Friday, September 09, 2016

Marilyn (1963 compilation)

Marilyn (1963 compilation). Poster reworked by Mimmo Rotella.

Marilyn Monroe. US 1963. PC: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. There are no credits on the movie. [D of the scenes with Rock Hudson: Henry Koster. SC of narration: Harold Medford.] 35 mm – black and white and Eastmancolor – CinemaScope 2,35:1 – Academy footage pillarboxed – except the final "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" number reformatted from Academy to scope. S: mono. [ED: Pepe Torres. On-screen moderator and narrator: Rock Hudson.] 2290 m / 83 min
    Viewed at Cinema Orion, Helsinki (Marilyn Monroe 90), svensk text, 9 Sep 2016.

Rock Hudson enters the Twentieth Century Fox soundstage, sits down in front of a film projector and narrates this compilation of Marilyn Monroe's films for Fox while chain-smoking. There is a life size prop of a schooner behind him. Fake snow is falling. "She worked here not long ago". "From among thousands it is difficult to stand out. It is like finding a needle from the haystack. Star quality is a rare commodity. What is it made of?" To the projectionist: "Is your motor running?" "We don't know what it is. We know what it does. The real world - the dream world. So many things it can do. She brought joy to the heart". (Quotes are not verbatim).

1. A Ticket to Tomahawk / Sheriffin tytär, 1950. Colour. "Oh, What a Forward Young Man You Are" (Ken Darby, John Read), performed by MM, Marion Marshall, Joyce Mackenzie, Barbara Smith, and Dan Dailey. She dances with Dan Dailey while Anne Baxter is watching.

2. All About Eve / Kaikki Eevasta, 1950. The brilliant satirical scene at a party of theatre folks, as George Sanders's companion, with Bette Davis and Anne Baxter (again).

3. Love Nest / Casanova vuokralaisena, 1951. MM as a war veteran who moves into the house of her war buddy (William Lundigan) to the surprise of his wife (June Haver) and to the delight of a wolfish attorney (Jack Paar)

4. We’re Not Married / Laittomasti naimisissa, 1952. When it turns out that due to a legal technicality their marriage is invalid Marilyn instantly registers into the Miss Mississippi contest, to the delight of her husband (David Wayne) who attends the show with their baby in his arms.

5. Don’t Bother to Knock / Draama hotellissa, 1952. Her early serious dramatic lead as a mentally unbalanced babysitter, with Richard Widmark as the male lead.

6. O. Henry’s Full House / Neljä helmeä / Viisi helmeä, 1952. Henry Koster's episode "The Cop and the Anthem". A bum (Charles Laughton) attempts to commit a felony in order to be imprisoned for the winter. He harasses a woman on the street (MM) until it turns out that she is a streetwalker.

7. Monkey Business / Rakas, minä nuorrun, 1952. The absent-minded chemist Cary Grant "before and after". We witness him examining the acetates of the stockings of the secretary (MM) through his bottle bottom glasses. After having a shot of the youth elixir the rejuvenated chemist takes her to a wild ride. "Is your motor running?"

8. Niagara / Niagara, 1953. Her mythical breakthrough into superstardom, as a vamp for the only time during her career, ruining her husband's (Joseph Cotten) life. The MM walk and the scene with the record "Kiss".

9. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes / Herrat pitävät vaaleaverisistä, 1953. Three great numbers from her best film, together with Jane Russell: ”A Little Girl from Little Rock”, ”Bye Bye Baby”, ”When Love Goes Wrong” (Jane Russell dubbed by Eileen Wilson).

10. How to Marry a Millionare / Kuinka miljonääri naidaan, 1953. Her CinemaScope debut together with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall. The legendary mirror scene. And the airplane scene with David Wayne.

11. There’s No Business Like Show Business / Rytmiä veressä, 1954. The "Heat Wave" number. "Small danger of fruit frost. Hot and humid nights can be expected".

12. River of No Return / Joki, jolta ei ole paluuta, 1954. With Robert Mitchum. She sings "Down in the Meadow" to his little son (Tommy Rettig).

13. Seven Year Itch / Kesäleski, 1955. Her entrance, and Tom Ewell's reaction. The Rachmaninoff sequence ("Rachmaninoff! His second piano concerto never misses.") The mythical scene on the subway grate where a train passing below blows her white dress upwards.

14. Bus Stop / Bussipysäkki, 1956. Naturalism as Chérie, playing opposite Don Murray. "Old Black Magic" sung intentionally unglamorously. Confessions with Hope Lange.

15. Something’s Got to Give, 1962. (Unfinished). Playing opposite Dean Martin, also featuring Wally Cox. She tries to re-seduce her husband by swimming naked in their pool. This was the first time when footage of this film was released. There may be an agenda in why some of these particular shots were shown and not better ones.

16. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, 1953. “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is a glorious climax to the compilation. The coloratura was dubbed by Marni Nixon (1930–2016), otherwise it's MM herself singing fantastically well. Shot in Academy, here processed in CinemaScope.

Missing is Monroe's work for other producers (Love Happy with the Marx Bros., The Asphalt Jungle, Clash by Night, The Prince and the Showgirl, Some Like It Hot, The Misfits... ) is not included in this highly valuable and very entertaining compilation. Missing is her best dramatic role (in Clash by Night) and her most legendary comic role (Some Like It Hot). But included is what is in my opinion her best film (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes).

This compilation reflects the contemporary view of Twentieth Century Fox on Marilyn Monroe. They totally revised their view in the excellent documentary Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days (2001) which includes a new reconstruction of the footage of Something's Got to Give, very different from the one we have here.

The colour in the vintage print is fading, but the screening was hugely enjoyable and impressive even so. There was an applause after the rare show.

These remarks are based on my program note of 1987.

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