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Not a Marilyn-phile


David Proulx
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After watching The Brothers Karamazov, Alicia said that Marilyn Monroe desperately wanted the role of Grushenka, but didn’t get the part. She then said that Maria Schell did a good job, but would love to have seen Marilyn in the role. First off, Maria Schell did a great job and was sexy, sexy, sexy! Monroe could never have pulled that off. Secondly, and maybe I’m alone on this(?), but I have never understood what was so exceptional about Marilyn Monroe, and the 50+ year post mortem obsession over her. I never thought she was the most beautiful actress of even her time, let alone all time, and that breathy, dumb blonde voice was the equivalent of cringe-worthy baby talk. Also, she was hardly the Katherine Hepburn or Meryl Streep of her generation. Lastly, this is the second time I’ve seen this movie, and what I came away wondering each time is why Maria Schell’s career didn’t take off in America.

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49 minutes ago, David Proulx said:

Lastly, this is the second time I’ve seen this movie, and what I came away wondering each time is why Maria Schell’s career didn’t take off in America.

Because Maria Schell was no Marilyn Monroe (for one thing)!

Marilyn Monroe, for me, was, still is, and shall always be the ne plus ultra of Hollywood bombshells (and my ideal of womanly beauty). To paraphrase Harlan Ellison out of context: Marilyn Monroe was (and still is, as far as I'm concerned) surely the reason men were given eyes.

I don't care whether Monroe is considered a great or a lousy actress. For me, her thespian skills were secondary and, quite frankly, inconsequential (although I happen to think that Monroe was a better actress than some people think she was). She was an icon -- a goddess!

. . . and all that is required of a goddess is to inspire and provoke worship, adoration, and idolization!

To quote Sam Spade out of context, Marilyn Monroe was "the [hot] stuff that dreams are made of."

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Something to remember is that Marilyn was a contract player for most of her career. As her career went on she became bolder about resisting some of the dreck Fox wanted to assign her to and asking for roles which appealed to her. They were more interested in maximizing their investment in the short term than they were in helping her grow as an actress. In some ways they actively worked against her, which must have further fueled some of her basic insecurities. From the beginning Marilyn sought out dramatic coaches independent of the studio, and Fox took a very dim view. She was forced to ridicule herself in There's No Business Like Show Business, in which her character, a showgirl, had foolish "pretentions" of learning to act with a dramatic coach. When Marilyn became particularly vocal about roles, they tried to ignite the careers of Jayne Mansfield, Sheree North and others as potential "new Marilyns". In Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, the Mansfield character had run away to New York (just as Marilyn escaped Fox to study at The Actor's Studio) because they wanted her to do "some crazy movie about Russian brothers". Their way of sticking it to Marilyn for practically begging (and very publicly, at that) that Fox loan her to MGM to do The Brothers Karamazov. She had read the book, she knew what she was asking for, and she genuinely wanted the opportunity. If Fox had been smart, Marilyn would have been allowed to test her wings on someone else's dime and she could have returned to them with an enhanced reputation and greater value as an asset of the studio. Personally, I'm not at all convinced that "Marilyn could never have pulled that off." I agree with Alicia; I would love to have seen Marilyn in the role. Interestingly, Marilyn had a prior personal (supposedly romantic and intimate) relationship with Yul Brynner from their time in New York when he was on Broadway in The King and I, so who knows what that might have added to the mix. Marilyn was determined to expand her talent and she did, without question. She was an exquisite comedienne and a deft ensemble player when given the right material in films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire and, in later dramatic roles like Bus Stop and The Misfits, she left the "baby talk" in the dust. (She did an iffy project like Let's Make Love to fulfill her Fox contract and get them off her back.) At the time of her death she was scheduled for a meeting in New York to discuss the lead role in a television production of Somerset Maugham's Rain, so it doesn't seem as though she ever really took her eye off the ball, regardless of the havoc her personal demons caused in her life.  It doesn't make sense to compare her to Katharine Hepburn or Meryl Streep (who never had to deal with an entrenched studio system). Marilyn was unique and multi-faceted and it shouldn't take a strict Marilyn-phile to see that. 

