Early August is the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death. I hesitate to write anything because I find myself too creepy stalker emotionally attached ranting, mostly about how other writers, filmmakers etc…portray her …but then I end up talking about her as if I know any better than they do ..and well….it becomes truly absurd. Understandably for anyone doing a biography or biopic there are some major points to touch on and a lot of guess work. Yet, why, does it seem that every single one of them touches on the same exact points, references and wishful thinking? So..for this rant ….I’ll just touch on acting and film …..If you are a fan, newly discovered her or a film student …these are the key moments I believe should be studied (watched);
Asphalt Jungle (1950)- dir; John Huston — I hesitate to praise Marilyn in this role because its really unclear if its simply that she doesn’t have the weight of expectation on her yet, or the fact that John Huston always gets something out of actors that no one else really can find. There is something there in her, you can read it in movements and side glances…..in her voice.
Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) dir; Roy Baker – When you see this, you have to wonder …why it seems that Marilyn and the studio’s struggled with her as an actress …pretty, sexual, and a bit clumsy she holds some vacant space inside as if this role defined her as a character…but not as a character actress…..from this jumping off point…her career should have taken a different turn…..Mediocre Noir film with some really good performances.
Monkey Business (1952) – dir; Howard Hawsk – I have to agree with common thought that “Bringing up Baby” was by far the better film ….but Marilyn is adorable in this, very calm and centered as a comedic romp sidekick.
I don’t think its possible to create a film or biography about Marilyn that would satisfy me ….There isn’t anyone except perhaps Ms.Shirley Schrift that tells Marilyn stories about the real Norma Jean that I find believable and more than one dimensional. So that is my unsavory admission …you are all wrong in all the assumptions and designations assigned to her and therefore should never ever give in to the desire to write a book or develop a film based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Just don’t do it. I simply abhor the way she is portrayed and those key moments that everyone thinks are defining about her ….just so incredibly wrong.
photograph by Milton Greene 1956 (you can see in all the photographs taken by Milton how deeply she trusted him)