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"My Week With Marilyn" (2011)


joefilmone
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I'm so jealous that you've seen this. I live on Cape Cod and this is exactly the kind of movie that never even makes it onto the peninsula, let alone a local theater. Oh well. I'm dying to know how the film handles the Strasbergs, for one thing. And Miller? I'm sure you're right about Branagh.

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What do you know? I actually got to see this without travelling two hours. I agree that the movie has a romantic, sympathetic view of Monroe, but in fairness, we only see what he (Colin) saw. From other accounts, there was a fairly explosive, paranoid side to Marilyn at this time, which I'm mentioning only because it would have been interesting to see fuller hints of that. But, it's Colin's story as much as Marilyn's, and I'm glad we have it. The biggest problem I had with the film was in the recreation of scenes from "The Prince And The Showgirl". The muted color palette the movie chose was good for the period and for the intimate scale of the story, but in Jack Cardiff's cinematography Marilyn literally glowed and shimmered, so it was disconcerting to see the pale representations here. Michelle Williams was a factor in that too. As good as she was and as convincing as she was as the character, in the movie recreations, even given the fact that many of them would have been out-takes, except for a few scenes such as the one in which she sang to Olivier, she simply didn't register as one of the ultimate screen goddesses of all time. I forget who introduced the term "flesh impact' to describe the indefinable effect some faces have on the movie screen, but Marilyn is always one of those rare few who are always mentioned as having had it. Any actress, even one as radiant as Michelle Williams, would be hard-pressed to come close to that. I liked that they gave her a slight belly and wider hips because, even apart from the pregnancy, Marilyn was a little zaftig in those years of New York living. The performance clips that start and end the movie were intriguing, though they had no real parallel in Marilyn's career. It made me wonder if maybe Marilyn couldn't have transitioned to having a back-up career in Vegas as many of her contemporaries did. She certainly had Vegas connections and one of the biggest marquee names in the world. Anyway, I was mostly charmed by the film. I had read his first book but not his second, so I was very interested to see what happened when they "went there".

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks be to TCM for showing "The Prince And The Showgirl" again. We've heard so many stories over the years about how some of Marilyn's later performances had to be literally pieced together, but her freshness and alertness in "Showgirl" is unmistakeable. She carried off some very difficult longer passages, such as the scene where she is simultaneously rushing downstairs to the door and telling the regent's aide that she was set up to think it was a dinner party, not dinner for two. The scene showing her simply reading the invitation was also a performace, with distict emotions playing across her face. It's also telling that her one-on-one scenes with minor players show a true professional at work; these scenes have a real intimacy that Olivier could have appropriated for his own scenes with her. Marilyn was delighful in the film, to the point that it's somewhat puzzling that it's generally been considered a career misstep and a lesser part of her body of work. I'm afraid that "My Week With Marilyn" may only contribute to that, with its emphasis on how conflicted and tentative Marilyn was on the set and how little invested in the outcome. Again, my biggest argument with "My Week With Marilyn" is in the recreations of scenes from "The Prince And The Showgirl". In comparison to the same scenes in the actual film, the recreations not only pale in comparison but may actually mislead unfamiliar viewers about the high quality of Marilyn's work. Whether or not she found herself in a miserable working and domestic environment, Marilyn pulled off an outstanding personal triumph in "TPATS" and I'm glad the film is out there for people to see for themselves the quality of her work.

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