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I guess I respectfully disagree, guys. There are very many actresses I found more beautiful, and many I found sexier than Marilyn Monroe, before, during and after her era. Yes, I would take Maria Schell over her eight days a week, and yes, there's a difference between beautiful & sexy. Sure, she was beautiful and sexy (when not using 'the voice'), but I never found Marilyn a must see attraction in either category. It's a matter of taste, I guess, and I'm clearly in the minority, as media-driven as I think her lasting "mystique" is significantly based. I'm sure I'm not alone on this, though. I just don't get the gaga over her --- nearly 60 years later, no less!

She wasn't a horrible actress, but I wouldn't call her a good one either. She got by on the roles she was given, and, at times, it looked like she was stretching her limits. I personally think she would have embarassed herself playing Grushenka. Some don't care whether she was a good actress or not. I do. For me, talent, depth and intelligence add a great deal to any woman's sexiness. She displayed none of those for me, so ...... eh.

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1 minute ago, David Proulx said:

I guess I respectfully disagree, guys. There are very many actresses I found more beautiful, and many I found sexier than Marilyn Monroe, before, during and after her era. Yes, I would take Maria Schell over her eight days a week, and yes, there's a difference between beautiful & sexy. Sure she was beautiful and sexy (when not using 'the voice'), but I never found Marilyn a must see attraction in either category. It's a matter of taste, I guess, and I'm clearly in the minority, as media-driven as I think her lasting "mystique" is significantly based. I'm sure I'm not alone on this, though. I just don't get the gaga over her --- nearly 60 years later, no less!

She wasn't a horrible actress, but I wouldn't call her a good one either. She got by on the roles she was given, and, at times, it looked like she was stretching her limits. I personally think she would have embarassed herself playing Grushenka. Some don't care whether she was a good actress or not. I do. For me, talent, depth and intelligence add a great deal to any woman's sexiness. She displayed none of those for me, so ...... eh.

I tend to agree with you.     I found Monroe compelling in a few films:   Don't Bother to Knock,   Niagara (the film I believe she looks the most sexy),  River of No Return,  and The Misfits,  but otherwise she was just another product of Hollywood as far as I'm concerned.     What I like about her screen persona in these films was her vulnerability.   She was good at conveying that with just how she reacted to the other actors  (i.e.  not per-se the actual dialog).

As for based-on-looks-alone:   her full figure body was sexy and I can see that being viewed as a standard for a female body.    But I find her face to be good,  but not in the gorgeous type category like I find many other actresses of her generation.

Ok,  she was clearly the best of the blonde bombshells,  but is that really saying much? 

 

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22 hours ago, David Proulx said:

I guess I respectfully disagree, guys. There are very many actresses I found more beautiful, and many I found sexier than Marilyn Monroe, before, during and after her era. Yes, I would take Maria Schell over her eight days a week, and yes, there's a difference between beautiful & sexy. Sure, she was beautiful and sexy (when not using 'the voice'), but I never found Marilyn a must see attraction in either category. It's a matter of taste, I guess, and I'm clearly in the minority, as media-driven as I think her lasting "mystique" is significantly based. I'm sure I'm not alone on this, though. I just don't get the gaga over her --- nearly 60 years later, no less!

She wasn't a horrible actress, but I wouldn't call her a good one either. She got by on the roles she was given, and, at times, it looked like she was stretching her limits. I personally think she would have embarassed herself playing Grushenka. Some don't care whether she was a good actress or not. I do. For me, talent, depth and intelligence add a great deal to any woman's sexiness. She displayed none of those for me, so ...... eh.

I agree to disagree. What I found frustrating in your original post was your appraisal of her almost entirely in terms of visual esthetics. I get that the main thrust of your post was to champion Maria Schell, but then why title the thread "Not a Marilyn-phile" and then so thoroughly downgrade Monroe? You're right that part of her lasting mystique is media-driven since her image and name have been licensed around the world for decades, and if you think that's how Marilyn's reputation stands or falls, then so be it. To parse the difference between beautiful and sexy seems to me pointless; yes, it's a matter of taste, but it's a very limited frame of reference which leaves so much unaccounted for in terms of Marilyn's legacy. With no particulars, you're now saying she wasn't a good actress, she "got by", she sometimes visibly stretched her limits, she would have embarrassed herself as Grushenka, and she had no talent, depth or intelligence. You're pretty clear in your opinions in a broad, general sense, but you're not offering much on a granular level. Your post displayed none of that for me, so.... eh.

