To me there has never been anyone in Hollywood that had such a seductive nature as Marilyn Monroe (except for my Mrs. Kitty). I am old school in what I think is attractive. I am not attracted to string beans, I think women should have a little meat on them. It seems that today’s women needs to be a size zero to be considered attractive by society, that’s crazy thinking. Look at Marilyn, how could you think she was anything less than stunning?
As an actress she was sometimes considered a dumb blond and was portrayed that way in many movies, but I am not sure if that title fits. She may have not been a Rhodes Scholar but she was always convincing in her roles. Maybe she was just the reflection of what Hollywood or society had of women during that time. Anyways she acted in 30 or more movies and is considered the sixth greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.
A suspenseful film noir, uncharacteristically shot in color, features MM as the femme fatale. Uncompromising in her sinister portrayal of a young wife plotting against her older husband, MM shows her real talent to act in a dramatic role in this film. Niagara is full of plot twists as MM and her husband in the film, played by Joseph Cotton, continuously double-cross each other, leading to a dark fate for all concerned.
Some Like It Hot (1957)
Billy Wilder’s hugely successful comedy featuring MM as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, a singer and ukulele player in an all-girl band, and Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as two musicians who unwittingly witness a mafia massacre and must flee for their lives, hiding in drag in Sugar Kane’s traveling band.
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
MM stars in this iconic turn as “The Girl” of a married man’s fantastical affections during the dog days of summer in New York. The film is famous for the scene in which MM’s character tries to cool off by standing above a subway vent while the gust of the passing train blows her skirt up. Tom Elwell, who plays her enamored neighbor, is a perfect foil for The Girl’s charms.
Bus Stop (1956)
After studying a year under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio in New York, MM was determined to combat the unfavorable criticism of her acting ability that had plagued her career. The result was Bus Stop, a dramatic piece that highlighted MM’s full range as an actress. As Cherie, a small-town cafe singer with big dreams, MM was able to showcase a range of emotions and distance herself from the one-dimensional comedy/musicals that Hollywood management continuously assigned her.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
A tongue-in-cheek comedy romp about pretty showgirls and their suitors. MM stars as Lorelei Lee who travels along with her best friend, Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell), across the Atlantic on an ocean-liner filled with rich men, imposters, and detectives. The film contains another iconic MM cinema moment as Lorelei sings “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Don’t Bother to Knock (1952)
MM’s first starring role in which she plays a darkly disturbed babysitter, a character far from the lighthearted showgirls and singers that would bring her fame. The violent outbursts and hysteria MM exhibits as Nell Forbes convey a talent for playing an unstable character that was sadly never utilized the rest of her film career.
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
MM’s character, Pola Debevoise, is part of a trio of gold-diggers including Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall) and Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable) who have sworn to never get involved with poor men again. But can they go through with their plans of following their heads instead of their hearts? And is it possible for MM’s character Pola to follow anything when she insists on taking off her glasses and fumbling through life in near-sighted blindness?
The Prince and the Showgirl (1957)
Unfortunately the film as a whole suffers from a slow pace, but that does not detract from MM’s performance as Elsie Marina, a showgirl wooed by the Prince Regent of Carpathia (Lawrence Olivier). This film is a rare case where it is easy to contrast the performances of an actor from the stage (Olivier) and an actor from the screen (Monroe). Although Olivier’s reputation as one of the greatest actors of the 20th Century is well-established, it is MM who shines on the screen here, giving evidence to the assertion that acting for the stage and the screen are two separate talents.
The Misfits (1961)
A depressing look at the end of the legend of the American West, written by Arthur Miller (MM’s third husband) and directed by John Huston. Co-starring Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift as cowboys at different stages of their lives, the film’s heart is centered directly on MM’s character, Rosalyn Tabor, who voices the dismay and tragedy felt by all as they live through the times of broken dreams and abandonment.
All About Eve (1950)
All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle (1950) were the first films that brought MM to the attention of Hollywood movie executives. Although her role as Miss Claudia Caswell, a graduate of the Copacabana School of the Dramatic Arts, in All About Eve does not have much screen time, it is interesting to watch the film with the foresight we have today of the legend that MM would eventually become. In this role as in many others that were to follow, she plays a starlet with dreams of showbiz fame but here she is strategically juxtaposed with the film’s real ambitious star-to-be, the title character Eve. Miss Claudia’s beauty far surpasses Eve’s, but there is an innocence to Miss Claudia’s character that conveys her flirting and shimmying around to gain attention would stop at some moral point, unlike Eve’s intentions which have no moral boundaries.