Sunday, Aug. 5, marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe‘s death. Several events will be held this week, including a memorial service at noon on Sunday at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Authors Christopher Nickens and George Zeno will sign their book “Marilyn in Fashion,” today at the Egyptian Theatre, before a screening of 1952’s “Don’t Bother to Knock” starring Marilyn Monroe and Richard Widmark.
Using many rare photographs, the book traces the evolution of Marilyn’s style. The signing starts at 1 p.m. and the film at 2 p.m. The Egyptian Theatre is at 6712 Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.
Additionally, “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles’ masterpiece, plays tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.
On Sunday, July 22, at 7:30 p.m., there’s a great Otto Preminger double-bill: “Laura” (1944) and “Bonjour Tristesse” (1958). Don’t miss it!
The Aero Theatre is at 1328 Montana Ave. in Santa Monica.
Innovative choreographer Jack Cole is finally getting his due. Long neglected in most discussions of dance on film, Cole introduced radically modern ideas and forms to a sphere often treated as merely decorative. He also lent distinction to the careers of stars such as Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Betty Grable and Mitzi Gaynor. Cole came to Hollywood from the world of nightclubs and Broadway.
As dance critic Debra Levine points out, Cole was a preeminent film choreographer when he joined Twentieth Century Fox to coach Monroe and Jane Russell in 1953’s “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.”
His film portfolio includes remarkable female solos: “Put the Blame on Mame” for Hayworth in the film noir “Gilda” (1946); “No Talent Joe” for Grable in “Meet Me After the Show” (1951) and “Beale Street Blues” for Gaynor in “The I Don’t Care Girl” (1953).
On Saturday, Aug. 4, the UCLA Film & Television Archive is hosting a tribute to Cole. There will be a screening of “The I Don’t Care Girl” and a discussion with Gaynor, Levine and Larry Billman, founder of the Academy of Dance on Film. Directed by Lloyd Bacon, the movie shows Cole’s hyper-stylized choreography to dazzling effect.
The UCLA event precedes Levine’s guest-host appearance on Turner Classic Movies. “Choreography by Jack Cole,” a four-film Cole homage, airs Sept. 10 on TCM.
UCLA’s tribute is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024, 310-206-8013. Tickets are $10 and I hear they are going fast!
After reading about Marilyn Monroe and watching some of her movies over her birthday weekend, I felt like sharing these video clips.
Marilyn sang on Saturday, May 19, 1962, for President John F. Kennedy at a celebration of his 45th birthday, 10 days before his actual birthday (Tuesday, May 29).
Marilyn sings in “Some Like It Hot,” from 1959, directed by Billy Wilder.
Marilyn sings “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” directed by Howard Hawks and choreographed by Jack Cole. To read more about Cole and his career, visit dance critic Debra Levine’s wonderful arts meme.
And, while reading about Marilyn, I was struck by her insightful notes on Fox’s final cut of “The Prince and the Showgirl” (1957, Laurence Olivier): “I am afraid that as it stands it will not be as successful as the version all of us agreed was so fine. Especially in the first third of the picture the pacing has been slowed and one comic point after another has been flattened out by substituting inferior takes with flatter performances lacking the energy and brightness that you saw in New York. Some of the jump cutting kills the points, as in the fainting scene.
“The coronation is as long as before if not longer, and the story gets lost in it. American audiences are not as moved by stained glass windows as the British are, and we threaten them with boredom. I am amazed that so much of the picture has no music at all when the idea was to make a romantic picture. We have enough film to make a great movie, if only it will be as in the earlier version. I hope you will make every effort to preserve our picture.”
In the end, no changes were made to the picture.
From “The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe” by J. Randy Taraborrelli
(Note: Film noir horoscopes will return next month.)
For what would have been Marilyn Monroe’s 86th birthday, I’ve compiled quotations from her and about her. If you have a favorite quotation from or about MM, please send it and I will add it to the list. I have credited the photographers wherever possible; copyright of all photos belongs to the photographers and/or their estates/representatives. (Note: Film noir horoscopes will return next month.)
FROM MARILYN …
“The real lover is the man who can thrill you by touching your head or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.”
“I love champagne – just give me champagne and good food, and I’m in heaven and love.”
“The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.”
“Sex is part of nature. I go along with nature.”
“My illusions didn’t have anything to do with being a fine actress, I knew how third rate I was. I could actually feel my lack of talent, as if it were cheap clothes I was wearing inside. But, my God, how I wanted to learn, to change, to improve!”
“I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.”
“Husbands are chiefly good as lovers when they are betraying their wives.”
“People had a habit of looking at me as if I were some kind of mirror instead of a person. They didn’t see me, they saw their own lewd thoughts, then they white-masked themselves by calling me the lewd one.”
