An all-weather, outdoor screening of Some Like It Hot heads up this year’s Rural Life Vintage Revival on Friday, August 31 at the Rural Life Centre in Tilford, near Farnham, Surrey. Tickets cost £10 with an opening time of 7:30 pm, and the film starting at 8:30.
Writing for London’s Time Out magazine, Wally Hammond investigates the true story behind Marilyn’s visit to England in 1956.
“Marilyn’s transcendent, radiant quality is inimitable. And it would be fair to say that Williams’s performance in ‘My Week with Marilyn’ copies but does not capture it. This is despite the efforts of director Simon Curtis and his lighting, hair and make-up team to stress 31-year-old Williams’s physical similarity to Monroe. What Williams does do well, however, is suggest some of the complexities in her personality.
‘Marilyn was a very curious little person,’ Olivier told Michael Parkinson in 1969, ‘a divided personality… She wouldn’t know how humiliating she could be.’
Olivier didn’t know how humiliating he could be either. Nor did his wife Vivien Leigh, whose presence on set crushed the insecure Monroe. Reports testify to the umbrage Monroe took to the ‘coldness’ of the Pinewood film crew. You could even read Rattigan’s script of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ as an essay on patronage, in its secondary, condescending, sense.”
An additional article – first published by BBC News in April 2010, includes local people’s memories of Marilyn’s stay at Parkside House in Surrey.
The widow of Marilyn’s chauffeur is interviewed, and her comments cast some doubt on Clark’s version of events in My Week With Marilyn. An attempt to trace Mabel Whittington – named as Marilyn’s English housekeeper in Randy J. Taraborrelli’s 2009 biography, also leads nowhere.
However, Nigel Hammett remembers meeting Marilyn at Parkside House, while Patrick O’Shea recalls that the tennis shoes which Marilyn wore while cycling were purchased at his parents’ shop.
Mike Pope worked as a gardener for the Oliviers at their Notley Abbey home in Buckinghamshire when Marilyn Monroe came to England to film The Prince and the Showgirl in 1956. Marilyn and her husband, Arthur Miller, stayed at nearby Parkside House, Englefield Green, Surrey.
Pope recalls that Vivien Leigh loved tending roses, but his memories of the Millers are succinct:
“He was around for what he hoped would be the most amazing visitor of all – Marilyn Monroe, who was coming to discuss her role with Olivier in The Prince and the Showgirl.
‘We’d been brushing our hair for weeks in anticipation,’ he smiles. But then landed a major blow.
‘We were told by the head gardener that no one was to come up to the house while Marilyn and her husband, Arthur Miller, were staying.
We asked who was going to milk the cattle and remove the cowpats – the Oliviers liked it all tidied up – but they were adamant. In the end the security guards had to milk the cows by hand for two days!'”