Sugar’s Sad Love Songs

While this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival has been cancelled, titles from the program will air on the US channel, including Some Like It Hot on April 17, Intallaght reports. Meanwhile at the Boston Herald, Stephen Schaefer extols the joys of rediscovering classic films at home.

“I was struck the other night how fantastically satisfying it was to be channel surfing and suddenly catch the end moments of a movie I’m seen many times, Some Like It Hot. As I watched Marilyn Monroe unhappily sing her sad love songs (‘I’m Through with Love’) with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators as Tony Curtis drops the drag to proclaim his love, as Jack Lemmon confesses to Joe E. Brown’s Osgood why they can’t marry (‘I’m a man!’), knowing every line, every musical cue, every camera angle was suddenly akin to the Proust madeleine, a flashback to when I saw Billy Wilder’s masterpiece the very first time.  To thinking how marvelous Monroe was/is/will always remain.  Wondering what the movie must have meant to me as a kid with its cross dressing, dancing (‘Cha-cha-cha’) and romantic black-and-white recreation of that fabled Roaring Twenties era. “

Marilyn’s ‘Millionaire’ at the Chinese Theatre

How to Marry a Millionaire will be screened at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood at 2:15 pm on Friday, April 27, as part of this year’s TCM Classic Film Festival. Passholders will be seated first, but individual tickets can be purchased (for around $20) on a first-come, first-served basis just prior to the start-time. (And while you’re there, check out Marilyn’s hand and footprints, immortalised in cement outside the theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.)

“Sixty-five years ago, writer-producer Nunnally Johnson dusted off Zoe Akins’ 1930 play The Greeks Had a Word for It to create a showcase for three of the screen’s biggest stars: Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall and Marilyn Monroe. The idea of turning a simplistic plot into a talent showcase was nothing new in Hollywood. Samuel Goldwyn had first filmed the play in 1932, with Joan Blondell, Madge Evans and Ina Claire. Remakes followed in 1938 (Three Blind Mice) and 1941 (Moon Over Miami), along with dozens of imitations. In this version—shot in glorious Cinemascope—the three women are fashion models who pool their resources to rent a posh apartment they hope to use to attract marriage proposals from wealthy men. It doesn’t quite turn out that way but it certainly leads to some great comic situations, particularly for Monroe as a near-sighted model who steadfastly refuses to wear her glasses. It’s a surprising revelation as to which woman lands her prey (it’s a shock within the film too), but along the way they mix it up with William Powell, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun and Cameron Mitchell. The film was such a hit that director Jean Negulesco transplanted the story to Rome a year later for Three Coins in the Fountain. “

George Chakiris Remembers ‘Blondes’

‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’ (with George Chakiris at Marilyn’s right)

George Chakiris, who danced alongside Marilyn in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, appeared at this week’s TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles, and recalled his work with choreographer Jack Cole.

“Jack Cole and Robert Alton were the two everyone wanted to dance for. I remember during rehearsal Cole was sitting in his chair and he got up to demonstrate. It was an explosion of dance.

I’m so glad I got to work once for him in that incredible number. He made Jane Russell look so good too.

I loved that time in my life. I was part of the last generation. You would come to work, everyone’s in rehearsal clothes. For filming, you’re all in costume and make up. And there’s that lovely shiny floor…

You’ve been rehearsing to a piano. When they play the orchestra music on the set, it gives you energy you didn’t have. It gives you adrenaline.”

‘West Side Story’ (1963)

Chakiris is best known for his role as Bernardo, leader of The Sharks, in West Side Story (1963.) In the dance number, ‘America’, a peeling billboard for The Misfits, with a painting of Marilyn’s face, can be glimpsed. It was filmed in New York in 1962, where the Metropolitan Opera now stands.

He had also danced with Marilyn, and Cole, in There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954). In 2007, Chakiris spoke to Michelle Morgan, author of Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed:

“When Marilyn died, I was in Japan making a movie, and I remember being so sad because it seemed to be our loss … She was so gifted.”