“All the men I know are spending the day with their wives and families, and all the stores in Los Angeles are closed. You can’t wander through looking at all the pretty clothes and pretending to buy something.” – on why she hated Sundays
“Everyone’s just laughing at me. I hate it. Big breasts, big ass, big deal. Can’t I be anything else? Gee, how long can you be sexy?”
“Looking back, I guess I used to play-act all the time [as a child]. For one thing, it meant I could live in a more interesting world than the one around me.”
“No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they’re pretty, even if they aren’t.”
“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
“My problem is that I drive myself … I’m trying to become an artist, and to be true, and sometimes I feel I’m on the verge of craziness. I’m just trying to get the truest part of myself out, and it’s very hard. There are times when I think, ‘All I have to be is true.’ But sometimes it doesn’t come out so easily. I always have this secret feeling that I’m really a fake or something, a phony.”
“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
ABOUT MARILYN …
“Our marriage was a good marriage … it’s seldom a man gets a bride like Marilyn. I wonder if she’s forgotten how much in love we really were.” – Jim Dougherty talking to Photoplay magazine, 1953; they were married from 1942-46.
“It’s like a good double-play combination. It’s just a matter of two people meeting and something clicks.” – Joe DiMaggio; he was married to Marilyn from Jan. 14, 1954 to Oct. 27, 1954
“She was a whirling light to me then, all paradox and enticing mystery, street-tough one moment, then lifted by a lyrical and poetic sensibility that few retain past early adolescence. …
“She had no common sense, but what she did have was something holier, a long-reaching vision of which she herself was only fitfully aware: humans were all need, all wound. What she wanted most was not to be judged but to win recognition from a sentimentally cruel profession, and from men blinded to her humanity by her perfect beauty. She was part queen, part waif, sometimes on her knees before her own body and sometimes despairing because of it. …
“To have survived, she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was. Instead, she was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes.” – Arthur Miller, her husband from 1956-61
“There’s a beautiful blonde name of Marilyn Monroe who makes the most of her footage.” xxxxx– Liza Wilson of Photoplay magazine, writing about “The Asphalt Jungle,” 1950
She was, “a female spurt of wit and sensitive energy who could hang like a sloth for days in a muddy-mooded coma; a child girl, yet an actress to loose a riot by dropping her glove at a premiere; a fountain of charm and a dreary bore … she was certainly more than the silver witch of us all.” – Norman Mailer
‘‘From families that owned little but their own good names, she had inherited the fierce pride of the poor. Because she was sometimes forced to give in, to sell herself partially, she was all the more fearful of being bought totally.’’ – Gloria Steinem
“She deeply wanted reassurance of her worth, yet she respected the men who scorned her, because their estimate of her was her own.” – Elia Kazan
“All the sex symbols were endowed with a large portion of earthy coarseness. Marilyn had the most. … Only an inherent whore could walk like Marilyn and dress like Marilyn. … She had a trick of making all men feel she could be in love with them and I think she could be, a sort of saving each one for a rainy day, for when things would get tough again in her life and she would need help. … I saw the hope and the disappointments. The longing to give what the people wanted and, at the same time, to become a complete person herself. She was also selfish, rude, thoughtless, completely self-centered. She kept people waiting for hours.” – Hollywood columnist Sheilah Graham
“The luminosity of that face! There has never been a woman with such voltage on the screen, with the exception of Garbo.” – Billy Wilder
“If she’d been dumber, she’d have been happier.” – Shelley Winters
“Everything Marilyn does is different from any other woman, strange and exciting, from the way she talks to the way she uses that magnificent torso.” – Clark Gable, her co-star of 1961’s “The Misfits,” about which he said: “This is the best picture I have made and it’s the only time I’ve been able to act.
“Her mixture of wide-eyed wonder and cuddly drugged sexiness seemed to get to just about every male; she turned on even homosexual men. And women couldn’t take her seriously enough to be indignant; she was funny and impulsive in a way that made people feel protective. She was a little knocked out; her face looked as if, when nobody was paying attention to her, it would go utterly slack – as if she died between wolf calls.” – Pauline Kael
“What I particularly liked about Marilyn was that she didn’t act like a movie star. She was down to earth. Although she was 28, she looked and acted like a teenager. … I was most impressed that Marilyn was always polite and friendly to everyone on the set. She was no phony or snob. … Marilyn always seemed determined to talk to me about her childhood. We would be discussing a subject of current interest to her and she would somehow bring up an incident from her bygone days.” – Photographer George Barris
“I liked her. She was a good kid. But when you looked into her eyes, there was nothing there. No warmth. No life. It was all illusion. She looked great on film, yeah. But in person … she was a ghost.” – Dean Martin, her co-star in 1962’s (unfinished) “Something’s Got to Give”
“Nobody could be as miserable as she was in such a loving, good-natured way. No matter how sad she may have been, she was never mean, never lashed out at me. Instead she just wanted to hug me and have me hug her and tell her it was all going to work out. That it didn’t, broke my heart.” – George Jacobs, who was Frank Sinatra’s valet
“Marilyn Monroe was a legend. In her lifetime she created a myth of what a poor girl from a deprived background could attain. For the entire world she became a symbol of the eternal feminine.” – Lee Strasberg in his eulogy
Marilyn Monroe: An Intimate Look at the Legend opens today at the Hollywood Museum and runs through Sept. 2.
