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By Jess Fenton
12th March 2019

Marilyn Monroe - born Norma Jeane Mortenson on the 1st June 1926, died 5th August 1962 at aged 36. Monroe was married three times, had no children, was a highly successful actress, was a sought-after sex symbol and remains an icon to this day. She also has 33 film and television credits to her name and her pictures grossed over $200 million... from the 1950s!

Now, what all that means to me? Marilyn Monroe died 22 years before I was born. Her last film came out 23 years before I was born. I know her real name is Norma Jean because of Elton John. And I know who Arthur Miller is because I, along with millions of other children, were forced to study his works in high school. To this day, their relationship makes absolutely no sense to me. She made that movie with the dress and the subway grate. She sings a mean rendition of 'Happy Birthday'. Michelle Williams did an incredible job (I assume) portraying the troubled icon in the film ‘My Week With Marilyn’. I loved (although it was technically awful) the show ‘Smash’ about the conceiving, writing and producing of a Broadway musical about the blonde bombshell. She allegedly had an affair with JFK. Was an addict and said addiction eventually cost her her life. You see, for me, I know more about the infamous Ms Monroe than the famous Marilyn Monroe. So is it really so inconceivable, so bad, that I have never seen a Marilyn Monroe movie in my entire life? (Please don’t yell at me!)

March 2019 marks 60 years since the release of the seminal classic ‘Some Like It Hot’, the film that won Monroe her most prestigious award - a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. I’ve owned a box set of six MM movies including ‘Bus Stop’ and ‘Gentleman Prefer Blondes’ for years, and up until this past weekend it had remained unopened. So in honour of this anniversary, I decided to sit myself and my 27-year-old boyfriend (and fellow Marilyn virgin) down to pop our cherries, so to speak. What follows are our thought, ideas and conversations that occurred during our Sunday night on the couch. Enjoy.


JESS: Tony Curtis! Oh god, I’ve never seen a Tony Curtis film either! Wait, does ‘Clueless’ count?

JESS: And Jack Lemmon!? I’ve only ever known him from the ‘Grumpy Old Men’ films. Oh my god, I love those movies! We should have a mini marathon.

JESS: “Miss Monroe’s Gowns By”. Ha! I don’t know why I love that but I do.

JESS: Beginning credits during this era seem so weird to me.

JESS: Billy Wilder! Fuck I’ve never seen one of his movies either! Oh god, I’m going to get massacred online. (Does quick Google search) Oh no, I’m good. I’ve seen ‘Sabrina', duh! and half of ‘The Apartment’. …Nope, they’re still gonna kill me.

JESS: Both those mob guys have really saggy skin. My god, look at his nose!
THE BOY: It’s like their skin is too big for their skull.

JESS: Cinematography wasn’t really a thing back then, was it?

JESS: Mozarella’s Funeral Parlour. LOL. My cheese is not your joke!

JESS: Ooooo this is set during the prohibition. Which one is the Beer Barron? Ha!

JESS: “I want another cup of coffee.” Today that would actually mean... “I want another cup of coffee”

JESS: Worst undercover cop ever!

JESS: Hahahaaaa! That coffee guy is the best!

JESS: “Embalming people with coffee.” That’s a funny line. Why am I so surprised by this film having decent humour?

JESS: How good are fire escapes!? Why doesn’t Australia have them like that?
THE BOY: I was just thinking that too!

THE BOY: He kicked his toothpick out. Toothpick is no longer Toothpick.
JESS: He’s so hardcore.

JESS: You never really appreciate the true artistry of foley until you watch one of these old school movies.

JESS: Tony looks great but Jack does not make an attractive woman.

JESS: There she is! There she is!
THE BOY: So fluffy. So lux. Even the train is hitting on her.

JESS: The boob lift. Classic. Go get 'em, girls. Up and out.

THE BOY: So this is like the original ‘White Chicks’.

JESS: Marilyn is like a secret alcoholic in this movie? …Awkies.

JESS: Sugar Kane? Sounds like a James Bond character.

THE BOY: That’s terrible fake bass playing.

So is it really so inconceivable, so bad, that I have never seen a Marilyn Monroe movie in my entire life?

JESS: Ok, Jack Lemmon’s laugh is getting annoying now.

THE BOY: Yep, he’s definitely going to smash one out.
JESS: Gross!

THE BOY: I’m enjoying this so far. I’m not gonna lie.
JESS: That’s good Bubba. You’re allowed to like it.

JESS: Awwww! Cock-block deluxe!

THE BOY: That one...
JESS: Jack Lemmon?
THE BOY: Yeah. He’s really scary in the female makeup. And that smile. He looks like The Joker.

JESS: 25 in June? (Does quick Google search) Marilyn was 33 when she made this. Playing a character almost 10 years younger than she actually was. Nice!

JESS: My god! The men in this movie! ...Nope, seems about right. (sighs)

JESS: Oooooo, he stole Beanstalks stuff. Clever.

JESS: I can’t tell if Tony’s accent is supposed to be English or South African. My guess is English but it’s really, really bad.

JESS: Huh, I always thought it was the bra that made women’s boobs that shape but she’s not wearing one here and they’re still... you know, pointy and cone shaped.

JESS/THE BOY: Earrings!

JESS: That had better be faux fur Miss Monroe!

JESS: Nope. Still no idea what accent he's going for.

JESS: She’s got great boobs! They’re not flopping all over the shop at all!

THE BOYS: Her costumes are so... sensual compared to everyone else.
JESS: Well her gowns are by... someone.

JESS: I get it. I mean, I get it... I get it. Do you get it?
THE BOY: Are you okay?
JESS: Yeah, I’m just having a moment. I can feel myself sliding on the Kinsey scale as we speak. So you don’t get it?
THE BOY: Of course I do! Look at her! But she’s blonde. I prefer brunettes.
JESS: Oh shut up, ya suck up.

JESS: How good is Jack Lemmon!

JESS: Wait, if these guys were broke then where did the wigs and clothes and stuff come from?

JESS: What are spats? (Does quick Google search) Yeah, thank god they fell out of fashion.

THE BOY: The guys learnt to run in heels really well. It’s actually quite impressive.
JESS: Oh my god! I was just thinking that!

JESS: They always choose the worst possible time to run.

(Nothing for a good 20 minutes because we were so engrossed in this fabulous movie!)

THE BOY: Oooo, that's interesting. I wonder how people took that ending back in the day.

JESS: Why do none of these people care about the lies!? My god, if this was made today they'd spend half an hour sulking over it with their roommates and alcohol until I wanted to shoot myself because they’re going to forgive each other and end up together anyway. No, I get it now. This way is much better.

JESS: I really loved that! I don't know why my voice is so high right now. Why am I always so surprised when I like old movies? I don't even understand my own expectations. But Marilyn was great. I kinda hoped her behind-the-camera life would be noticeable on screen. How sick is it that I’m disappointed it’s not. But no, i genuinely loved that. I can’t wait to watch the others in the box set now.
THE BOY: I’m a big fan of it. It gets my thumbs up. It’s so ridiculous, you can’t take it seriously, but it’s a fantastic ride. She was over-sexualised. But I guess that’s how they crafted her at the time. It was ludicrous, but good I suppose. I liked her in it.

RELEASE DATE: 19/03/1959
RUN TIME: 02h 01m
CAST: Marilyn Monroe
Tony Curtis
Jack Lemmon
George Raft
Pat O’Brien
Joe E. Brown
Nehemiah Persoff
Joan Shawlee
Billy Gray
George E. Stone
DIRECTOR: Billy Wilder
PRODUCERS: Billy Wilder
Doane Harrison
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