A documentary about the life and career of 1950s sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, narrated by director John Huston (who worked with her on "The Misfits"). Included are interviews with friends, ... See full summary »
A documentary about the life and career of 1950s sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, narrated by director John Huston (who worked with her on "The Misfits"). Included are interviews with friends, cast and crew who worked with her and others who knew her, clips from her films and some scenes that were cut from her earliest movies and not seen for many years. Written by
As a specialist in documenting cinematic Hollywood's history, David Wolper produced this item within two years after the death of Marilyn Monroe, shot in black and white stock, shown on television but once and then shelved, with its principal value to cinemaphiles that factor of contemporaneity with the star, focussing largely upon her early years and, in the main, with respect to those elements that propelled her initial success. Monroe, never much of an actress, was instead a totemic figure of her period, a Sex Symbol, and as Lee Strasberg of Actors Studio states during a substantive interview, Marilyn had always a desire to be "an actress more that a star", her intellectual deficiencies notwithstanding; however, her performances disclose that she had not advanced much in her planned direction by the time of her passing. There is a good deal of footage of her earliest films that is cut out, in addition to details of her first marriage to Los Angeles policeman Jim Dougherty, but it is instructive to watch her cavort in SCUDDA HOO! SCUDDA HAY! and even more in LADIES OF THE CHORUS, whereas there is overmuch emphasis upon stills of her activities, with an outcome being less than satisfying. John Huston, quite familiar with Monroe, narrates well, although many of his scripted lines seem unduly grandiloquent, with the film's most telling moments including his mention of third husband Arthur Miller's educating Marilyn in the meaning of "big words"; an obvious dichotomy between her clear delight with entertaining troops in Korea and at the famous John Kennedy birthday party, when compared with her "serious" acting; and the work's highlight: the unintentionally hilarious scope of emotions she attempts to display while "attorney to the stars" Jerry Geisler serves as spokesman during a press conference announcing an estrangement from her second husband, Joe Dimaggio.
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