On display is work by photographer George Barris, photos from her childhood, early modeling days and life as a star as well as famous wardrobe pieces, private documents and personal effects, such as cosmetics. There is much to see … here are just a few pix from the show.
This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death on August 5, 1962.
In New York, more than 50 photographs of Marilyn by Lawrence Schiller, many never-before-seen, go on public display this week at the Steven Kasher Gallery.
Tonight I am heading to a preview of Marilyn Monroe: An Intimate Look at the Legend at the Hollywood Museum. The exhibit opens Friday, June 1, which would have been Marilyn’s 86th birthday.
On display will be work by photographer George Barris, photos from her childhood, early modeling days and life as a star as well as famous wardrobe pieces, private documents and personal effects, such as cosmetics.
Also, on June 1, Playboy and Grauman’s Chinese Theatres are hosting a Marilyn Monroe Film Festival. Opening night is “Some Like It Hot” and one of my fellow fans has kindly provided this review.
Ribald, jazzy, sexy joy and pure gold from the 20th century’s reigning sex symbol
SOME LIKE IT HOT/1959/MGM, UA/120 min.
By Michael Wilmington
The place: Chicago. The color: a film noirish black and white. The caliber: 45. The proof: 90. The time: 1929, the Capone Era and the Roaring Twenties, roaring their loudest.
We’re watching “Some Like It Hot” and Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are playing Joe and Jerry: two talented but threadbare Chicago jazz musicians working in a speak-easy fronted as a funeral parlor. Joe, who plays saxophone, is a smoothie and a champ ladies’ man. Jerry is your classic Jack Lemmon schnook, with a couple of kinks thrown in.
After getting tossed out of their speak-easy band jobs by a police raid and accidentally witnessing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (ordered by their ex-employer, George Raft as natty gangster Spats Colombo), they flee to Miami. They’re chased by the gangsters and the cops (Pat O’Brien as Detective Mulligan) but the guys are disguised as Josephine and Daphne, musicians in an all-female jazz orchestra.
The star of Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators, songbird and ukulele player Sugar Kane, is the Marilyn Monroe of our dreams. Sugar has a weakness for saxophone players. Josephine and Daphne have a weakness, period. Director Billy Wilder, who made lots of gay jokes in his time, deliberately keeps his two cross-dressing stars straight.
In Miami, land of dreams and beaches and bathing beauties, the “ladies” meet millionaires, including Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown), who marries chorus girls like some people catch trains. They also meet gangsters jumping out of birthday cakes, waving submachine guns. Miami, to quote Sugar Kane, is runnin’ wild. (“Runnin’ wild. Lost control. Runnin’ wild. Mighty bold. Feelin’ gay, reckless too! Carefree mind, all the time, never blue!”)
“Some Like It Hot” is full of playful references to classic gangster movies like “Little Caesar” and “Scarface.” (At one point, Edward G. Robinson, Jr. flips a coin just like Raft did in Howard Hawks’ “Scarface.” Raft grabs it and demands: “Where’d you learn that cheap trick?”)
Risqué, quick-witted, scathingly funny, unfazed by foibles and unfooled by phonies, Wilder and co-writer I. A. L. “Izzy” Diamond were two Hollywood moviemakers who could cheerfully rip up the establishment, and make the establishment love it – a pair of razor-sharp script wizards who understood our society to its core, relishing its delights and scorning its hypocrisies. And with “Some Like It Hot,” they broke the comedy bank.
Jerry and C. C. Baxter, of “The Apartment,” were Lemmon’s two greatest performances, and they’re as good as any American movie actor ever gave. The movie also handed Tony Curtis and Joe E. Brown their best movie roles (well, for Tony, probably a tie with Sidney Falco in “Sweet Smell of Success”). Sugar Kane was one of Marilyn’s top roles as well.
Ah, Marilyn. Who could forget the country’s and the 20th century’s reigning sex symbol crawling all over Tony Curtis in a borrowed yacht and a skin-tight gown (while Tony does his best Cary Grant impression)? As Jerry says when he spots her doing her famous wiggle-walk in the train station: “Look at that, it’s like Jell-O on springs! I tell you, it’s a whole different sex.”
