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8/10
Ass-a-tates...Classic film making..Love it!
18 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Considered by some to be a minor or a slight comedy, I simply love this "20th Century Fox" film. I saw it when I was very young on TV and it sparked an interest in Marilyn Monroe for me that has continued to this day. The film is fast paced and very cleverly written. The film allows all the distinguished cast involved to just really cut loose at all costs. The effect is completely hilarious. Carey Grant and the wonderful Ginger Rogers offer true comic genius. Scenes where they mentally regress to teen and child like behavior after accidentally consuming a drug mixed by a chimp in a research lab are a delight to behold.

I especially liked the sequence when we first see Marilyn Monroe as Mr Oxley's secretary Miss Laurel. She is in the middle of showing Cary Grant her leg and the snag free asatate nylons he lab created. Mr. Oxley summons Carey Grant to his office. He then tells Mr Oxley he will be in his office in a minute. He is checking out Miss Laurel's Ass-a tates. (hmmm... Classic..!)

The film continues to delight us in all scenes involving Marilyn. She is magnetic and mesmerizing even in this small supporting role. She even giggles beautifully and she does that in a very well done speeding car sequence. Her youthful exuberance would not be denied. Its hard to believe she would pass away just 10 years after this film was released. Its to bad her role and character weren't expanded upon a bit. Marilyns fan base and fame were rising at an alarming rate in 1951 and the studio didn't quite know what to do with her. Studio head Daryl Zanuck declared, "Put that girl in every film on our lot that requires a blonde" At this period in her career FOX was using her for little more than window dressing. Marilyn was in several light comedies between 1951 and 1954. I would recommend this film to anybody who appreciates Marilyn Monroe or good old fashioned Hollywood madcap humor.
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Iconic !
20 November 2010
Everything about this film is iconic. Technicolor, Marilyn Monroe, costuming, soundtrack, screenplay.. All of it! Have you ever seen dresses so tight on any other actress? When the film premiered critics found it to be somewhat vulgar and shameful.! It was a huge hit regardless.

The expensive musical numbers and costumes are magnificently produced and staged. Every angle of filming complements its cast to the fullest. I have to say Miss Russell matches Miss Monroe bit for bit in the allure dept. Her Dorothy is every bit as sexy and funny as Monroe's Lorelei. As stated in past biographies, it is obvious they got along very well during its rigorous filming. The same cant be said for its director Howard Hawks. In his words he wanted to replace Marilyn,rewrite the script, make it shorter,and get a new director. He had zero tolerance for sensitive, insecure actresses's such as M.M.

The script is hilarious and way ahead of its time. In viewing the film now there are segments of dialog that must have been shocking for 1953. The rest of the cast is perfection. Charles Coburn providing vast amounts comedic ability in his role as Lorelei"s married suitor. I wish they could locate the "LOST" footage of the 3 musical numbers that were cut from the film by studio head Darryl Zanuck. It would give us the fans such pleasure to have them put back into the film. The sets that were constructed are fantastic. Hard to believe all of the scenes were done on sound stages. I also believe its safe to say that Betty Grable as Lorelei, would have been a huge mistake as 20th Century Fox's first choice for that role. It was tailor made and owned my Marilyn. This in my opinion, is her most enduring screen performance.
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6/10
Overacted lust and passion
19 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I bought this film on the star power of a young Marilyn Monroe alone. What I purchased was a lot of overwrought acting and hand wringing from a cast headed by Barbara Stanwick. The focus of the stark storyline is Barbara Stanwicks Mae Doyle character. Suffering from bitter hard life choices, regrets, loneliness and under lying lust and passion. Upon returning home from an illicit love affair gone wrong, Mae settles for 2nd best and marries the towns local dull fisherman. She eventually has his child but then ends up committing adultery with her husbands best buddy( Robert Ryan). She even contemplates abandoning the child to be with her secret new lover. This film must have been considered pretty daring stuff during the early 1950's. Along the way there is a lot of emotional speech making, overly dramatic love scenes, and dialog that are to me in this day and age laughable. With that said, any fan of Barbra Stanwick or Marilyn Monroe should see this movie.

