That Girl Marilyn: An Unlikely Feminist?

Michelle Morgan, author of several acclaimed books about Marilyn, has revealed that her next release will be the intriguingly titled The Girl: Marilyn Monroe, The Seven Year Itch, and the Birth of an Unlikely Feminist, due for publication by Running Press in May 2018.

“With an in-depth look at the two most empowering years in the life of Marilyn Monroe, The Girl details how The Seven Year Itch created an icon and sent the star on an adventure of self-discovery and transformation from a controlled wife and contract player into a businesswoman and unlikely feminist whose power is still felt today.

When Marilyn Monroe stepped over a subway grating as The Girl in The Seven Year Itch and let a gust of wind catch the skirt of her pleated white dress, an icon was born. Before that, the actress was mainly known for a nude calendar and one-dimensional, albeit memorable, characters on the screen. Though she again played a ‘dumb blonde’ in this film and was making headlines by revealing her enviable anatomy, the star was now every bit in control of her image, and ready for a personal revolution.

Emboldened by her winning fight to land the role of The Girl, the making of The Seven Year Itch and the eighteen months that followed was the period of greatest confidence, liberation, and career success that Marilyn Monroe lived in her tumultuous life. It was a time in which, among other things, she:

     – Ended her failing marriage to Joe DiMaggio and later began a relationship with Arthur Miller;

– Legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe, divorcing herself from the troubled past of Norma Jeane;

– Started her own production company;

– Studied in private lessons with Lee and Paula Strasberg of the Actors Studio and became a part of the acting revolution of the day.

The ripple Marilyn’s personal revolution had on Hollywood and in trailblazing the way for women that followed will both surprise and inspire readers to see Marilyn Monroe — and perhaps themselves — in an entirely new light.”

Bruce Conner’s ‘Marilyn Times Five’

Arline Hunter

Bruce Conner was an avant-garde artist, and his work has been celebrated in a new documentary, Bruce Conner: The Art of Montage. The film includes a short clip called ‘Marilyn Times Five’, which purportedly shows a semi-naked Monroe, fondling – wait for it – an apple, and a Coca Cola bottle.

However, it has long since been established that the woman in the clip is not Monroe, but actress and glamour model Arline Hunter.

James Haspiel, who got to know Monroe as a teenage fan, is now considered an expert on the actress. In his 1991 book, Marilyn: The Ultimate Look at the Legend, Haspiel noted that Hunter had recreated Marilyn’s famous nude calendar pose for Playboy in 1954. Hunter had appeared in several ‘stag films’, which were falsely marketed as featuring a young Monroe.

Marilyn in court, 1952

Marilyn had appeared in court in 1952 to testify that pornographic photos sold by mail order were not of her. These pictures, too, were of Hunter.

Haspiel noted that one of Hunter’s blue movies, The Apple-Knockers and the Coke, was screened in a New York cinema in 1970, with Marilyn Monroe incorrectly billed as its star.

‘Ultimately,’ Haspiel commented, ‘Hunter’s Monroe masquerade in that nudie short resulted in a box-office bonanza for those theatres daring enough to utilise the Monroe name and image in their advertisments.’