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13 hours ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I tend to agree with you.     I found Monroe compelling in a few films:   Don't Bother to Knock,   Niagara (the film I believe she looks the most sexy),  River of No Return,  and The Misfits,  but otherwise she was just another product of Hollywood as far as I'm concerned.     What I like about her screen persona in these films was her vulnerability.   She was good at conveying that with just how she reacted to the other actors  (i.e.  not per-se the actual dialog).

As for based-on-looks-alone:   her full figure body was sexy and I can see that being viewed as a standard for a female body.    But I find her face to be good,  but not in the gorgeous type category like I find many other actresses of her generation.

Ok,  she was clearly the best of the blonde bombshells,  but is that really saying much? 

Again, agreeing to disagree. You and I have agreed on so much over the years that I'm happy to stay in your corner when we don't agree. People like different things (and persons); it's human nature. If you see her as a construct of the Hollywood studio system who occasionally rose to a challenge, I can accept that. I see her more as a lotus who managed to survive in muck, which made the beauty of her flowering all the more awesome. I guess it's the extent of her actual flowering which is at question. You think only on occasion; David thinks not at all. So, I'll watch (most of) her films with pleasure, you'll watch what appeals to you, and David can watch none of them, as he pleases. C'est la vie.

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12 hours ago, DougieB said:

I agree to disagree. What I found frustrating in your original post was your appraisal of her almost entirely in terms of visual esthetics. I get that the main thrust of your post was to champion Maria Schell, but then why title the thread "Not a Marilyn-phile" and then so thoroughly downgrade Monroe? You're right that part of her lasting mystique is media-driven since her image and name have been licensed around the world for decades, and if you think that's how Marilyn's reputation stands or falls, then so be it. To parse the difference between beautiful and sexy seems to me pointless; yes, it's a matter of taste, but it's a very limited frame of reference which leaves so much unaccounted for in terms of Marilyn's legacy. With no particulars, you're now saying she wasn't a good actress, she "got by", she sometimes visibly stretched her limits, she would have embarrassed herself as Grushenka, and she had no talent, depth or intelligence. You're pretty clear in your opinions in a broad, general sense, but you're not offering much on a granular level. Your post displayed none of that for me, so.... eh.

Yes, it's all subjective. Since I'm in the decided minority, I think, I'll probably get more dissenting comments than kudos. You did comment on some of mine that you seemed puzzled about, so:

The reason I titled the original post “Not a Marilyn-phile” was because of Alicia’s almost flippant assessment of Schell’s performance (she “did a good job”), and how she so readily offered how she’d “have loved to have Marilyn in the role”. I thought to myself, “Is there no end to this incessant, over-the-top adoration for her?”. I believe, had she not died so untimely, absolutely none of this undying reverence would exist. She would be thought of as a top beauty of her time, and there would just be fond memories of her by a fairly small fraction of the flock of fans she has today. I suppose the post's title and majority sentences adressed more the persistent, and what I deem undeserving, quasi svengali-like devotion to her, than Monroe herself.

Why parse out beauty and sexiness, you ask? There are pretty actresses who aren't stunningly gorgeous, but are supremely sexy who I could watch on a loop, and there are top-end beauties who are great to look at, but aren't nearly as sexy.  I thought that would be obvious, since she is referred to as both a timeless beauty AND a sexpot (adorers often cite each individually), and the two aren't necessarily mutually inclusive. I just made the point that I never found her to be irrisistably attractive either way. 

I'm not sure what you'd be look for from me, in term of a "granular level". Specifics of which movies I thought she was better in than others? I enjoyed many movies she was in, but she is not the draw for me in any of them. I actually like her best in Clash by Night, where she was understated and believable. Again, she wasn't asked to do that much in it. I was never in love with that cartoonish persona, which was her stock-in-trade, with the breathy/dumb-blonde/baby-talk voice. I don't know if there are any serious claims or a consensus the she was a good actress. Not called a bad actress, but ..... Did you want names of actresses I like better? I don't see the point in that.