Marilyn had a little trouble with her lines in “Some Like It Hot,” but we’re talking about dialogue, not curves. Wilder insisted to his dying day, that although it may have taken a while with Marilyn, it was worth it. Always. What you got was pure gold. The movie is pure gold too. Pure hilarity, pure straight-up Billy Wilder. It’s a ribald, jazzy, sexy joy – an absolute delight. As Osgood would say: “Zowie!”
The American Cinematheque will show a Marilyn Monroe double feature at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The movies are: 1957’s “The Prince and the Showgirl” (co-starring and directed by Sir Laurence Olivier) and Billy Wilder’s “Some Like It Hot” from 1959.
At 6:30 p.m., in the lobby, Susan Bernard will sign copies of her book, “Marilyn: Intimate Exposures.” The book consists of 125 photos by her father Bruno Bernard. The photos, ranging from 1946 to 1954, include 40 previously unpublished images. There will be a discussion between films with Susan Bernard.
Michelle Williams and Kenneth Branagh will appear at the Egyptian’s screening of “My Week with Marilyn,” directed by Simon Curtis, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11.
General admission is $11; members pay $7. The Egyptian is at 6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Last week, I was beauty-product happy. This week, it’s all about pages.
Here are my book-buying suggestions and descriptions from their sellers/review highlights.
“Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark” by Brian Kellow, $27.95
Says fellow film critic Todd McCarthy in The Hollywood Reporter: “Kellow … writes beautifully and dexterously interweaves the story of a career long-thwarted with a sensitive reading of his subject’s youthful enthusiasm and intellectual growth. … Kellow admirably brings Pauline’s wit, insight and passion to life on the page and has made at least one critic nostalgic for the days when heavyweight critical battles raged and at least one of us lived a life worthy of a biography.”
“The Doll: The Lost Short Stories” by Dame Daphne du Maurier, $15
Writing in Elle, Kate Christensen says of du Maurier (who wrote “Rebecca,” “My Cousin Rachel” and “Jamaica Inn”): “It’s all here: her fascination with the interplay between ingénue and femme fatale, her caddish male characters and the clinging females they devastate, and the inevitable disillusionment of innocence. … The stories are not all equally well realized – a few of them feel more like sketches – but the best ones are astonishingly good.”
“Maigret at the Gai-Moulin,” a novel by Georges Simenon, $8
Belgian writer Simenon (1903-89) published his first novel at 17 and wrote more than 200 novels, many featuring a detective named Commissaire Maigret. Says People magazine: “Maigret … ranks with Holmes and Poiret in the pantheon of fictional detective immortals.”
“Marilyn: Intimate Exposures” by Susan Bernard/Bruno Bernard, $35
Hollywood photographer Bruno Bernard’s iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe standing over the subway grate in a billowing white dress is synonymous with Hollywood glamour. Many of the images in this volume have never before been published.
Also includes forewords from Jane Russell, Marilyn’s co-star in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” and Lindsay Lohan as well as excerpts from Bruno’s journal and a frameable print. (Next year is the 50th anniversary of Marilyn’s death.)
“Gary Cooper: An Enduring Style” by Maria Cooper Janis and G. Bruce Boyer, $60
The first monograph focused on the timeless fashion and allure of this leading man who was a fashion inspiration to his Hollywood peers, clothing designers and generations of stylish men. Unpublished, never-before-seen personal photographs, shot primarily by his wife Rocky.
“Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel” by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, $55
From Town & Country: “Before there was Daphne Guinness, before there was Lady Gaga, there was the original style setter. A new book takes a look at the career and influence of the woman who made fashion modern.”
Lisa Immordino Vreeland runs her own fashion design and production consulting business. She is the producer of a documentary film about Diana Vreeland, and is married to Vreeland’s grandson Alexander.
“Christian Louboutin,” $150
Red rules in more than 300 pages of the legendary designer’s work. Read more about him and his career here.
“Works on Paper” by David Lynch, $195
A collection of more than 500 drawings, dating from the 1960s by the renowned American film director, offers a unique glimpse into the artist’s creative process.
If you are in the LA area, treat yourself to a trip to Dragon Books, 2954 Beverly Glen Circle, 310-441-8545. There, you’ll find an inscribed first edition of 1984’s “Things I Did … and Things I Think I Did” by director Jean Negulesco (“The Mask of Dimitrios,” “Humoresque,” “Johnny Belinda” and “How to Marry a Millionaire,” along with many others); $150.
Also: a first edition of Don Allen’s “François Truffaut” from 1974, signed by Truffaut; $1,500.