The direction of the film by Fritz Lang is tight with location shots and sets that are completely realistic and believable. I did tire of the symbolic waves pounding the beach after every dramatic turn of the plot. The style of film-making, acting, and plot line are completely appropriate for the era of this film. I just don't see it as true Film Noir, I see it as a tepid melodrama. I must also admit I did have a strong urge to fast forward to scenes only involving Marilyn Monroe. I watched the whole film and Marilyn Monroe forcefully dominates the very few scene's she is in. I really liked the tough girlishness she was allowed to project as "Peggy". Her character is not written as the dumb blonde persona she would regretfully embody later in her career. Although her scenes are somewhat brief you cant ignore the magnetic star power she possessed.

It should be noted that Marilyn was not appreciated or well liked during the production of "Clash by Night". Her co-stars did not like the press attention that she generated while on set. Particularly a jealous Robert Ryan. He bellowed on set "They never take pictures of of the rest of us".."Why do the photographers only want pictures of that blonde bitch Marilyn Monroe"?.. he later shouted to her on set,"Don't EVER call me Robert.. It's Mr. Robert Ryan to you"...Its also been said Marilyn had trouble remembering lines, and was sometimes late for filming. She also came to the set regularly with red blotches on her face and hands after having vomited from being so nervous. Barbra Stanwick later had Monroe barred from the set if "Peggy" wasn't in any of her scenes being shot that day because it was to disruptive.. Upon its release, around the same time as Monroes "nude calender" shots were surfacing "Clash by Night" was a box office success. It brought in $1.5 million dollars. Aside from mixed reviews, movie goers were curious about its provocative star. The film certainly furthered her career but it made her a few enemies in return.
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1/10
Degrading, False, garbage..
8 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
By all means avoid this film... I see its being sold on Ebay for a staggering $56.00. The back of the DVD states that it is a "absolutely dazzling movie".... Out of complete respect for its subject, don't waste your hard earned money on this garbage. I agree with every bad review for this film, it is at the bottom of the barrel in film making. When released in my home town way back in 1976 it was playing at the local Drive In with the catch phrase "This is how it really was". It angers me that this film is a complete disrespect to a human being who was so far above the bile that this film perpetrates. We all know what a casting couch is. Norma Jean did participate in order to further her career but 75 minutes of rape,abuse and continuous degradation was how it really was?.... Are you kidding me? Its completely negligent to suggest that M. Monroe was only born to suffer or be humiliated because she was beautiful, as this film suggests.

First thing first. I understand what low budget means. But some simple, accurate research into the life of its title character by its makers might have resulted in something that could have been watchable. Look at todays Indie Films like "Precious" They are made on the cheap but they tell a story that enthralls us and have actors who make us care: "Goodbye Norma Jean" presents disgusting false plot lines that are not in the least bit sexy. The movie in all its grainy, jumpy, 70"s feel ups the ante for the ICK factor. The script, production values, sets and costumes are all horrible. There is not one attempt at recreating M. Monroes iconic clothing that anybody would recognize. Misty Rowe's wig alone is completely ridiculous. The rest of the cast are extremely bad actors who are written as inhuman. They collaborate eagerly with each other to abuse and victimize Norma Jean at every turn. The set walls wobble back and forth when doors are opened or closed in scenes. The lighting is either glaring, shadowy or non existent. I don't have one positive reason to view this appalling film.

