Years after his wife, Ellen, was lost at sea, Nick has her declared legally dead and remarries. That same day, Ellen is rescued from a desert island and returns home. This unfinished remake of "My Favorite Wife" was the last film Marilyn Monroe worked on before her death in 1962. Most of the footage was unseen, until it was restored into a 37-minute short which aired on television on June 1, 2001.Written by
The only way to fairly judge the 37-minute "re-creation of "SGTG" in "The Final Days" is to have seen the previous 1990 documentary on the making of this film, which contained alternate takes, AND to have seen (as I have) the bootlegged hours and hours of Marilyn on set, doing it over and over. Not because she couldn't remember her lines, but because Cukor demanded it. And what you'll find is a very patient and usually cheerful actress obeying her director. Each time he asks for a new take, she does it just a little different. Higher, lower, softer, stronger. When she flubs, she doesn't fall apart. She seems miffed with herself, but no great drama is revealed.
THis patched together thing in "The Final Days" is to me, the final indignity. Almost without fail, her weakest takes are used. Remember, again: Even when MM was letter perfect, Cukor DEMANDED another take.
I think most of the IMDb reviewers probably know the backstory to this debacle--the script she approved, which was then changed, an antagonistic director(right before she was fired he went to Hedda Hopper, demanded anonymity and scourged her. Declared her insane and her career over. Nice guy! All we can really say about what remains of "SGTG" is that she was very lovely, strikingly beautiful. It is clear, however that as the film progressed she grew thinner and indeed looked a bit ill. She is radiant in the costume tests, and at a perfect weight. Later, in the beige suit, she is obviously padded (she had a normal-sized bosom, except when she was plump--which was most of the time.) The script appears to be a drag, but Marilyn was at least playing an adult woman, with children, in sleek clothes and using a far more natural voice. Had she lived to complete the film, it might have found success, based on the nude swim--a carefully choreographed stunt, she was never naked in the water at all, and her more mature appearance and attitude. But Cukor was a lousy director at this point, and HE was the problem on "Let's Make Love" as well--those endless scenes! He'd lost his touch.
I'm glad so much attention has been paid to this last gallant effort on Marilyn's part. But you'll only recognize how hard she tried, if they release every second of her on set.
Maybe fate was kind, and middle-age would have been an unbearable horror for her. But in what remains of "Something's Got To Give" you can see the elegant performer she might have become, if she'd had more faith in herself.
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