Marilyn graces the cover of The Golden Age of Hollywood, a new one-off special from the Saturday Evening Post. It costs $12.99 and can be ordered directly here. (Unfortunately I don’t yet know if it ships outside the US, but I’ll update you if I find out.)
Marilyn has a long history with the Post, as one of her most revealing interviews with Pete Martin, ‘The New Marilyn Monroe’, was serialised over three weeks in 1956, and later published in book form with the playful title, Will Acting Spoil Marilyn Monroe?
On Marilyn’s birthday this year, the Post paid tribute with a blog about the sex symbols who preceded her – including Lillian Russell, Theda Bara and Clara Bow, all of whom she impersonated in her extraordinary ‘Fabled Enchantresses’ shoot with Richard Avedon. But she turned down the chance to play showgirl Evelyn Nesbit in The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (the role went to Joan Collins.) And of Mae West, she told W.J. Weatherby, ‘I learned a few tricks from her – that impression of laughing at, or mocking, her own sexuality.’ Jean Harlow, perhaps Marilyn’s greatest influence, is a surprising omission.
You can read Marilyn’s Post interview here.
The American actress, Elizabeth McGovern, starred in many notable Hollywood films during the 1980s before moving to England.
In Ragtime (1981) she played Evelyn Nesbit, the showgirl implicated in the 1906 murder of her architect lover, Stanford White, by her ex-husband. Nesbit was previously played by Joan Collins in The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955), a role Marilyn turned down.
McGovern is now best known as Lady Cora in the TV drama, Downton Abbey. She is married to Simon Curtis, director of My Week With Marilyn. She shared her thoughts on the movie with NPR:
‘It’s differences of all kinds that make for lively storytelling, whether it’s upstairs-downstairs friction, clashing sitcom neighbors, or the colliding acting cultures documented in the film My Week with Marilyn, which McGovern describes as “the best movie about show business I’ve ever seen.”
She’d think that, she insists, even if director Simon Curtis weren’t her husband.
My Week with Marilyn is about what happened on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, a 1957 comedy starring the British titan Laurence Olivier and the American sensation Marilyn Monroe.
“There were two worlds that came in contact with one another, and clashed,” McGovern says, “and it’s resulted in a movie that’s poignant and funny, and says so much about the Hollywood machine and about the English acting aristocracy. And the story touches people on a lot of different levels.”‘