I will also note that this film can and will never fit into the realm of a camp classic. Most camp classic films starts out with good intentions, keep you interested, and allow you to laugh at it while appreciating the overall badness of it all. This film had NO good intentions from the beginning. It was produced to exploit Monroes reputation, in the hopes of making a quick buck at the expense of its sensitive, and better deserving subject. The telefilms "Marilyn, The Untold Story" with Catherine Hicks or "Blonde" with Poppy Mongomery are far superior at explaining the myth behind the legend. Or do yourself a favor and watch a film from Marilyn's own library of classics. "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" "7 Year Itch", "Bus Stop", or "The Misfits" would be a good place to start.
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10/10
Absolutely hilarious...
6 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Marilyn back on top after a 2 year vacation from the screen, and boy was she worth the wait! Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis bosom buddies indeed. A huge success all the way around. The script, direction, co-stars and sets are all superb. Jack Lemmon as Daphne is the other reason to watch it. I feel his role excelled past Tony Curtis because Daphne was written with better comedic situations in mind. Apparently Lemmon got along better with Monroe because in his own words, he completely understood the painstaking artistry of what it took to do that thing she did. Jack Lemmons comedic delivery is first rate here. Tony Curtis is completely believable and does a great job as Monroes love interest. Marilyn delivers a spectacular performance as Sugar Kane, the dizzy blonde routine so beloved by her fans. As Sugar, Monroe is equal parts vulnerable and confident. I am very surprised Monroe wasn't nominated for an Oscar for this role. In her personal life she had so many unresolved issues with rejection, and what a pity Hollywood never really respected her in that form. She sure as hell made a lot of money for the studios and the suites that ran that town back in the day. My favorite sequence (among many) in this film, is the train sequence and Marilyn uttering the line "Goodnight Honey" to Jack Lemmon. The eventual party that ensues in Jack Lemmons berth makes my side split every time I see it. Im glad the film was shot in black and white. The film holds up very well even with todays standards. I hope it is never "colorized" for the next generation. If you are ever in San Diedo CA. go to the Coronodo Hotel where this was filmed. It looks exactly like it did back in 1959 and there are a lot of photos on display about the making of the film. Most of us know the rest of the plot by heart so I wont get into that. I do want to thank Mr. Wilder for this contribution to top notch film making. I am recommending this film to anyone who wants to see true original comic genius at its best.
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7/10
Grade A effort on Marilyns part alone...
31 October 2009
Warning: Spoilers
For MM's first outing with "Marilyn Monroe Productions" producing this epic film, I am somewhat disappointed. But there are some moments that make the film worth watching. Expectations were probably very high and from the outside this should have been a smashing success. The star wattage alone was a no brainer. In viewing the picture we all want what is missing. A little word called "Chemistry". The movie poster shows Laurence behind Marilyn in a lusty clench pose, but that scenario is completely missing from this film. In watching it, the lust factor never really gels and it is glaring. Is it plausible that she or anybody could be sexually attracted to this loud mouthed oaf? - NO. Sir Larry over acts through the film over and over to a point of total annoyance and The political plot line just gets old fast. Despite being a reportedly rude tyrant on set,I will give him credit for directing Marilyn towards a solid gold performance. She is the very reason to watch this film. All of her moments with Larry, that include: Getting tipsy, mimicking him, averting his disgusting passes, singing to him and later seducing him are all pure comedic genius. Her subtle delivery and acting style had improved 100% since the early days of "River Of No Return" Its lovely to see her portraying a real woman who is warm, convincing, and with depth. No dumb blonde resides here. For me, Marilyns best scene was at the Coronation. She doesn't speak any dialog, just showing emotion with facial expression. It is very touching and heartflt. Its obvious that a lot of time and money was spent lighting marilyn for this film. Her mature beauty is simply stunning. The admirable Royal Dance sequence is also brilliantly choreographed and lushly staged. The sets alone are outstanding. Its very apparent that this was an expensive film to produce overall. Location, co-actors, cinema photography are all top of the line. This was a huge ambitious gamble for Warner brothers and MM productions to make this collaboration. It is a first class production. For the record, when released in 1957 the film only re-couped the cost to make and distibute it. It broke even with very little profit. Marilyn Monroe Productions would disband soon after.
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7/10
Purse those lips Marilyn!
23 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of my favorite titles in the Monroe catalog of films. I watch it every time its on TV, no matter where I come in on it. There certainly is something fascinating about it. Sure the script at times is somewhat laughable, but there are other diversions... Monroe in particular. The woman was in her prime. Her figure in 1954 was out of this world, but her acting in this film some of the time was not. Monroe herself stated this film was "Grade Z cowboy stuff"

The film is about 2 different attitudes about life - one hard and unflinching (Mitchum) the other impulsive and lost (Monroe) there is also a young boy caught in the middle that they both love. Toss in murder, double crossings, and angry Indians. What proceeds is actually a thoughtful film with the river being symbolic of both lead characters.