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Thank you for finally mentioning a movie and a performance. My major dissatisfaction with your posts has been that, here on the Films and Filmmakers Forum, you've basically only spoken of her physicality and public image. You're not impressed; that's fine. There are some actresses who don't impress me. Comes with the territory. I'm not as aware as you seem to be of the "incessant, over-the-top adoration of her" and "undying reverence" from her "adorers". Often when I've seen her name and image over the years it's been through some tabloid rehash of her death and Kennedy connection, darker stuff which hardly signals adoration. I'm very aware that there are things about her life, career and person which are regrettable (and may even have been so to herself), but the bottom line is that I'm what you seem to abhor, a Marilyn fan. No surprise there. You're a Maria Schell fan, so you must at least be able to relate on that level.  I've had my say, you've had yours, so what do you say we call this off? I'm not really interested in defending Marilyn to someone who's sick of hearing it and I doubt you'd welcome any further onslaught of adoration from me. Maybe start a Maria Schell thread and talk about what you really want to talk about? I'm sure you'd have a few takers, and probably not ones who'd be as combative as I've been. Best of luck. (And welcome to the Boards, by the way. Sorry your very first post got you so much blowback from yours truly.)

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On 7/13/2021 at 5:44 PM, David Proulx said:

. . . It's a matter of taste, I guess, and I'm clearly in the minority, as media-driven as I think her lasting "mystique" is significantly based. I'm sure I'm not alone on this, though. I just don't get the gaga over her --- nearly 60 years later, no less!

. . . Since I'm in the decided minority, I think, I'll probably get more dissenting comments than kudos.

And if you're in the minority, so what?

And if you are not alone on not being gaga over Marilyn Monroe (and I'm absolutely certain that you are not alone), so what?

As you accurately acknowledged, "It's a matter of taste." De gustibus non est disputandum!

What does it matter whether you are alone and in the minority or not? You like what you like and don't like what you don't like. The "majority's" opinions and tastes matter not one whit and have (or should have, IMO) absolutely no bearing on one's personal preferences and pleasures.

. . . at least, that's my attitude.

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I feel Monroe was not very good in some of her films. She was evolving from a technical standpoint as an actress and sometimes her choices were all wrong. In other films, she was better.

But for the most part she seems overhyped...though I don't deny she became a legend (more so after her death). 

My theory about her post-mortem "success" is that people have short attention spans, short memories and only want to remember four or five "important" names to act like they know about 50s Hollywood-- so the names from that era, which get repeated all the time are Brando, Monroe, Dean, Presley and Sinatra.

As we all know, there were many-many-many skilled actors and singers from that particular generation, some of them whose talent may have exceeded these five household names.

The other thing is that these names compete with future names. So 500 years from now, there will be 500 years worth of iconic names that may replace these five.  Eventually, with time, Marilyn Monroe gets put into proper perspective.

Of course if you like Marilyn Monroe, good for you. But if you don't like Marilyn Monroe, that's okay too, because you can pick your own star to celebrate.

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Marilyn  Monroe  was  not  like  Sophia  Loren  who  had  beauty  and  could  act.  I  believe  Marilyn  was  heading  toward  television, if she  had   stayed  alive.  Marilyn  could  be  placed  in  a  comedy  on  television like  Loni  Anderson.  The  Sixties had  brought  in  an  new  influx  of  actresses  who  were  coming  on  board.  Actresses  like  Jane  Fonda,  Faye  Dunaway,  Catherine  Deneuve  and  Julie  Christie,  Marilyn  would  find  it a  tall  order to  go  head to  head  with  these  talents.  I  liked  her  in  Niagara  as  she    had the  support  of  Joseph  Cotten   to  help  her  in  this  movie.

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9 hours ago, cinemaman said:

Marilyn  Monroe  was  not  like  Sophia  Loren  who  had  beauty  and  could  act.  I  believe  Marilyn  was  heading  toward  television, if she  had   stayed  alive.  Marilyn  could  be  placed  in  a  comedy  on  television like  Loni  Anderson.  The  Sixties had  brought  in  an  new  influx  of  actresses  who  were  coming  on  board.  Actresses  like  Jane  Fonda,  Faye  Dunaway,  Catherine  Deneuve  and  Julie  Christie,  Marilyn  would  find  it a  tall  order to  go  head to  head  with  these  talents.  I  liked  her  in  Niagara  as  she    had the  support  of  Joseph  Cotten   to  help  her  in  this  movie.

I agree. Plus she would have started looking older and like Kim Novak, probably would have resorted to plastic surgery.

