TCM includes one of Marilyn’s shining moments in its new list of the Top 10 Greatest Overlooked Performances. Many felt she was denied an Oscar nomination by the Hollywood establishment because of her rebellion against Twentieth Century Fox.
Marilyn Monroe as Cherie in Bus Stop (1956)
“After studying with The Actors Studio, Marilyn Monroe was determined to draw on every painful memory from her past for her role as a small town singer – dubbed a ‘chantoosie’ by her fans – courted by an idealistic cowboy. She allowed herself to look under-nourished and performed her one musical number badly, ‘That Old Black Magic’, to capture the desperation of a woman who would never achieve her dreams. As in her other great performance, Sugar Kane Kowalcyzk in Some Like It Hot (1959), the role is a central part of the legend of Marilyn – the beautiful, sensitive loser. But the film’s success failed to bring her an Oscar nomination or much respect. Reporters were more interested in signs of star temperament, as when she insisted co-star Hope Lange’s hair be darkened so as not to match hers, than the painstaking efforts she put into one of the best roles she would ever play. Neither has the passing of time helped fans to appreciate Monroe’s performance, for many aspects of the film have not aged well. In his dogged pursuit of his ‘Cherry,’ cowboy Don Murray now seems less romantic than criminal – a grating sexual bully. And Cherie’s ultimate capitulation puts into question all of the dreams that made her so touching. Beyond the sexual politics, however, the film vividly reveals what Monroe could have done as an actress had Hollywood allowed her to re-invent herself.”
Elle Fanning, 12 year-old sister of actress Dakota, stars with Stephen Dorff in Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, set in one of her idol Marilyn Monroe’s Hollywood haunts – the Chateau Marmont Hotel. (Marilyn spent time there while filming Bus Stop in 1956.)
“I’d been there before for some interviews and photo shoots, but I hadn’t spent that much time there. Now, I feel like I know it so well. When I first got there, I was like, ‘Am I walking where Marilyn Monroe walked?'”
This month Elle tells Interviewmagazine about her lifelong admiration for MM:
“INTERVIEW: Is there anyone you’d really like to work with? Who was your favourite actor growing up?
ELLE: My favorite actress is Marilyn Monroe.
INTERVIEW: She’s gonna be tricky to work with.
ELLE: Yeah. [laughs]
INTERVIEW: Have you ever seen any of Marilyn Monroe’s films? Or do you just like her look?
ELLE: Yeah, I mean, of course-I love her look and everything. But I’ve seen The Seven Year Itch  and I loved that. I watched that all the time when I was little. I liked the dress. I was her for Halloween when I was 7. I did the makeup and the mole and I did all the poses with blowing kisses and all that …”
Rare photographs of Marilyn Monroe in a 1948 stage show, Strictly For Kicks, will be sold in a Bonham’s and Butterfield auction of entertainment memorabilia, to be held in Los Angeles next month. Marilyn wore the same floral bikini and platform sandals in her first movie, Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! (1947)
In 1948, Marilyn signed a 6-month contract with Columbia. However, she had previously worked at Twentieth Century Fox, and in March she appeared in a studio talent showcase at the Fox Studio Club Little Theater. An outside arena was built instead of using the stage on the lot, as studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck would be attending.
Marilyn appeared in two brief scenes, and the script included directions such as ‘Miss Monroe butts onto the stage…’
Marilyn appears to be wearing a costume from Ladies of the Chorus, which she filmed at Columbia in April.
In other pictures from the event Marilyn wears a light-coloured dress, which could be the same gown which she would wear in Love Happy (1949.)
Other items on offer at Bonhams’ include contractual papers for Bus Stop; a signed photo; personally-owned scripts for Let’s Make Love and Something’s Got to Give; a handwritten note by Marilyn, reminding herself to call poet Carl Sandburg; a mortgage agreement signed by Monroe and third husband Arthur Miller; a receipt for a gas payment, dated to Marilyn’s last birthday; and some airline tickets.
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.
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.”
“When you worked with Marilyn Monroe [in ‘Bus Stop’, 1956], there was press around all the time. And everyone was so uptight. Like: ‘Is she gonna know her lines? Is she gonna show up on time?’ And she didn’t know her lines, and she didn’t come on time. But there was kinetic energy [during the shoot] from all of this.
We were all theater people and we knew our lines. She couldn’t put three sentences together. She did her scenes over and over, like, up to twenty takes. You had to be at your best, because, whenever she did it right, they might use that take. It was all start, stop, start, stop. We thought the film was a disaster, but the big impression came at a preview — it was thanks to [director] Josh Logan and [writer] George Axelrod how good the film was.
Marilyn was experienced by then, she had done about 20 films. But she was missing her marks all the time. You know, there are marks — places to stand where the lighting, sound, camera angle are all correct. So the director [Logan] told me, every time [she wanders], put your hands on her hips and move her back into her marks. I was doing this the whole film!”
The veteran actor will be appearing at the American Cinematheque’s Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, at a double bill of his films, The Hoodlum Priest and Bus Stop, his 1956 screen debut alongside Marilyn Monroe.
(Thanks to ES member Nettie for bringing this book to my attention.)
“Marilyn was crazy about my brothers. She loved to play a little game with them at night. Marilyn was constantly receiving elaborate gift baskets from agents, publicists, and studio types trying to gain her favor. After a long day of shooting, she removed the grapefruits and oranges from the basket and went out onto the balcony.
She’d call down below, ‘Mark! Philip!’
Four year-old Mark raced out onto the balcony with two year-old Philip tottering close behind. They looked up at the pretty blonde lady on the tiered balcony above.
‘Wanna play a little catch?’ Marilyn asked.
‘Okay!’ Mark replied. And so began the nightly ritual of Marilyn Monroe playing ball on the terrace, using grapefruits and oranges as their only sports equipment. First, Marilyn threw a grapefruit. Mark caught it with pride. Next, an orange to Philip. Of course, at two, he couldn’t catch anything, so the fruit rolled onto the balcony below and off the edge to the pool deck, five flights down.
‘Marilyn,’ Mama would say, ‘it’s very sweet of you to do this, but really, you don’t have to.’
‘Are you kidding?’ Marilyn replied. ‘It’s my favorite part of the day! Besides, Vitamin C is very important for growing boys. They have to have their citrus!’
After a few days of this game, during her nightly phonecall to my father in Connecticut, Mama remarked, ‘Oh, sure, Marilyn’s playing catch with the boys on the terrace again. They’re having the time of their lives. And guess who’s gonna have her raggedy ass down at the pool at two in the morning picking up all those goddamn grapefruits and oranges? It ain’t Miss Monroe, that’s for sure!’ “