Sunday 17 August 2014

Remembering Marilyn

I can't actually tell you when I first discovered Marilyn Monroe - she was someone I was always aware of so in 1990, 3 years after first seeing Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (that's a story for the Blondes review when I post it) I bought a couple of postcards and posters I decided that I wanted to buy some of her films on tape. So down to Woolworths in Newport with my Mum I went and stood at the video rack trying to decided what film to buy, I had seen Blondes as I mentioned and also Let's Make Love, so was leaning towards The Seven Year Itch when my Mum reasoned, 'Why don't you buy a documentary and see if you like her as a person before spending all your money on the films?'

A reasonable idea, but even then I knew, that know matter what I was going to love Marilyn no matter what I found out about her, there was just something that appealed to me..
But to humour my Mum I bought Remembering Marilyn hosted by Lee Remick.

The documentary opens with the lines (and I know them by heart) 'In a quiet corner of Westwood, Califormia, hemmed off from sounds of traffic, the scene is repeated countless times, warmed by some afterglow, some myth that speaks, nameless visitors still bring flowers to the crypt of a woman they knew only on film - Marilyn Monroe who died 25 years ago (the documentary was made in '87).

Remembering Marilyn features what was at the time rare photographs and footage, alongside clips from her films and audio of some of her interviews. Reminiscences from people who knew her, Susan Strasberg, Robert Wagner, Robert Mitchum, the Howell family who remember Norma Jeane's early years and reveal that they had been asked to adopt her but they decided they couldn't because they had a large family already, when she married James Dougherty, the wedding was held at their house and feminist writer Gloria Steinem, who gives the feminist perspective of Marilyn's life and appeal.

The clips from her films cover the majority of her career though the earliest film clip is from The Asphalt Jungle (John Huston 1950)

The original video cassette I purchased in 1990 - still working

The DVD version I bought last year - it is playing on my TV as I write this!.

All in all Remembering Marilyn is a lovely tribute to Marilyn, it doesn't focus too much on the scandals of Marilyn's life although it does cover her 3 marriages and her death in 1962, the film leans towards the suicide theory rather than any thing else. It does mention some of the mysteries surrounding her death and the rumour of an involvement with the Kennedy's but without placing too much emphasis on it.
A nice touch is that the set is decorated with photos and books on our favourite star.

The one thing that caused consternation among Marilyn fans for many years is that it was hosted by Lee Remick, the actress who was hired to replace Marilyn in her final uncompleted film Something's Got To Give.

Because this was the first documentary I saw it remains my favourite. You can find copies of this on Ebay either on the DVD or Video format (if you still have a player like me) and I would recommend that you add a copy to your collection

If only because of new footage, photos and information Remembering Marilyn scores 3.5 out of 5

Friday 15 August 2014

Marilyn Monroe

Just received this lovely book, not a massive book Marilyn Monroe: A celebration of the most iconic woman from Hollywood's golden era contains around 80 photos and gives a very brief over view of her films.

There's no scandal in this - just gorgeous (though common) photos, a brief film synopsis and a little bit about her life. If you want a full biography then this is not for you but if you want to spend a nice leisurely hour pouring over the photos then this is worth the extremely small price.

You can order this book from Amazon (US) by clicking HERE

I ordered my copy from Amazon and it was still not much more than a tenner, however a little bird tells me that this book is available in the UK from The Works you can order by clicking HERE

Monday 4 August 2014

The Marilyn Memorial Service 2014

As I am sure you are all aware, this week marks the 52nd anniversary of our beloved Marilyn's passing. Since 1982 Marilyn Remembered has held a memorial service at Westwood Village Memorial Park in the very Chapel where Marilyn's funeral service was held, and the cemetery where she sleeps to this very day.

And for the first time in it's history the memorial service will be streamed LIVE over internet, so all the fans who cannot be in Los Angeles tomorrow can still BE there.

To watch the memorial service live - for us UK peeps that will be at 7pm Tuesday August 5th please click HERE

A big thanks to Scott Fortner of the Marilyn Monroe Collection for making this possible.

Make sure you have your Kleenex handy I think things might get a little bit emotional.

Friday 1 August 2014

Marilyn Monroe - Her Films Her Life - by Michelle Vogel

I apologise that it has taken so long for me to review this book, this is due to my holiday to Madeira, my attempting a 365 photo challenge via Blipfoto and various other excuses - because that's all they are excuses. Right down to business.

When I first received this book to be honest I wasn't over impressed and this is down to the publisher, for the price (around £33) I admit I was expecting a large, glossy coffee table book, this isn't. it is a little smaller than A4. Upon opening the cover to read I found that the type of card stock used for the cover curls very easily as does the rest of the pages and I had to flatten in between 2 heavy books in order to take the photo of the cover. Inside there are no colour or glossy photos which isn't a problem at all, although the photos used a pretty much stock images that have been used dozens of times before.

