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The Prince, the Showgirl and Me (2004)

Colin Clark, younger brother of Alan Clark and son of Lord Kenneth Clark wanted to work in the movies. When Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh came to dine with his parents, he mentioned his... See full summary »

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Colin Clark ...
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Paula Strasberg ...
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Richard Wattis ...
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Colin Clark, younger brother of Alan Clark and son of Lord Kenneth Clark wanted to work in the movies. When Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh came to dine with his parents, he mentioned his ambition to them and they arranged for him to work as 3rd assistant director on the forthcoming The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). Colin kept a diary throughout the production and this documentary is a dramatization of that diary with lots of behind the scenes footage of Marilyn (and Arthur Miller) in England and of the production of the film with all of its associated problems. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

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13 January 2004 (UK)  »

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An interesting, explicit and very personal look at film production
11 August 2005 | by (Lancashire, England) – See all my reviews

This is not a documentary in the sense of a serious journalistic investigation. It is a reading, along with archive footage and photos, of a young man's diary written while working on a famous motion picture: "The Prince and the Showgirl" (1957), starring Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe.

Colin Clark was a minor part of the production (3rd Assistant Director), and this is his personal (as befits a diary) record of what went on. Written in the language and style expected of a 1950s upper-class Englishman, the diary is quaint and diffident towards its subjects, but in other parts it pulls no punches.

Although clearly an admirer of Olivier, Clark doesn't whitewash his stern and often condescending attitude towards Monroe. According to Clark, Laurence Olivier agreed to do the film in order to revitalise himself by working with a new young "hot" actress -- but far from revitalising him, the demands of Monroe and her erratic behaviour wore him down.

Monroe (who part-funded the film) had just married Arthur Miller -- a man described in the diary as crude, arrogant and unpleasant, and with little respect for his new wife. Considering her difficult behaviour (lateness, problems remembering her lines) the diary is quite kind to Monroe. It paints a picture of a wounded and lost girl forever chased by a baying press and with little genuine emotional support. It also leaves the viewer/reader with an unpleasant view of Monroe's acting coach and "minder" Paula Strasberg (wife of "Method" acting guru Lee)... a women who, if we believe Clark's diary, was a truly dreadful sycophant.

At one hour long, this is an interesting, explicit and very personal look at film production and the scene surrounding it in Britain during the 1950s.


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