Her initial television work would have been special guest roles on shows like Burke's Law and The Virginian. And she would have had cameos in things like Laugh-In or appeared on The Danny Kaye Show or The Red Skelton Hour essentially as herself in a variety format.

By the 70s, she would have been doing TV movies and probably by the 80s she would have done a weekly series (produced by Aaron Spelling) to stay working and continue to be billed as a star. In the 90s, if she was still around, she would have popped up on Friends as one of the mothers.

She would not simply have faded away but she also would not have held on to her status as a motion picture star and box office draw after 1970.

If she did stay in feature films after 1970, it would have been in low budget Hollywood fare or European productions that were not shown in American theaters. But most likely, she would have found a niche in television so she could continue to work in Hollywood with some ongoing prestige.

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I think i give her acting a bit more credit, but i think her time in hollywood was over. studios were done trying to deal with her and i doubt any shoot with her in it would get insurance anymore.  maybe after a few years out of the spotlight some of her friends in the system could find her work, but i see her either working in low-end B films in the late 60's and 70's in sleazy roles burning out a tarnished star or lying low for an extended period and eventually a studio taking a chance on her and she gets a classic swan song film performance.

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Note that Monroe is#6 on the AFI "American screen legends" top 25 actresses;      AFI defines an "American screen legend" as "an actor or a team of actors with a significant screen presence in American feature-length films [films of 40 minutes or more] whose screen debut occurred in or before 1950, or whose screen debut occurred after 1950 but whose death has marked a completed body of work."

Posting this only as an FYI.   

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It is interesting to think about what Marilyn would have gone on to, but any speculation regarding her professional life assumes she would regain mental and spiritual (for lack of a better term) health, or inner contentment. 

She would have been offered - and turned down - "Gilligan's Island" almost certainly.  I like to think she might have been more tempted by Broadway or the theater than by television. Maybe even a Vegas show. She might have taken a stand on Vietnam, perhaps in defense of JFK's legacy. Eventually a tell-all book. Maybe a line of cosmetics or clothing. 

It's also interesting to think that had she lived there would have been no Marilyn character on "The Munsters.* 

As for Maria Schell, I don't think I'd ever hear of her before reading this. 

 

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I always imagined that she'd withdraw from the limelight before she hit 50 .  There would be an occasional snapshot of an older Marilyn making the papers.  While fun to speculate, I can't see her continuing in schlocky movies or guest starring on tv shows.   She seemed somewhat sad, so I can see her chucking it all and  retiring to a ranch (maybe with some chickens and horses) away from the public. 

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2 hours ago, Peebs said:

I always imagined that she'd withdraw from the limelight before she hit 50 .  There would be an occasional snapshot of an older Marilyn making the papers.  While fun to speculate, I can't see her continuing in schlocky movies or guest starring on tv shows.   She seemed somewhat sad, so I can see her chucking it all and  retiring to a ranch (maybe with some chickens and horses) away from the public. 

Kind of like Clara Bow. Retire to ranch life with a good husband. Why not? 

But assuming she had the mental capacity and the energy to continue working, there's no reason to rule out movies. She would have been mid-30s to mid-40s in the next 10 year chapter of her life, still attractive. No reason her character couldn't have matured into wifely roles, or worldy-wise older woman parts. She could have done Sylvia Miles's part in "Midnight Cowboy." 

 

 

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I'm not sure, but I don't think her estate was all that sizeable at the time of her death, so she would have needed something supplementary, whether it was movie work or something else. Her predecessors at Fox, Alice Faye and Betty Grable, both seem to have retired comfortably and happily, with occasional forays back into the limelight which would then become an event, such as Alice Faye's appearance as Pat Boone's mother in State Fair (1962). I don't think live theater was in the cards for Marilyn, given her well-documented performance anxieties, but she was an enthusiastic attendee of Vegas venues to see the likes of Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and Marlene Dietrich, so it's possible a show could have been fashioned for her in which she would have been comfortable. She certainly had a repertoire of musical numbers on which to draw. 

