‘Marilyn in Canada’ Exhibit

Marilyn visited Canada at least three times: as 18 year-old Norma Jeane Dougherty, in 1944; and while filming two of her movies, Niagara (1952) and River of No Return (made in 1953, released ’54.)

In February 2011, the touring Marilyn Monroe: Life as a Legend exhibit arrives in Ontario. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection are also curating ‘Marilyn in Canada’, featuring photos by John Vachon and George S. Zimbel (taken in New York City during filming of The Seven Year Itch), as well as contemporary Canadian art inspired by Marilyn.

During the long ‘Family Weekend’ of February 19-21, the exhibition opens with guided tours, films and music along with special programming every day based on these shows.

I hope that photographer Jock Carroll, whose book, Falling for Marilyn, chronicled her time in Niagara, will also be featured.

MM Film Season at Warhol Museum

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 Legend exhibit, 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!)

November 12, 2010

Don’t Bother to Knock(1952) 76 min. Directed by Roy Ward Baker

Niagara (1953) 92 min. Directed by Henry Hathaway

November 19, 2010

River of No Return(1954) 91 min. Directed by Otto Preminger

December 3, 2010

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes(1953) 91 min. Directed by Howard Hawks

How to Marry a Millionaire(1953) 95 min. Directed by Dir. Jean Negulesco

December 10, 2010

Some Like It Hot(1959) 120 min. Directed by Billy Wilder
Pittsburgh author and journalist Barry Paris will introduce the film.

December 17, 2010

The Misfits(1961) 124 min. Directed by John Huston

Summer at the Movies with Marilyn

On the WowOwow (Women on the Web) site today, ‘Mr Wow’ enjoys some classic movies – starting with Marilyn Monroe’s ‘Heat Wave’ from There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954), as what song could be more apt in the heat of July?

Two other Monroe movies are also mentioned: Don’t Bother to Knock (1952), not really a ‘summer movie’ but a great film noir with one of Marilyn’s most affecting performances as the disturbed babysitter, Nell Forbes.

An interesting observation is made on the scene in Niagara (1953), where Marilyn, as the trampy Rose Loomis, requests her favourite song, ‘Kiss’. (Monroe had recorded her own version, which was deemed too sensuous for the movie but can found on most MM compilation albums today.)

“She wears a tight, blazing red dress, and when she walks toward the camera, pelvis thrust out, a bit of a womanly belly obvious, it is her most erotic screen moment. (Later, she would look sexy – all butt and bust – but not be sexy.)”

However, surely the ideal Monroe vehicle to watch right now is The Seven Year Itch (1955), as the comic storyline hinges on the unbearable heat of Manhattan in July, and a middle-aged man’s existential crisis when his wife and son leave the city and he attempts to seduce his gorgeous neighbour (Marilyn, of course), via the wonder of air conditioning.

Marilyn’s Dark Side in ‘Niagara’

Marilyn’s star turn as the murderous Rose Loomis in Niagara (1953) makes the list of 100 Essential Female Film Performances on the PopMatters website.

“I first learned about this performance from none other than musician Tori Amos. We were talking about female acting performances that inform and inspire her work during an interview and this was one that she insisted I watch, despite my not ever really warming to Monroe as an actress: ‘I just loved that. I hadn’t been into her, but one of my friends made me watch Niagara and I watched that and I just thought that there are a lot of young women that try and be dangerous Aphrodites, but she, in this role, was really dangerous. And she was seductive. To see how a woman can use her seduction and act as if she doesn’t have a brain in her head, but really is plotting the whole thing and is destroying people’s lives.’ With that recommendation, I had to go out and at least try and see the performance through a new lens, with a different eye. You know what? Tori was right. This is much more than just an icon posturing for her disciples, this was a woman who fought for dramatically substantial parts like Rose and showing people she was more than just an image. With all of the surreally bright rainbow symbolism juxtaposed with the grittiness of Monroe’s diabolical murderess, Niagara is more than just an idol earning a paycheck, and her performance is a force of nature not unlike the film’s foreboding, omnipresent falls of the title. When Tori tells you to watch something, watch it!”

Marilyn in Costume

In today’s LA Times, fashion pundit Freddie Lieba salutes 22 seminal film frocks that bewitched the world. Three of the selections are from Marilyn Monroe’s movies, including this Dorothy Jeakins dress from Niagara (1953).

“Marilyn Monroe plays a femme fatale in this film, and the pink taffeta dress was simply perfect for a seductress—there was both a bow and a cutout near her bosoms. They also famously cut off a little of her high heels to make her hips wobble more and pitch her walk a bit differently and make her somehow look sexier. It was a very risqué look at the time. Niagara was banned by churches when it was first released.”

Can you guess what Freddie’s other choices were?

Find out