This of course has nothing to do with the quality of the writing inside the book:

When I first started reading I thought 'yes ok I know all this' and I really thought that I would not learn anything at all from this book. I was wrong, peppered throughout are facts about the films I had never learnt before. For instance, I never knew that Marilyn's character in Dangerous Years was originally slated to be a secretary - did you?
 The cover of Michelle Vogel's book uses an image form my favourite of Marilyn's films and my favourite musical number

2 images from Bus Stop

And that is what this book is like, you'll be reading and along pops a little bit of personal information, an anecdote you have never heard from those who knew her, or a fact about one of the films.

And that is what makes this book worth buying. I'm not going to go into the theories of her death that are held by the author because although her death is mentioned in the book this books if about her work and her life - not her death. And there have been so many different theories pertaining to her death and we all have our own theories that Michelle's theories are not going to change mine - at least not without hard evidence.

All in all - definitely a book worth adding to the collection, but the price may put you off 

Click HERE to purchase from Amazon UK

Click HERE to purchase from Amazon US

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Marilyn The Dream

I recently acquired this lovely book which contains photos of the collection of Maite Minguez Ricart. Maite is a collector of movie memorabilia and she has a huge Marilyn collection whic consists of photos, documents, personal items and clothes and some of Marilyn's movie wardrobe.
I had been after this book for a while and when Maite posted on her Facebook page that she had copies for sale I was quick to order a copy. It's a lovely book although some of the items have come from Elaine Barrymore who was a bit of a fraudster when it came to selling Marilyn items,but the majority of the items are genuine and this book is worth grabbing if you find a copy.

Of course you can visit and like her Facebook page and see if she has any copies left by clicking HERE

Saturday 10 May 2014

From the sublime to the ridiculous

From Sardi's to Sicily: by Nancy Maniscalco Miracle

The sublime obviously being Icon. The book below was written (an I use the term loosely) by Nancy Miracle, who for years has been claiming that Marilyn was her mother. In this book she claims that Marilyn was not born Norma Jeane Baker (or Mortenson) to Gladys Baker in Los Angeles but instead she was Nancy Cusumano.

Nancy Miracle claims that her parentage has been verified in 2 states but I can find no mention of which to states in the book, she also changed her name to Miracle in an attempt to convince the gullible public that she was indeed related to Marilyn as Marilyn's sister's surname is Miracle - but only by marriage.

The author (again a term used loosely and I will explain why in a short while) keeps mentioning that Marilyn's thumbprints are on her birth certificate - I have never heard of thumbprints being part of the certification process for births as well as saying that Marilyn was actually 42 when she died and mentions that she went to various places with Marilyn and Arthur Miller and before that Joe DiMaggio.

Amazingly though Nancy was going out in public with Marilyn, there are no photos of the two of them together - which to me says it all.

The writing of this book is disjointed and fragmentary and very difficult to read and again stretches the credibility of the author who states she is a published author, teacher and has a Masters degree in creative writing - if the style of writing is anything to go by I would say that she bought the masters on Ebay!!

The book would be funny if it wasn't so sad, this poor woman obviously believes what she has written, yet Marilyn's life has been so when chronicled and documented from birth to death that it is clear the author is delusional.

If I could give a rating of - I would as it goes I will give it 0.5.

No links as to where to buy  this travesty - do not waste your money - save it for the second volume of Icon which is due out shortly

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Review - Icon, The Life,Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe by Gary Vittaco-Robles

Well what can I say about this book except - AMAZING. I have been collecting books on Marilyn Monroe for 24 years now, and I thought that there was nothing left to learn about her, or nothing important anyway. How wrong could I be!!
Almost every chapter brought some new revelation, some new insight into Marilyn and who she was.
Some of the pages on her early life were especially painful to read and I have to admit on more than one occasion I found myself in tears, it is very hard to read about how much some one you love has suffered.
This volume chronicles her life up to and through part of 1956, it is a massive 780 pages long, and yet volume 2 is even longer.
The author covers Marilyn's life in a sympathetic but objective way, and the depth of the author's knowledge and research is clear on every page and the narrative will grip you from page 1 to the end leave you wanting more - so it's a good job that volume 2 will be out soon (news on that as it breaks)
The author gives a brief over view of all of her films for the new fans without it being overdone and dull for those of us who have seen all the films and know a bit about the production.

One thing, there are no photos of Marilyn inside the book!! - But to be honest, with this book they are not needed, we know how beautiful she was- but this is her story and we don't need the pictures to understand her - in this book the words are enough.

Icon is widely available, To order your copy please follow one of the links below:


4.5 out of 5 - If you don't buy this book, you cannot be a serious student of Monroe - MUST HAVE.