There could hardly be a more perfect setting for a Marilyn Monroe movie season than the Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. The screenings accompany the Marilyn: Life as a Legendexhibit, which runs from October 23 through to January 2.
Nice to see two of Monroe’s lesser-known films on schedule: Don’t Bother to Knock (a 1952 thriller containing one of Monroe’s most impressive dramatic performances) and River of No Return, a visually arresting Cinemascope western from 1954, with some great musical numbers from Marilyn (though a bit light on realism!)
TheWall Street Journal reports this week that economic downturns lead to increases in divorce and infidelity. But as Paul Krugman points out in the New York Times, this is not a new phenomenon – as Lorelei Lee warned us nearly sixty years ago…
“He’s your guy
When stocks are high,
But beware when they start to descend.
“Playing up the usual style gap between Monroe’s acting and everyone else’s, and playing down her often-cited vulnerability, Hawks oversees a remarkable comic performance, with terrific line readings like beat poetry (‘Sometimes Mr. Esmond finds it very difficult to say no to me’) and bits of business that hint at a bizarre inner life (confronted for the first time with a diamond tiara, Lorelei can barely restrain her hands from pouncing inappropriately; after the tiara’s departure, she happily improvises a scenario of future possession, using a napkin ring encircled by a necklace as a stand-in).”
“Just months after Gentlemen Prefer Blondes opened, Monroe graced the first cover of Playboy, connecting one boom-time America to another, the Ziegfeld Girl to the Bunny.
In Hawks’s Gentlemen, the flat-chested flappers illustrating Loos’s book are swept aside by not-so-little Monroe and Russell, striding out with ‘Just two little girls from Little Rock,’ their opening bump-and-wiggle …
Russell is supposedly romanced by oval-faced zero-charisma snoop Elliott Reid, but there’s more warmth in her fondly bemused looks at Monroe, whose friendship is a front-row ticket to the best show in town. The girls, untouched by competition, present a united front, even transferring identities—Russell does a dye-job masquerade as Lorelei—until they practically exchange vows with each other in the most ironic wedding in Hollywood history.”
“One of the most famous lines from the book and film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is: ‘Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?’
In the film, Marilyn Monroe utters those words as the character Lorelei Lee but the lines were written first in the novel by American author Anita Loos.
And Lorelei Lee is one of the most memorable female fictional characters for Australian crime novelist Shane Maloney.”
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes screens at sunset (8.30 – 9pm) on July 16 at the southeast corner of Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson Park in Seattle.
Concessions will be sold, and a limited number of lawn chairs available for rent. Admission is free, but donations to Three Dollar Bill Cinema are happily accepted. Proceeds benefit efforts to promote LGBT film and visibility.
Entertainer Barry Humphries (alias Dame Edna Everage) made this rather catty remark in The Spectator diary, July 3:
“When Arthur Miller shook my hand I could only think that this was the hand that had once cupped the breasts of Marilyn Monroe. I visited Jersey yesterday to see a small Marilyn Monroe exhibition in the Jersey Museum. It was part of a private collection assembled by a colourful local ratbag. The depredations of time had de-eroticised these famous garments, though some of the songs lisped by Marilyn were playing in the background. Alas, few of her fans know that they were mostly mimed by the actress and actually sung by Marni Nixon and Gloria Woods.”
“I don’t know about Gloria Woods but that isn’t right about Marni Nixon, who inserted the high notes Monroe couldn’t reach in ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes– sounds to me as though the whole introduction and maybe a few notes at the end are Nixon not Monroe, whose voice is appealing but very different. But the main part of the song is definitely Monroe.”