Hollywood Reporter’s Rave for Sugar

This week marks the 58th anniversary of Some Like It Hot‘s release. The Hollywood Reporter has reprinted their original review, first published on March 29, 1929. Here’s what they had to say about Marilyn’s memorable performance as Sugar Kane.

“The vocalist and ukelele player with this outfit is a lush (in every sense of the word), Marilyn Monroe, who has been betrayed by many saxophone players and is going to Florida in the hope of landing a millionaire. Curtis, while posing as her girl confidante, falls in love with her. Meanwhile, an uproarious dormitory party, with a hot-water bottle full of bourbon, has the rest of the band personnel jammed and giggling, into the upper berth of the squealing spurious blonde, Lemmon.

In a Florida resort (represented with fine period accuracy by the Coronado Beach Hotel) Curtis keeps switching from female guise to that of a millionaire yachtsman in order to woo Marilyn, who appears in a wardrobe designed by Orry Kelly that displays an embarrassment of riches. Whatever the part requires — and that includes talent — Marilyn has in abundance.”

Marilyn’s Hollywood Double Whammy

At the Chicago premiere of 'Some Like it Hot', March 1959
At the Chicago premiere of ‘Some Like it Hot’, March 1959

Two of Marilyn’s films are listed in the Hollywood Reporter‘s 100 Best Hollywood Movies of All Time – with All About Eve at 52, and Some Like it Hot at 47. (The top 3 are The Godfather, The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane.)

If you think that’s a rather low ranking, you’re right – after all, Some Like it Hot has been voted best comedy of all time by the AFI and many others. And the same two movies are also featured in a forthcoming book from TCM, The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter.

Nat Dallinger’s Hollywood

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An archive of 58,000 images (many unseen) by Hollywood press photographer Nat Dallinger was recently acquired by the Motion Picture Academy, the Hollywood Reporter has announced. You can view a series of photos showing Marilyn at the 1960 press conference for Let’s Make Love, alongside co-stars Yves Montand and Frankie Vaughan, here.

Fred Otash: The Marilyn Tapes

Yesterday’s Hollywood Reporter contained allegations – not new, but still sensational – regarding the notorious ‘private eye’ Fred Otash’s alleged tapes of Marilyn and John F. Kennedy.

“Now unveiled for the first time to The Hollywood Reporter by the detective’s daughter, Colleen, and her business partner Manfred Westphal (a veteran publicist with APA, whose parents were Otash’s neighbors), the records fill 11 overflowing boxes that for two decades have been hidden inside a storage unit in the San Fernando Valley.”

In his 1985 book, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, biographer Anthony Summers claimed that Otash began surveillance on her in 1961. And crime novelist James Ellroy is currently adapting his novella, Shakedown, for an HBO series about Otash’s exploits in 1950s Los Angeles.

Otash wrote a manuscript, Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys, before his death in 1992. It has never been published.

Stephen Galloway, author of the article, doesn’t mention whether he actually listened to the tapes, or read Otash’s notes on the case. Without confirmation that the recordings exist – and hard evidence that they are, indeed, of Marilyn – I remain unconvinced.

I also think that her personal life should remain private – but as we all know, sex sells.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s article:

“TAPING MARILYN MONROE

‘Marilyn wanted a mini-phone listening device,’ Otash claims in the notes, adding that he spied on her even while she was paying him to install recording equipment so that she could tape her own phone calls. ‘You could hide it in your bra. The microphone was a wristwatch. You could also put a suction cup on the phone. Later on, she wanted a sophisticated system put in her house. We wired up her phone because it started looking stupid with a suction cup.’

Otash listened in on Marilyn having sex with Kennedy when he was watching Lawford’s house in Malibu, allegedly while working for Howard Hughes, who was seeking general information with which to discredit the Democrats. ‘When the original Lawford house was wired, Monroe was not part of the plan,’ Otash says in the files. ‘It was to find out what the Democrats were up to on behalf of Howard Hughes and Nixon. Monroe became a by-product.’

The files include notes that he left for Colleen, in which he says he was conducting surveillance of Marilyn Monroe on the day she died.

‘I listened to Marilyn Monroe die,’ he claims in the notes, without elaborating, adding that he had taped an angry confrontation among Bobby Kennedy, Lawford and Monroe just hours before her death: ‘She said she was passed around like a piece of meat. It was a violent argument about their relationship and the commitment and promises he made to her. She was really screaming and they were trying to quiet her down. She’s in the bedroom and Bobby gets the pillow and he muffles her on the bed to keep the neighbors from hearing. She finally quieted down and then he was looking to get out of there.’

Otash only learned that Monroe had died when Lawford called him in the early hours of the following day and asked him to remove any incriminating evidence from her house. There is no record of what was removed, and the alleged tapes have since disappeared.

Shortly before Otash’s death in 1992 at the age of 70, he told Vanity Fair: ‘I would have kept it quiet all my life. But all of a sudden, I’m looking at FBI files and CIA files with quotes from my investigators telling them about the work they did on my behalf. It’s stupid to sit here and deny that these things are true…'”

Sam Shaw in ‘Hollywood Reporter’

In the iconic image, her white skirt swirls up like a matador’s cape as she fights — reluctantly, it seems — to wrestle it back down. The photograph of Marilyn Monroe, taken at 51st Street and Lexington Avenue in New York as promotion for The Seven Year Itch, is one of the most reproduced shots of the 20th century — and then some. Yet Sam Shaw, the protean photographer, pioneering independent movie producer and all-around bon vivant who shot that and thousands of other indelible photos of postwar Hollywood legends, is so scarcely known he doesn’t rate a Wikipedia entry.

Shaw shared an almost-telepathic bond with Monroe, in whom he recognized a fellow seeker of love, adventure and knowledge. He met her on the set of Kazan’s ¡Viva Zapata! — a struggling extra — along with Anthony Quinn, and became lifelong friends of both. Shaw photographed Monroe throughout her career and became a confidant during the upheaval of her celebrity, marriages, divorces and alienation from the studios. Shaw encouraged the actress to shed the layers of makeup she wore like so much armor, reassuring her that without it she was still one of the world’s most beautiful women. “She really looked at Sam as part of her family — he was the kind of person who was always there, like an Italian mother, with a pot of coffee brewing,” Karnath says.

“The Proposal #1,” Marilyn Monroe | Central Park, New York, 1957
While walking together through Central Park, Sam asked Marilyn what she was learning at the Actors Studio. When she responded, “Improvisation,” he asked her to show him. Marilyn grabbed Sam’s newspaper and headed to a bench to read. Later she explained the couple’s intense conversation. Next to her, the man was asking for the woman to marry him. She said she would, but on the condition that he give up his livelihood as a bookie.

A new book, ‘Sam Shaw: A Personal Point of View’ (published by Hatje Cantz) — which Shaw, who died in 1999, began 20 years ago — presents the first comprehensive retrospective of his Hollywood photographs.

From an illustrated profile of photographer Sam Shaw, published this week in Hollywood Reporter

And an endorsement from Liz Smith, no less…

OH, and here are the best photographs in the new issue of The Hollywood Reporter — several pages of vintage shots taken by the late lensman Sam Shaw. These include a shirtless, sexy Marlon Brando playing pool … the elfin Audrey Hepburn in Paris, circa 1957 … ravishing portraits of Gena Rowlands and Lee Remick … Lauren Bacall hugging Swifty Lazar’s bald pate … and Marilyn Monroe — who was Shaw’s good friend — perched on a Central Park bench, wearing a simple white summer dress, reading the New York Times. Sitting near MM is a young New York couple. They do their best to avoid looking at the goddess.

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