Marilyn: The Untold Story (TV Movie 1980) Poster

(1980 TV Movie)

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Great performance by Hicks as the tragic Marilyn
kkmill23 November 2002
Catherine Hicks was rightfully nominated for an Emmy for this TV biopic. She nails Norma Jean/Marilyn, the little girl who never grew up. It is long (2 and a half hours), and at times tough to take the lonely, depressing state of mind she lived in. The film really did cause me to see the character as Marilyn and forget I was watching CH playing her. Good script and great performances by terrific cast. Overall: way above average for a TV movie of it's kind. 8 out of 10.
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Catherine's Monroe
luv2cyu30 December 2002
I believe this is the most accurate portrayal of Marilyn Monroe thus far. I doubt very much that Catherine Hicks ever met MM, and based on what we knew of MM's life back in 1980-81 I feel she did a wonderful job. She brought sensitivity and vulnerability to this troubled woman's character. CH's face doesn't really look like MM, but I felt she was able to capture certain qualities in making her facial features appear like Monroe's, like a quivering lip, lost eyes, sadness in her expression, and a lost childish look. With the help of makeup, hairstyles and those great 50's style outfits, CH became MM. In all her emotions, angry, sad, happy, nervous...CH was amazing! Her body shape most of all looked like MM. There is one scene where she is running on the beach to "Johnny Hyde", and she was running just like MM in "Some Like it Hot". It is obvious CH did her homework, and of all the MM biography type films I have seen, this is THE one. A few more details in the script would have been perfect. I highly recommend it!! The songs they used for back ground music was especially touching in helping bring Catherine Hick's Monroe to life.
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Absolutely Fantastic
myspecialparadise29 February 2012
Catherine Hick's performance rates 10 stars! No one has ever captured Marilyn to the extent that Catherine Hicks has in this unbelievable film. I will add that Sheree North also did an excellent job as Gladys Baker ... Marilyn's manic mother. I was so happy to see that she had a worthwhile part in this movie, considering that she was, at one time, being groomed as Marilyn's replacement, and ... Sheree was one of the few actresses that truly admired Marilyn, as well as one of the very few that felt that the rest of Hollywood should have been ashamed of how they treated Marilyn ... behind her back! Unfortunately, the wrong person was chosen to play Joe DiMaggio! Frank Converse's acting was extremely forced ... specially in the dramatic scene of Marilyn being hospitalized, where Catherine Hicks has one of her best scenes! Miss Hicks may not have looked like Marilyn, but within the first 15 minutes of the movie, you totally forget that fact, as you continue to be blown away! It is as though Marilyn, herself, came down and entered the body and mind of Catherine Hicks! I have never gotten over the whole experience ... unlike any other film I have seen about this tormented Hollywood Icon that I was extremely fortunate to have met when I was 7 years old.

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Marilyn, Mailer, and Miller
wes-connors7 June 2009
Lawrence Schiller's retelling of The Life (and Death) of Marilyn Monroe is, for its time, one of the better trips down a well-traveled road. By 1980, when "The ABC Sunday Night Movie" aired this highly touted biography, there were dozens of stories about Ms. Monroe. New and re-printed books were joined by acclaimed writer Norman Mailer's 1973 "Marilyn" biography. Monroe films were, thanks to television airings, seen by more people than ever before. And, Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" became a radio standard. Marilyn Monroe was more popular than ever.

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
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Hicks is the worst Marilyn to date
Opion8d5 November 2002
*Marilyn: The Untold Story*

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.

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