Truth be told Monroe is extremely watchable in "River of No Return" With sultry half closed eyes, She holds her head high,looks down her nose, purses her lips and over enunciates every syllable her character utters. It is a sight to behold. Hence the phrase by Fox CEO Daryl Zanuk,(who called her "old straw head")"Marilyn Monroe has Flesh Impact." Flesh Impact indeed. Her German drama coach Natasha Lytess taught Monroe this odd style of over acting. Marilyn would eventually fire her in 1955. After that she would loose or tone down the stilted overly dramatic poses.

Robert Mitchum does a fine, rugged job as her love interest/co-star. The blanket rubdown he gives her in a cave... is particularly memorable. Her scenes with child actor Tommy Retig tender and caring. The music is good, especially the last number which is the title of this film. Monroe delivers it in a heartfelt regretful way.

Director Otto Preminger does a fine job keeping things moving along and inserting dangerous plot lines at just the right time. Some of the stunts in the film are obviously fake such as the log raft going over a waterfall with everyone on board. One can see that a stiff mannequin with dangling arms was used as Marilyn for this scene. Other than that the film is exciting,highly recommended and enjoyable.
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6/10
I have changed my opinion about this film!
11 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Not regarded as one of MM's best films by her legion of fans. "Lets make Love" isn't as bad as one might think. Gregory Peck and Carey Grant were originally asked to be her co-star, but after reading the script I guess they soon declined. Neither were game to play 2nd fiddle to a screen sensation.

Plot line reads as follows: Rich man (Yves Montand) wants poor girl.(M.M.) Rich man pretends to be poor. Rich man gets poor girl then looses her after he tries to tell her the truth. Rich man eventually woos and gets the girl.

With Marilyns clout at 20th Century Fox studios one wonders why she chose to take the role as Amanda Dell. She's not altogether bad as the character. The script simply had little to offer her. But I have to say after repeated viewings, the film has grown on me. I am a huge fan of MM and to be fair Monroes first appearance singing "My heart belongs to Daddy" is a clever and exciting opening performance. What an entrance, she is on fire in this 3 minute masterpiece. I love the kiss and wink and staging of this classic piece. That scene is the best musical number in the picture. This sequence might have been filmed and added at the last minute after 20th Century Fox exec's saw a rough cut of the film.

Marilyn does look very comfortable and relaxed on the screen. But, at times she appears distracted.(Probably George Cukors uneven direction) There is something a little charming about the whole production. The musical score will grow on you and "Incurably Romantic" is very well done. This film was nominated for an Oscar for best musical score. I also loved the fantasy sequence with Yves and MM in the board room on the table where she is knitting with gold yarn. She even makes that chore look sexy!

Marilyn and Yves are finally given a chance to show some real spark in the final scene of the movie when the whole charade comes to a close. Trapped in an elevator (and looking her best in the film) with a starry eyed Yves, Marilyn finally succumbs to his musical rendition of the title of this movie. They kiss passionately and we finally see AND hear what all the gossip was about. Her very heavy breathing during the kiss is caught on film, just turn up the volume... there is nothing "Method acting" about that! Aside from her sensitivity, intellect, and training with the Strasbergs this is what Monroe the movie star sex goddess was about.A fine line between acting and reality was beautifully blurred in "Lets make love"s final 2 minute scene. Released in 1960 The audience when asked "Lets make love" apparently said no thanks. The film was a box office failure.
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10/10
Marilyns Unforgettable face.
6 July 2005
Add this to your collection of MM movies. It is of great interest for die hard Marilyn Monroe fans. Just to be able to view "LOST" footage is a privilege. This documentary is equal parts touching, surreal and sad, as we all no full well about the oncoming tragedy Marilyn would soon experience. With all that has been said during the filming of S.G.T.G. MM doesn't appear to be in a heavy drug induced state. If she was, it is amazing that she was able to balance on shoes with 4 inch heels. In some scenes she is very tender and very expressive, and in others she is jittery and nervous. My favorite scenes revolve around her seeing her children for the 1st time. In those Monroe is contemplative and ignites the screen with beauty and emotion. I also loved hearing that wonderful giggle she possessed after the director yelled "CUT" and the film was still rolling.

