Marilyn Returns to ‘The Asphalt Jungle’

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David Krauss has given a rave review to the Criterion Collection’s new edition of The Asphalt Jungle (available on DVD and, for the first time, BluRay) over at High Def Digest.

“Though MGM produced many all-star pictures in the past (Grand Hotel and Dinner at Eight chief among them), The Asphalt Jungle was its first true ensemble film. Sterling Hayden and Louis Calhern receive top billing, but neither were big stars at the time, nor were Sam Jaffe, James Whitmore, Jean Hagen (who two short years later would make her biggest splash – and receive an Oscar nomination – as squeaky-voiced silent star Lina Lamont in Singin‘ in the Rain), or a gorgeous young actress by the name of Marilyn Monroe, who makes a huge impression in two brief scenes as Emmerich’s nubile mistress. (Much of the movie’s poster art showcases Monroe to make her seem like the star, but nothing could be further from the truth.) Harold Rosson, who was married to another blonde bombshell, Jean Harlow, 15 years before, beautifully photographs the 24-year-old Marilyn, bringing out both her innocence and allure, and under John Huston’s tutelage she files an affecting portrayal that belies her inexperience. The Asphalt Jungle would prove to be Monroe’s big break, and the actress herself cited the performance as one of her career highlights.”

2016: A Year In Marilyn Headlines

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In January, exhibitions featuring Milton Greene and Douglas Kirkland’s photographs of Marilyn opened in London and Amsterdam. In New York, the Museum of Modern Art paid tribute to Marilyn’s choreographer, Jack Cole. Also this month, James Turiello’s book, Marilyn: The Quest for an Oscar, was published. And Edward Parone, assistant producer of The Misfits, died.

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In February, Marilyn ‘starred’ with Willem Dafoe in a Snickers commercial for the US Superbowl. Monroe Sixer Jimmy Collins’ candid photographs were sold at Heritage Auctions, and the touring exhibition, Marilyn: Celebrating an American Icon, came to Albury, Australia.

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Another major Australian exhibition, Twentieth Century Fox Presents Marilyn Monroe, featuring the collections of Debbie ReynoldsScott Fortner, Greg Schreiner and Maite Minguez Ricart – opened at the Bendigo Art Gallery in March. And Barbara Sichtermann’s book, Marilyn Monroe: Myth and Muse, was published in Germany.

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In April, a special edition of Vanity Fair magazine – dedicated to MM – was published. A campaign to save Rockhaven, the former women’s sanitarium where Marilyn’s mother Gladys once lived – was launched. And actress Anne Jackson – wife of Eli Wallach, and friend to Marilyn – passed away.

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In May, Marilyn graced the cover of a Life magazine special about ‘hidden Hollywood’, and Sebastien Cauchon’s novel, Marilyn 1962, was published in France. Cabaret singer Marissa Mulder’s one-woman show, Marilyn in Fragments, opened in New York, while Chinese artist Chen Ke unveiled Dream-Dew, a series of paintings inspired by Marilyn’s life story. The remarkable collection of David Gainsborough Roberts was displayed in London. Finally, Alan Young – the comedian and Mister Ed star, who befriended a young Marilyn – died.

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June 1st marked what would be Marilyn’s 90th birthday. Also in June, New Yorkers were treated to an Andre de Dienes retrospective, Marilyn and the California Girls. An exhibition of the Ted Stampfer collection, Marilyn Monroe: The Woman Behind the Myth, opened in Turin, Italy. A new documentary, Artists in Love: Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe, was broadcast in the UK, while Australia honoured Marilyn with a commemorative stamp folder, and genealogists investigated Marilyn’s Scottish ancestry.

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In July, the birthday celebrations continued in Marilyn’s Los Angeles hometown with tributes from painter David Bromley, and another Greene exhibition. A new musical, Marilyn!, opened in Glendale. Rapper Frank Ocean appeared alongside a Monroe impersonator in a Calvin Klein commercial. And Marni Nixon, the Hollywood soprano who sang the opening bars of ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’, passed away.

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August 5th marked the 54th anniversary of Marilyn’s death. Also this month, it was announced that Seward Johnson’s ‘Forever Marilyn’ sculpture may return permanently to Palm Springs. April VeVea’s Marilyn Monroe: A Day in the Life was published, and Marilyn’s role in Niagara was featured in another Life magazine special, celebrating 75 years of film noir.

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In September, Marilyn: Character Not Image – an exhibition curated by Whoopi Goldberg – opened in New Jersey. Terry Johnson’s fantasy play, Insignificance, was revived in Wales. Two locks of Marilyn’s hair were sold by Julien’s Auctions for $70,000. And author Michelle Morgan published The Marilyn Journal, first in a series of books chronicling the Marilyn Lives Society; and A Girl Called Pearl, a novel for children with a Monroe connection.

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In October, Happy Birthday Marilyn – a touring showcase for the collection of Ted Stampfer – came to Amsterdam, while Marilyn: I Wanna Be Loved By You, a retrospective for some of her best photographers, opened in France. Marilyn Forever, Boze Hadleigh’s book of quotes, was published. Marilyn’s friendship with Ella Fitzgerald was depicted on the cult TV show, Drunk History. And on a sadder note, photographer George Barris, biographer John Gilmore, and William Morris agent Norman Brokaw all passed away this month.

