Marilyn: The Untold Story (1980 TV Movie)
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Mr. Mailer's book (and others) helped create the mythology of Monroe. Every new project needed some startling new revelation - so, by 1980, truth became fiction. Wisely, "Marilyn: The Untold Story" sticks to factual situations - thankfully, there are no orgies with either Kennedys or aliens - like Mailer's book, the movie speculates Monroe's troubled life was the result poor parenting, particularly at fault is her father. So, Monroe's absent father is the villain (by the way, the cold-hearted man Monroe contacts during the running time is likely telling the truth); so, she intermittently tries to replace, or contact, "Daddy".
Catherine Hicks, in sheer slips and tight outfits, is a sufficiently sexy Marilyn. But, her characterization, like the film, is uneven. Opening scenes, with young Tracey Gould (as Norma Jean) and schizophrenic Sheree North (as Gladys Baker) are enjoyable; and, Ms. Hicks does well with hunky Kevin Geer (as James Dougherty). It's also nice to see Hicks portray, albeit too briefly, a more realistic Monroe during the "Actor's Studio" scenes (with handsome fellow-traveler James Hayden, as David); Monroe used her "sex symbol persona" when the cameras weren't running, but not constantly (when sober).
The teleplay is hit or miss until the movie covers Monroe's work on "The Misfits" (1962). Hang in for some truly amazing scenes recreating Monroe (Hicks), Clark Gable (Larry Pennell), Montgomery Clift (Bill Vint), John Huston (John Ireland), and Arthur Miller (Jason Miller) as they work out Monroe's last released feature film. You may think you're watching some lost "behind-the-scenes" color footage from the original black-and-white film. This interesting portion is, of course, punctuated by a hokey ending Gable guilt, freeze-frame, and "Goodbye, Norma Jean " with Billy Preston and Syreeta.
****** Marilyn: The Untold Story (9/28/80) Lawrence Schiller ~ Catherine Hicks, Jason Miller, Frank Converse, Richard Basehart
I've seen 3 movies about Marilyn Monroe. Well, three if you count the mini-series. They are all the same. The actresses are all miscast. Let's face it, nobody can be Marilyn but Marilyn. Certainly not Catherine Hicks. Who is Catharine Hicks? The mom on 7th Heaven... yeah. You might be thinking that maybe she USED to look like Marilyn, but she didn't. The main thing was the lips. Mira Sorvino (who was also bad) at least used her lips when she talked. She also tried her best with th accent. Catharine Hicks didn't even talk like Marilyn. It felt like she had never even seen a Marilyn Monroe movie in her life.
The movie was okay, but I could just never see Hicks as Marilyn.