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Goodbye, Norma Jean (1976)

Aspiring actress Norma Jean Baker lives in squalor in the early '40s as she works at the munitions plant and dreams of being a movie star. Abused as a child and an adult, she lacks ... See full summary »




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Misty Rowe ...
Terence Locke ...
Ralph Johnson
Ruth Latimer
Preston Hanson ...
Hal James
Marty Zagon ...
Irving Oblach
Andre Philippe ...
Sam Dunn
Adele Claire ...
Randy Palmer
Paula Mitchell ...
Cynthia Palmer
Jean Sarah Frost ...
Lilyan McBride ...
House Mother
Burr Middleton ...
Sleasy Photographer
Stuart Lancaster ...
Ivy Bethune ...
Ruby Kirshner


Aspiring actress Norma Jean Baker lives in squalor in the early '40s as she works at the munitions plant and dreams of being a movie star. Abused as a child and an adult, she lacks self-confidence, but photographer Ralph Johnson takes some publicity shots and convinces her to try for her dream, and supports her as she's bounced from casting couches to sleazy photo shoots. She befriends once-powerful producer Hal James, who tries to steer her toward her dream of stardom, to where she will eventually be known as Marilyn Monroe. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


She was soon to become the greatest sex symbol the world has ever known. See more »


Biography | Drama


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

February 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ciao Norma Jean  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In casting the role of Marilyn Monroe, director Larry Buchanan conducted a "National Marilyn Monroe Lookalike Contest" which was won by unknown 21-year-old Alexis Pederson. After reading the script Pederson turned down the role and instead it was offered to Misty Rowe, who took it. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Rocks the Movies: The 1970s (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

A rather sad and pathetic film...I felt a bit dirty watching it...
5 September 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I watched this film because I am, at times, a film masochist. While I love classic Hollywood films, independent films and foreign cinema, I also have a soft place in my heart for the truly horrible films. I particularly love the worst schlock from the 1950s and 60s. And, considering that Larry Buchanan is one of the absolute worst directors of this era, GOODBYE, NORMA JEAN was a must-see.

The first thing I noticed is that the film maker really intended this as a "skin flick" by inserting needless nudity. Facts and getting the story straight were NOT high priorities. I especially like how they didn't even try to make Misty Rowe look that much like Marilyn. Before being discovered by Hollywood, Marilyn didn't have bleached blonde hair, as anyone vaguely acquainted with Marilyn's life would have known--but I guess wigs or hair dye were just too expensive for this film! The next thing I noticed is that this really wasn't a biography but instead was more like a series of sexually explicit episodes (a lotta rapes in particular) and beatings that were linked together by the theme of Marilyn Monroe--like it was inspired by her life only! In other words, it was pure exploitation. Instead of being titillating, however, it all came off as gross. Sure, Ms. Rowe was a sexy dish, but seeing her supposedly raped again and again is definitely NOT a turn-on for normal folks!! In fact, I sure worry about anyone who LIKES watching these terrible scenes. I really think if they had perhaps kept the nudity but not have it be in the forms of violent rapes it wouldn't offend most viewers.

Another really bad aspect of the film is the dialog. Again and again, Ms. Rowe goes off on the most ridiculous little speeches that don't sound the least bit like the way real people talk. In particular, the casting couch speech was laughable but examples of insipid drivel for dialog abound. Another great bit of dialog is the scene where Marilyn's mother appears in a dream wearing a straight-jacket and talks on and on about how hard life is! Ugghh!

Overall, there isn't really anything good about the film, though the production values are a lot better than Larry Buchanan's other films--which still isn't saying very much! Also, if you are looking for anything on the later life of Marilyn, this film isn't it as it focuses on the early career only. In 1989, Buchanan created GOODNIGHT, SWEET MARILYN that supposedly deals with Marilyn's last days. If it's as close to the facts as this film, expect to possibly see space aliens and a visit from Pope Innocent III in the movie! GOODBYE, NORMA JEAN is a rather sad and pathetic excuse for a film. The only reason it gets a 2 is that at least for Larry Buchanan it's got reasonably decent production values.

Written, directed, produced and edited by the great auteur, it is a soul-less and evil little movie.

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