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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Marilyn Monroe. Actress.

Marilyn could read?!  You bet she could.  In fact, she was an avid reader
preferring books on philosophy, religion and history...  Who knew?

What kind of title is that?  Well, I shall explain...  The icon that is Marilyn Monroe has long eclipsed the actress.  We are so used to the endless images, the tales of substance abuse, affairs with the Kennedys and erratic behavior that we might have forgotten to consider Ms. Monroe for the actress that she was.  And, judging from some of the movies I've recently re-viewed, she was really quite good.

Take for instance Niagara.  Paired with Joseph Cotten she plays the part of a scheming, conniving wife admirably.  In front of others she appears frightened, wounded even.  But, behind closed doors, you can see why Joseph Cotten makes for the falls every morning.  Niagara has a few Hitchcock-like moments and is great fun to watch.  Suspenseful, beautifully shot and well cast, it's a great way to spend an evening.

How to Marry a Millionaire has so many terrific performances that it's hard to pick out one for special mention.  Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, William Powell and David Wayne are marvelous (so is everyone else) and Marilyn Monroe plays the dumb blond splendidly.  Blind as a bat, Marilyn doesn't want potential suitors to see her with her glasses on.  While this leads to some truly funny moments, it's when she meets fellow four-eyed wonder David Wayne on an airplane (the wrong airplane - she couldn't read the signs) that her character gets to show the native intelligence she hides under that ditzy act.  In Millionaire, Marilyn is at her charming best.

Monroe shines in other pictures as well...  Favorites are her quick turns in All About Eve, We're Not Married and Monkey Business where she plays opposite such greats as Bette David, Claudette Colbert and Cary Grant.  And, perhaps best of all, The Seven Year Itch where she serves as Tom Ewell's summertime fantasy.

Even if you think you know everything about Marilyn Monroe's movies, take a minute to watch some of them again.  They're terrific fun and worth the time!

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