Marilyn Monroe - The Diamond Collection (2000) from Tuna
2001, is the 75 anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death. Fox did an
amazing restoration of 5 of her best-known films, as well as a special
presentation, and the resurrection of footage from her unfinished film
Something's Gotta Give. The five films included in this boxed set are:
The appeal of these films is 90%
Marilyn. She contractually was entitled to a great deal of artistic
approval on all of her films, and made sure that she always shone. If
you are a serious film buff, or a Marilyn fan, I recommend buying this
boxed set. All 5 films were lovingly restored from old, difficult
negatives and prints, and are presented in anamorphic widescreen
versions. I am a little disappointed in the dearth of special
features, which mostly consist of trailers and before-and-after
restoration examples, but the films speak for themselves.
to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Maltin says 3 stars and IMDB readers have it at 6.8/10. It does feature three of the most beautiful and charismatic women to ever appear in film, and speaks of a much earlier skirmish in the battle of the sexes. A reader submitted review at IMDB is worth reading, "An over excited critic once wrote that seeing Monroe in Cinemascope was like being smothered in baked Alaska." This was the first film done in Cinemascope, and certainly shows Marilyn to advantage. This has the least sexy costumes. C+.
Seven Year Itch (1955)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
GPB is a musical comedy staring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell as best friends who work together as showgirls. Marilyn is very blonde, and a real gold digger, while Russell is brunette, and is more interested in love than money. Yet opposites attract, and they are best of friends. Marilyn is to sail to France to wait for her wedding to a millionaire who sends Russell along as a chaperone. His father, disapproving of the marriage, sends a private detective to gather dirt on Marilyn. Russell and the detective fall in love, which tends to complicate things. There is exactly one memorable song, Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend.
This is the only film in the set that
is 4/3 rather than anamorphic, as the original was not widescreen. The
restoration is again excellent. Russell is actually a stronger screen
presence in this film, but not by much. The film won both actresses a
slab of cement at Grumman's Chinese. They left their prints in the
same ceremony. Maltin says three stars, and IMDB readers say 7.1/10.
The costuming is rather conservative compared to the other films in
this set, but Marilyn still looks fabulous. Those who hate musical
comedy may still find Monroe and Russell worth seeing. C+.
Days/Something's Gotta Give (1962/2001)
The boxed set includes a documentary chronicling the last days of Marilyn, from the time
she agreed to do Something's Gotta Give until her untimely death. The film footage (very little of which was of Marilyn) sat in a vault till 1999, when they decided to remaster and restore the footage, and assemble what they could of the unfinished film. This is, of course, a real treat for
those of us who worship Marilyn. I had no idea that this footage would contain a swimming pool scene where she showed her nipple, and her buns.
Marilyn, who suffered from bipolar
disorder, which used to be called manic depression, was becoming
increasingly dependent on sleeping pills. She was rumored to be in the
middle of a frustrating romance with Bobby Kennedy, which didn't help
her mood swings. Many people advised Fox that she was not up to a
film, but they were hemorrhaging from the wallet over Cleopatra, and
needed a quick hit. Marilyn was also subject to sinus problems. She
was away from the set more than she was there, and when co-star Dean
Martin walked off the set in disgust, they fired her and stopped
production. She was able to convince them to restart. When she did the
pool-side exposure, she told the director, "This will knock Liz
off the covers of the magazines," and it did.
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