up, rubbed his hands, and said: ‘Thank you’ and went back to his desk. The great man had enjoyed his fix for the day.”

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.

My grandmother is one of these people.

By happenstance in May 1958 she was passing through Phoenix with her two young kids and they checked in at the Sahara. As the sun set, it melted the colors of the sky into a glorious Phoenix sunset. The yellow, orange, and red and every color in between  blazed and singed the clouds. My grandma said she had never seen anything like it and as she sat poolside at the Sahara, breathing in the scent of orange blossoms while listening to the rustling of the palm trees and watching her kids splash around in the cool water, she promised herself she would move to Phoenix.

‘I didn’t know when, and I didn’t know how, but I knew I would,’ she told me.

She moved to Phoenix in 1961 and has been here ever since. The Sahara, and many other resorts like it (that have been razed) were instrumental in shaping Phoenix in the middle of the 20th Century.

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.”

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