Marilyn Returns to ‘The Asphalt Jungle’


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.”

Criterion Reissues ‘The Asphalt Jungle’

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.