Aside from a beautiful wardrobe and nice production values, I don't believe this was to be a memorable role. Marilyn owed 20th Century Fox 1 more film in her slave contract. She would then be free to accept any movie role or sign a contract with any studio in Hollywood. Fox needed the dumb MM persona the public loved (in which Marilyn resented) to help pull them out of financial ruin. In a last ditch effort after "The Misfits" failure at the box office, she returns to that whispery, childish, fluffy behavior.

MM never received the respect or patience that was given to her arch nemesis Elizabeth Taylor. Elizabeth was filming "Cleopatra" at the same time in Egypt and causing major problems in a film that was BANKRUPTING its studio. There was never any retaliation from FOX executives toward Miss Taylor, and it agitated MM to no end. Marilyn would fight with FOX about the script, her character, and the direction this film was going. Their punishment for Marilyn was firing her and forming a smear campaign aimed at ruining her career and reputation. In spite of being ill for most of the production I can see why she didn't want to show up to film it. She along with us could see how generic and bland it was going to be. (and her fault if it failed at the box office). In a blast of creative ingenuity she did a nude swimming pool scene to cause a stir and give the film some interest. The outtakes we get to see are terrific. Soon photos surfaced on the cover of LIFE magazine and others. At the age of 36 Marilyn wanted to knock Elizabeth T. off the newsstands. Mission accomplished.

I'm glad the film wasn't her final finished effort. She was at the top of her game in "Bus Stop" and "The Misfits". Please, Do see this documentary. The interviews with Marilyns co-stars such as the late Cyd Charrise are very insightful. It is a fascinating piece of Hollywood history, showing what it was like in 1962 to be on the FOX lot inside that sound stage. The mysterious, haunting lead actress Marilyn Monroe will continue to fascinate and enthrall us for years to come.
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The Misfits (1961)
9/10
Monroe + Gables last act..
6 July 2005
I saw this film in Reno in 1991 on the big screen in a movie theater. I then saw it 2 more times during its week run in Reno. It is a fascinating piece of cinema. The impact of seeing MM that large and tragic elicited gasps from fellow film goers when she made her first appearance on the screen. It has stayed with me ever since. I soon drove out to the flats where it was filmed and what a lonely, destitute piece of land that is. The film has brilliant writing. Arthur Miller taking snippets out of his relationship with MM. MM didn't stop him from exploiting personal issues. Script Lines like "How do you find your way out of the dark" or "I suddenly miss my mother" or "Help" (while she looks up to the sky) explode like a personal expose. She was apparently very angry with Miller after filming commenced when she saw the finished cut. The film is shot in beautiful black and white with a silver patina. All the actors are superb, with Thelma Ritter supplying some well needed comic relief. I'm not a big fan of Gable but he is outstanding in this role. The direction by John Huston is sometimes slow paced but it follows up to an exciting if not heartbreaking finish. He was clearly giving all the actors space to give their best performances. Years of substance abuse show clearly on MM's face. As sick as she was during the filming she gives a brave, honest, earthy performance as Roslyn. Highly Recommended viewing.
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7/10
Acting ability aplenty, You Will Believe.
8 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When I was a young kid of about 7 yrs old I saw this film on TV. This performance by Marilyn Monroe sparked an interest that would stay with me for another 39 years. The vulnerability and desperation in her eyes to me as a child, went way beyond acting. Her image in this film just never left me. Marilyn Monroe truly was a talented actress period. So effective is she in this somewhat cheap and overblown drama that when all is said and done, you are convinced that shades of her character Nell were a part of Marilyn the person. Especially now that we know almost every sordid/sad detail about her private life.

Sure the film is a bit shaky in its production values but you cant take your eyes from the screen when Monroe is on it. Of the attempted suicidal ending with Monroe, Ann Bancroft once said. "Those last moments with Marilyn were the truest forms of acting and realism I ever felt in my whole entire career with any actor, ever." That last scene is hard to watch and after seeing it you will agree that she gave a hauntingly effective character analysis. She was acting from pure, honest instinct and/or possible experience. Doubly sad because we know that mental illness did run in her family. I pay her my highest compliment by urging you to view her performance in this film. I believe you will see what I saw all those years ago. Im not saying its her best film as a lot of fans adore her platinum blonde alter ego. But when given a chance to be something more than just a sexpot, MM in "D.B.T.K." delivered a fascinating performance of many telling dimensions. You will believe!
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