Saturday, November 26, 2011

A New Love for Marilyn

In 1957 Young Colin Clark documented his year of working on the film The Prince and the Showgirl. His journal of the production of the film later became a memoir called The Prince, the Showgirl and Me. My Week with Marilyn is a film named after his second memoir on the subject, documenting an astounding week omitted from the first.

Clark is torn between being the dutiful assistant to the film's Producer, leading man and director, Laurence Olivier and ally to Marilyn Monroe, who was at odds with Olivier for much of the filming. And of course as to be expected, Clark falls in love with Monroe. Perhaps, slightly less expected, is that we fall in love with her as well

Michelle Williams' performance is so emotive, and revealing of a very layered woman whose depth we can not begin to know. There were so many moments in which Williams channeled Monroe's thoughtfully searching eyes, quick grinned and quick witted charm that made me smile bitter sweetly. Moments that amounted to an amazing performance and made me consider the subject, more than just an icon. We are after all, just people. Even Marilyn Monroe.

"I am trying to prove to myself that I am a person. Then maybe I'll convince myself that I am an Actress" - Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe was a troubled woman with a troubled childhood, an actress, a film star and yes, a sex symbol. She was also the second woman to start her own production company in Hollywood, Marilyn Monroe Productions. 

At first laughed at she ultimately gained control of the roles she took, held final production approval, and guaranteed her increased salary of $100,000 per film in an unheard of contract with 20th Century Fox. The deal would contribute to the end of the Studio Star System. The Prince and the Showgirl would be the only film to be completely released under Marilyn Monroe Productions.

Marilyn entertained the troops in Korea while on her honeymoon to Joe DiMaggio and she was a regular at the Hollywood Canteen at home.

She was well known for holding progressive left wing views and was believed to have personally lobbied John F Kennedy to take action on ending segregation. In a time when being "friendly" with Negroes was unheard of among whites she was close friends with Dorothy Dandridge and instrumental in the mainstream introduction to her friend Ella Fitzgerald.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo (who had refused to book Fitzgerald because she was black), and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him - and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status - that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard… After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman - a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
                                    -Ella Fitzgerald

I am certain there is much more to the sex kitten with the platinum hair and the breathy voice. Underestimated, perhaps misunderstood, Marilyn was called a genius by some. A fan is born.




  1. wow, I like the Ella Fitzgerald story - I had no idea!

  2. Thanks darling Ms. K. It is a lovely surprise to know this side of her. p.s. just checked out some of your November posts, fabulous!!!


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