Marilyn had married the towering sports figure of her day and (arguably) the foremost playwright, so it's not inconceivable to me that Marilyn could have married a wealthy man who could help ease her out of films rather than suffer a slow decline, as other actresses like Greer Garson had done. Kim Novak also got out "while the getting was good". I'm also thinking of Cary Grant, who was asked to join the board of Faberge and who became one of the first celebrity brand ambassadors (with apologies to Joan and Pepsi) Grant represented the brand at events all over the world and generated an enormous amount of good will for them. Who would have been more of a natural than Marilyn to pioneer what has now become a staple in the fragrance and cosmetic worlds, the celebrity spokesperson? It might have been a whole different ballgame if she herself had had some control over how her name and image were used. All that ended up in the hands of Lee Strasberg, then subsequently in the hands of his second wife and her heirs, who apparently weren't shy about making a buck. 

The bottom line is that I'm not really comfortable speculating about what might have been, because it involves a Marilyn we don't know and can't know. The Marilyn we know messed up sometimes in her life and career, but I think that gave her a relatability which undergirds the iconic "sex siren" status and the "tragic waif" persona subsequent generations have saddled her with.  Something which isn't spoken about enough is her appeal to women as well as men. Yes, men gave the wolf whistles and made her the subject of off-color jokes, but women made up a loyal part of her audience, then and, I suspect, now. Gloria Steinem did a major reappraisal of Marilyn in the 1970's, emphasizing the self-determinative power in some of the characters she played and in the eventual role she played/tried to play in shaping her own career in an almost entirely male-dominated industry.  In The Seven Year Itch, which was essentially self-indulgent male fantasy run riot, Marilyn had played "The Girl", not even a named character, yet "The Girl" called the shots and stayed true to herself, and women responded. (I know there are many smart, thoughtful women on these Boards, so please correct me if you think I'm wrong.) Marilyn doesn't exist today as an image or as a commercial entity simply because she stirred men's lust; she resonated with a broader range of people for a broader range of reasons. In the end, at least to movie fans, it's the films which count. As Margo Channing said: "The proof's in the pudding, Bub."

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2 hours ago, DougieB said:

Marilyn doesn't exist today as an image or as a commercial entity simply because she stirred men's lust; she resonated with a broader range of people for a broader range of reasons. In the end, at least to movie fans, it's the films which count. As Margo Channing said: "The proof's in the pudding, Bub."

I assume those that voted for that AFI poll were "movie fans" and it is clear that "it's the films which count" was NOT their main criteria for this type of ranking.     I.e. I would hope we would agree that based sticky on an actors film legacy,    Monroe wouldn't be #6.     (or Liz Taylor at #7).      

As for The Seven Year Itch;    Have you read about the push back with regards to the Monroe statue in Palm Springs.     Palm Springs has a large gay community and many of the city leaders are gay.   (if you're ever there go to Toucans a great bar\dance place that has the most open and sexually diverse vibe of any place I have ever been too).    The overall riff is how can gay men be so clueless with regards to sexist and sexual exploration of a female.     I don't have a stand on this.   I just find it yet another interesting cancel-culture discussion related to how historical culture figures are viewed today.

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I assume those that voted for that AFI poll were "movie fans" and it is clear that "it's the films which count" was NOT their main criteria for this type of ranking.     I.e. I would hope we would agree that based sticky on an actors film legacy,    Monroe wouldn't be #6.     (or Liz Taylor at #7).      

As for The Seven Year Itch;    Have you read about the push back with regards to the Monroe statue in Palm Springs.     Palm Springs has a large gay community and many of the city leaders are gay.   (if you're ever there go to Tuscans a great bar\dance place that has the most open and sexually diverse vibe of any place I have ever been too).    The overall riff is how can gay men be so clueless with regards to sexist and sexual exploration of a female.     I don't have a stand on this.   I just find it yet another interesting cancel-culture discussion related to how historical culture figures are viewed today.

 

 

 

I've seen the statue and just wondered why it has to be so huge.  It is a fitting image of her to make a statue out of, but think it would do her  justice as a life-size statue, not the giant behemoth that comes across as tacky and leaves you looking up her dress.

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1 hour ago, jamesjazzguitar said:

I assume those that voted for that AFI poll were "movie fans" and it is clear that "it's the films which count" was NOT their main criteria for this type of ranking.     I.e. I would hope we would agree that based sticky on an actors film legacy,    Monroe wouldn't be #6.     (or Liz Taylor at #7).      