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In November, Marilyn’s ‘Happy Birthday Mr President‘ dress was sold for a record-breaking $4.8 million during a three-day sale at Julien’s Auctions, featuring items from the David Gainsborough Roberts collection, the Lee Strasberg estate, and many others including the candid photos of Monroe Sixer Frieda Hull. Also this month, comedienne Rachel Bloom spoofed ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ in a musical sequence for her TV sitcom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. And Marilyn Monroe: Lost Photo Collection, a limited edition book featuring images by Milton Greene, Gene Lester and Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder, was published.

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Criterion Reissues ‘The Asphalt Jungle’

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The Asphalt Jungle will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray as part of the prestigious Criterion Collection in December. With many special features, Criterion editions are a cineaste’s dream, attesting to its long-held status as the definitive heist movie.  Directed by John Huston, The Asphalt Jungle gave Marilyn her first important role (although not a large one) and was her own favourite film.

  • New 2K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 2004 by film historian Drew Casper, featuring recordings of actor James Whitmore
  • New interviews with film noir historian Eddie Muller and cinematographer John Bailey
  • Archival footage of writer-director John Huston discussing the film
  • Pharos of Chaos, a 1983 documentary about actor Sterling Hayden
  • Episode of the television program City Lights from 1979 featuring John Huston
  • Audio excerpts of archival interviews with Huston
  • Excerpts from footage of the 1983 AFI Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony honoring Huston, featuring actor Sam Jaffe and the filmmaker
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Geoffrey O’Brien
  • More!

‘Bus Stop’ on Blu Ray

Bus Stop is now available on Blu Ray, and Marilyn’s performance as the hapless Cherie got a rave review from John Nolte at Big Hollywood. (Screen captures from Immortal Marilyn.)

“From her accent on down, Monroe is simply superb as Cherie. This is full performance that communicates numerous facets of a complicated character. All at once Cherie is funny, sad, desperate, sexy, attractive, attracted, worldly, innocent, and very, very real.

Monroe’s greatest achievement, though, is helping us to forgive the man chasing her. Despite Cherie’s constant protests, Monroe is still able to communicate that deep down inside Cherie wants to be caught. Had Monroe failed at this, Bus Stop would be deeply uncomfortable to sit though. Instead the story is moving, funny, and filled with unexpected plot turns.

Filmed in widescreen color and mostly on-location, more than Monroe is a feast for the eyes.”

 

‘Niagara’ on Blu-Ray

Niagara is now available on Blu-Ray, and the digitally restored version is being hailed as ‘a beautiful piece of Technicolour noir.’ Screen-caps from Immortal Marilyn’s Facebook page.

Fox is releasing Niagara on Blu-ray for its 60th Anniversary. The full-frame HD presentation, 1080p and MPEG-4 AVC encoded, shown at a standard 1.33:1 aspect ratio, is positively breathtaking. Colors are gorgeous, with an impressive level of detail. “Fans of the movie will right away notice how exceptional the disc looks when we first see Marilyn, naked in bed, inexplicably wearing the shiniest red lipstick, its hue never dulling or smudging on the pillow. The various textures in the room, and the balance of color, are fantastic. Niagara is a film that in previous home video editions has often burned too hot, which had the ironic effect of making it murky. This is not so on Blu-ray. Every spray of water, every curl of hair, and every cobblestone on the walkway is visible, with proper color timing and no dirt, scratches, or noise.” – DVD Talk

Niagara is a superbly-crafted noir tale, but the rare one filmed in color. Much of the production is filmed on-location, and the scenery mixed with Technicolor and the art design of the time — all of it in Bluray high-definition — makes for one gorgeous motion picture.

And so of course does Marilyn. The camera practically gropes her, especially during the first act. Marilyn is introduced to us in bed wearing only piercing red lipstick. Then it’s one tight dress to another with only a shower scene in-between. This was 1953, so everything is left to the imagination — but my imagination still hasn’t cooled off.” – Breitbart

 

‘Blondes’ – and More – on Blu-Ray

Fox Home Entertainment have confirmed plans to release Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, River of No Return and There’s No Business Like Show Business on Blu-Ray, due July 31, reports HighDefDiscNews.

Earlier this month, ES Updates reported that Blondes, Millionaire, plus The Seven Year Itch and Some Like it Hot will also feature in Blu-Ray on a Forever Marilyn Boxset, due on July 23.

UPDATE: Broadway World has reported on further titles included in the Forever Marilyn Blu-Ray collection, available in July. (Not sure if this is the same box-set listed on HMV and Play in the UK, but it has the same name and cover artwork.)

“The collection features some of her most – beloved films including, ‘The Misfits,’ ‘Some Like It Hot,’ ‘How To Marry a Millionaire,’ ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,’ ‘Seven Year Itch,’ ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business,’ and ‘River of No Return.’ “

‘Forever Marilyn’ on Blu-Ray

Four of Marilyn’s funniest films – Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch and Some Like it Hot – will be released in Fox Video’s Forever Marilyn boxset on July 23. UK fans can pre-order now at HMV or Play.

A special edition Blu-Ray of Some Like it Hot, released in the US last year, is also coming to our shores on July 23. All About Eve is already available worldwide, but as yet, The Misfits is on sale in the US only.