Over at the Coronado Patch, Carrie Keyes lists ‘Ten Fun Facts’ about Marilyn’s stay at the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, while filming Some Like it Hot in 1958.
“There have been a lot of movies shot on a lot of locations, but only a few … can be considered truly legendary. Chief among those magical moments is the sight of Marilyn Monroe cavorting on the beautiful beach at the footsteps of the Hotel del Coronado.”
“BAMcinématek’s 14-film tribute to cinema’s most iconic blonde reminds us why we couldn’t take our eyes off her: She generates a charisma, often sexual but sometimes beyond sex, so uncontainable and unclassifiable that it eclipses everything else around her.”
“Monroe’s exaggerated, Betty Boop sensuality finds perhaps its most comfortable home in this comedy of sexual manners. So does her crack comic timing. (‘I don’t want you to think I’m a drinker. I can stop any time I want to,’ she says, before the briefest of pauses and the whispery kicker: ‘Only I don’t want to.’) But the biggest gift she brings to Some Like It Hot is her heart-melting vulnerability and apparent sincerity, which turned what could easily have been just another cross-dressing farce into the American Film Institute’s best movie comedy of all time and one of Out magazine’s 50 essential gay films.”
Over at AltScreen, Dan Callahan looks at MM’s screen career in depth, concluding with his own thoughts about what she might be doing now:
“I don’t see a star movie career continuing for much longer if she hadn’t died in 1962, but it is possible to imagine her leaving Hollywood, going to New York, maybe mixing in feminist circles (what a bra she could have burned!), maybe doing some theater (Marilyn in The Bald Soprano?), maybe teaching some acting classes herself. She might have looked around her and made a film like Barbara Loden’s Wanda (1970), or she might have just contented herself with having once been ‘Marilyn Monroe’ as she taught her acting students how to be open and sensitive in their work and in their lives. I can just about picture Monroe circa 1982, maybe living as Norma Jeane again, not worried about her weight, wearing glasses and a cardigan sweater, talking about acting with her Strasberg studio kids and leading a semi-reclusive but happy life in some modest East Side apartment. I’m probably just being sentimental about her. But if that’s true, I’m hardly the first to succumb to that urge, nor will I be the last.”
The photo above shows Marilyn attending a preview of The Apartment with Yves Montand in June 1960.
There has been some debate over what dress Marilyn wore that night. To me, it looks a little like the grey halter-dress that she had also worn at a press conference that year, and would wear again in Reno that summer.
However, Shirley MacLaine, star of The Apartment, told guests at the LA Film Fest Q & A last week:
“I’ll tell you a story: I came out of the first screening of The Apartment, and it was at some little screening room here in town. I left before the lights went up, and I walked out of the door and there, up against kind of a bar because they were serving food and drinks, was a woman — a blonde swathed in a white mink coat. I walked over to her just to talk, and she said [whispering], ‘You were so wonderful! Just brilliant!’ She opened up the coat and she had nothing on. Marilyn.”
I find it a little odd that Shirley has not mentioned this detail on her website:
“I remember Marilyn Monroe was at the screening. She had no makeup on and was wrapped up in a mink coat. In her low whispery voice she said… ‘The picture is a wonderful examination of the corporate world.’ My mouth flew open! She got it!”
Also, the fur coat in the photograph is dark, not white. However, Montand – Marilyn’s co-star in Let’s Make Love, with whom she had an affair – told biographer Anthony Summers that MM had once entered his hotel room wearing nothing but a fur coat. And so, whether true or false, the rumour is not unprecedented.
Shirley’s co-star in The Apartment was Marilyn’s friend, Jack Lemmon (her co-star in 1959’s Some Like it Hot.) Both movies were directed by Billy Wilder, with whom Marilyn had fallen out. However, Marilyn was seen embracing Billy at the screening of The Apartment, so it seems that they must have made up their differences.
While Marilyn has often been criticised for her ‘difficult’ behaviour on film sets, Shirley also found Wilder hard to please. ‘He was un-empathetic,’ she recalled. ‘We looked at a scene in front of everyone, and he stood up in front of everybody and said, “I tried.”‘
Marilyn considered several roles that were ultimately played by Shirley MacLaine: in Some Came Running, Wilder’s Irma La Douce and What a Way to Go! Also, both actresses were friendly with Rat Packers Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.
On June 22 at 7.30pm, Susan Bernard – daughter of Bruno Bernard and author of the forthcoming Marilyn: Intimate Exposures – will introduce a screening of Some Like it Hot.
Pat Shamroy-Shaw, daughter of Oscar-winning cinematographer Leon Shamroy – who filmed both Marilyn’s first screen test in 1946, and There’s No Business Like Show Business in 1954 – is also booked to appear at the festival for a screening of his 1956 movie, The King and I, on June 19.
Maureen knew Marilyn quite well and, according to her 2004 autobiography, ‘Tis Herself, they once planned a practical joke on Joe DiMaggio, himself an O’Hara fan:
‘A few years earlier, Marilyn had called and asked me to play a joke on her husband, Joe DiMaggio. Apparently, Joe was a fan of mine and always teased Marilyn about how attracted to me he was. She was sick and tired of hearing her husband talk about me and I don’t blame her. She asked me if I would mind being wrapped in a big box with a ribbon tied in a bow around it, to be her gift to Joe on his birthday. The huge box would be on a large table, and right before he opened it, she was going to say, “Now, Joe, after I give you this, I don’t ever want to hear about Maureen O’Hara again.” Then as he pulled the bow and ribbon off, I was supposed to pop out of the box while the crowd shouted, “Surprise!” I thought it would be great fun, sadly, they separated just before it could be done.’
My plea for more screenings of The Seven Year Itch seems to be paying off. It is showing at the Mayan Theatre, Denver, Colorado, on June 14 (my birthday!) at 7pm. And Some Like it Hot follows on June 21. (Yet another coincidence: ‘The Girl’, Marilyn’s character in Itch, also hails from Denver.)