As for The Seven Year Itch;    Have you read about the push back with regards to the Monroe statue in Palm Springs.     Palm Springs has a large gay community and many of the city leaders are gay.   (if you're ever there go to Tuscans a great bar\dance place that has the most open and sexually diverse vibe of any place I have ever been too).    The overall riff is how can gay men be so clueless with regards to sexist and sexual exploration of a female.     I don't have a stand on this.   I just find it yet another interesting cancel-culture discussion related to how historical culture figures are viewed today.

Hadn't heard about the statue but just checked it out. The literal veneration of that image probably began with Tommy (1975).  The original context of the film image is so New York-centric that I'm not sure why Palm Springs would adopt it, except that they see it as a step up from those giant chairs lots of places have for tourists to pose next to. I don't find it offensive because I remember the movie character's refreshing glee in the experience, but actual context doesn't seem to matter much in these cultural "crises".  We'd probably all be better off keeping our mouths shut entirely these days. (Not really.)

There's so much that's debatable about the AFI list of "legends" (including its need to exist) that I concede your point that their actual films were NOT the main criteria.

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1 hour ago, DougieB said:

Hadn't heard about the statue but just checked it out. The literal veneration of that image probably began with Tommy (1975).  The original context of the film image is so New York-centric that I'm not sure why Palm Springs would adopt it, except that they see it as a step up from those giant chairs lots of places have for tourists to pose next to. I don't find it offensive because I remember the movie character's refreshing glee in the experience, but actual context doesn't seem to matter much in these cultural "crises".  We'd probably all be better off keeping our mouths shut entirely these days. (Not really.)

There's so much that's debatable about the AFI list of "legends" (including its need to exist) that I concede your point that their actual films were NOT the main criteria.

I agree about the AFI list of "legends".    At least they offer some type of description of the so called criteria for inclusion.     Related to Monroe;  I have a wall of American Studio-era actors.    Some are clearly my favorites (for their acting chops like Bette Davis),  but some others I just like but found the photo iconic (e.g. Veronica Lake and her 40s hairdo represents the 40s era).    Anyhow when I have people over they find this wall interesting and of  course try to guess who-is-who.     Most can only name a few,   and the vast majority ask "no Monroe"?     That prompts me to ask why-are-you-asking.   The main reason is that they are aware of Monroe as a cultural icon,  but when I ask if they have seen any of her films the answer is typically NO.

Of course most of these folks have only seen Wizard of Oz,  and It's A Wonderful Life when it comes to films from the 30s - 50s. 

 

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On 7/20/2021 at 2:34 PM, jamesjazzguitar said:

I agree about the AFI list of "legends".    At least they offer some type of description of the so called criteria for inclusion.     Related to Monroe;  I have a wall of American Studio-era actors.    Some are clearly my favorites (for their acting chops like Bette Davis),  but some others I just like but found the photo iconic (e.g. Veronica Lake and her 40s hairdo represents the 40s era).    Anyhow when I have people over they find this wall interesting and of  course try to guess who-is-who.     Most can only name a few,   and the vast majority ask "no Monroe"?     That prompts me to ask why-are-you-asking.   The main reason is that they are aware of Monroe as a cultural icon,  but when I ask if they have seen any of her films the answer is typically NO.

Of course most of these folks have only seen Wizard of Oz,  and It's A Wonderful Life when it comes to films from the 30s - 50s. 

I don't have any of the Marilyn studio glamor shots in my collection either. I like some of the photo shoots she did later in life and some of the candids friends took, especially a formal portrait she commissioned right before her death with the dog she teasingly called "Maf", a gift from Frank Sinatra. (I like Marilyn and I like dogs. What can I say?) There's a heart-breaking picture in one of the biographies of Maf being led away from the house after Marilyn's body had been removed.

 

 

marilyn-maff.jpg

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The  American  Film  Institute  is  going  to  have  to  do  an update  on their list of stars. Where is  people  like  Meryl  Streep,  Jack  Nicholson,  Al  Pacino,  Jessica Lange, Frances  McDormand,  Anthony  Hopkins and  others. The  old  format  for  actresses   left off  some  big names  Rosalind  Russell,  Myrna  Loy,  Irene  Dunne,  Susan  Hayward, Doris  Day and  many more.  AFI   is  going  to   have    change  their  criteria  on  who  makes  the  list  in  the  future.  

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