Limited Runs have produced a book based on their touring exhibit, Marilyn Monroe: Lost Photo Collection, featuring 21 images by Milton Greene, Gene Lester and Allan ‘Whitey’ Snyder. Only 125 copies have been made, priced at $95. Hopefully it will be a high-quality product, but it still seems rather expensive for such a slim volume.
One of Marilyn’s best biographers and a friend of this blog, Michelle Morgan has recently published two new books via Lulu. The Marilyn Journal is the first in an anthology series, compiling newsletters of the UK Marilyn Lives Society, founded by Michelle in 1991. A Girl Called Pearl is a charming children’s novel – not about Marilyn as such, but it is set in the Los Angeles of her childhood, so it does have some interesting parallels, and would be a great Christmas gift for readers young and old (also available via Kindle.)
First published in 2013 (and reviewed here), Marilyn: Her Life in Pictures, edited by Martin Howard and Oliver Northcliffe, is now available in French.
Two academic studies make significant references to Marilyn this autumn. FromReverencetoRape, Molly Haskell’s feminist critique of Hollywood, is now in its third edition. Haskell writes well about how typecasting hindered Marilyn’s career. In Modern Acting: The Lost Chapter of American Film and Theatre, Cynthia Baron considers the influence of the Method on her performances. Adrienne L. McLean also mentions Marilyn at the peak of her glamour in Costume, Makeup and Hair, the latest in Rutgers’ Behind the Silver Screen series.
On a lighter note, Marilyn is among the bevy of bombshells featured in Richard Koper’s Fifties Blondes, and the stories behind some of herfavourite Hollywood haunts are revealed in L.A.’s Legendary Restaurants, a coffee-table tome by George Gerry.
And finally… IMet Marilyn , a new collection of interviews with friends and associates by Neil Sean, is out in paperback and via Kindle. Here’s a synopsis:
“Having been a fan of the legend that is Marilyn Monroe since an early age, it seemed whoever I interviewed had either met / worked and known something about her during my journalistic career. As the years went on I noticed this even more, to the point I was lucky enough to meet and interview some very famous people whom have not had their ‘Marilyn’ stories told before. I started with a trusty cassette player, which along the way had me meeting the likes of Sir Lawrence Oliver, Charlton Heston and even Sir Norman Wisdom. What is fascinating when reviewing the tapes – along with never broadcast interviews with Tony Curtis, Mickey Rooney and Debbie Reynolds to name just a few – is how revealing the whole conversations are. I urge everyone to take a look at the book if you’re a true Marilyn fan, as it will give you a rare insight into her final months: and as Ricci Martin (Son of Dean) who met Marilyn many times told me, ‘it’s the biggest story in the world of showbiz ever and yes I was party to it in many ways which is frightening.'”
I Wanna Be Loved, a 12-track vinyl selection of Marilyn’s finest recordings, is now available from French label Le Chant Du Monde via Amazon and other music stores. And for bargain hunters, a 55-track CD boxset has also been released, with a 30-page, fully illustrated booklet (the text is in French, of course.)
Marilyn never went to Cannes, but as the 2016 film festival gets underway, she’ll be there in spirit, WMagazine reports. Magnum photographer Bruce Davidson’s shot of Marilyn with co-star Clark Gable and director John Huston during filming of The Misfits in 1960 is featured in ‘The Art of Behind the Scenes’, an exhibition of images captured on the sets of movies old and new, on display at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes.
Marilyn 1962, a novel (in French) by Sebastien Cauchon about Marilyn’s inner circle during her final months, has just been published in paperback and via Kindle. It is also the subject of an article in the latest issue of Elle magazine (French edition.) As yet there is no English translation for Marilyn 1962, but watch this space.
“Eunice, Whitey, Cherie, Ralph, Inez, Paula, Agnes, Evelyn, May and Ralph again as well as Larry and Pat.
Behind these twelve names: colleagues, friends or close friends around whom Marilyn Monroe lived her last months in Los Angeles in 1962. Her family. In reality nearly all of her employees. Amongst them, not one whose daily professional life was not tied to their privileged relationship with the actress. For a long time simply recurring names stumbled across in the pages of biographies or spotted at the end of film credits. Bit players in Marilyn’s world whose faces could be seen on her periphery in press photographs if you took the trouble to scan the background. A small, attentive, salaried group composing her ‘entourage’ as it is commonplace to define those whose lives revolve around celebrities.
A shadow army with a subtle and shifting social order composed of allies from the outset as well as new recruits, the strong-willed and the discreet, top professionals as well as no-hopers. An entourage at the heart of which co-existed latent conflicts, open hostilities, suspicion, dedication, plots and sometimes sincere camaraderie. What did it mean to them to rub shoulders with Hollywood’s greatest star?”
Women in Dior: Sublime Elegance of a Portrait, opening at the Christian Dior Museum in Granville, Normandy on May 5 (through to September 25), features Marilyn – as photographed by Bert Stern in a black Dior dress – among other iconic women who wore Dior, reports the Malay Mail.
“The exhibition focuses on the elegant women who have showcased Dior’s dresses, garments and accessories in style, from 1947 to the present day. Their personality, style and key moments from their lives are explored through a selection of dresses, photographs, letters, paintings and drawings.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a book, also entitled Women in Dior – Sublime Elegance of a Portrait, written by fashion journalist Laurence Benaïm and published by Rizzoli. The book takes a closer look at the famous figures who marked the history of the French fashion house, exploring their tastes, their memories and — of course — their Dior ensembles.”
Vanity Fair has released a one-off tribute magazine dedicated to Marilyn on the eve of her 90th birthday, as part of their ‘Icons’ series. It is currently available from newsstands in the US only, but can also be ordered from their website.
The cover image, by Bert Stern, has been used twice before by the magazine. It also appears excessively airbrushed, and is a disappointing choice overall. However, there are many more photos inside, as well as some of the better articles about Marilyn published in recent years.
Unfortunately, the special issue also includes more dubious pieces about Marilyn and the Kennedys, citing widely disputed sources like Robert Slatzer and Jeanne Carmen; and Tony Curtis’s questionable claims about his relationship with Marilyn.
Interestingly, the current issue of Vanity Fair‘s regular edition also includes a tribute to MM, with comedienne Amy Schumer recreating her ‘Golden Dreams’ calendar pose on the cover. And in France, Marilyn’s life is chronicled in L’Humanite, among twenty famous names from the 20th century – more details here.
UPDATE: Amy Schumer has been featured in another seemingly Marilyn-inspired cover shot, for American Vogue‘s July issue. (Marilyn wore a very similar red off-the-shoulder dress while promoting Monkey Business in 1952.)
Diamond manufacturer Cartier has made an enchanting Christmas commercial, featuring a cover version of ‘Diamonds Are a Girl Best Friend’, performed by supermodel Karen Elson, from an arrangement by Jarvis Cocker. Of course, Cartier was referenced in Marilyn’s signature song from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Elson is shown being carried aloft by tuxedoed suitors, in a nod to Jack Cole’s original choreography. It was filmed in Paris, where Blondes is partially set. The neckline of her red dress is similar to Marilyn’s in Niagara, and the scene where her flared skirt billows over a subway grate recalls The Seven Year Itch. You can watch the clip here.
“All in all this retrospective showcases some 300 exclusive images and original documents (contact sheets and prints, preliminary proofs, original photo-montages and mock-ups) that shed a unique new light on the work and approach of an exceptional and atypical photographer.”