Books: Was This What Marilyn Monroe Was Really Thinking When She Was Filming The Prince & the Showgirl?

From Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters by Marilyn Monroe edited by Stanley Buchthal & Bernard Comment:

“Fear of giving me the lines new

maybe won’t be able to learn them

maybe I’ll make mistakes

people will either think I’m no good or

laugh or belittle me or think I can’t act.

Women looked stern and critical—

unfriendly and cold in general

afraid director won’t think I’m any good.

remembering when I couldn’t do a god

damn thing.

then trying to build myself up with the

fact that I have done things right that

were even good and have had moments

that were excellent but the bad is heavier

to carry around and feel have no confidence

depressed mad”

According to archival information, this was actually written in 1951 while The Prince & the Showgirl was released in 1957. So perhaps these weren’t Marilyn’s exact thoughts during the filming of the movie that was the basis for this year’s My Week with Marilyn, but it just goes to show she was plagued by insecurities from the beginning.

Related: My Week with Marilyn Review.

Fragments of Marilyn Monroe’s Literary Life.

All Eyes on Marilyn.

Image via The Passionate Movie Goer.

Movie Review: My Week With Marilyn*.

 

“Thanks for telling me the truth, Colin.”

My Week With Marilyn is concerned with truth. Laurence Olivier tries to get Marilyn to perform a truthful portrayal of showgirl Elsie in The Prince & the Showgirl, while Marilyn expresses trepidation that Olivier’s imagining of Elsie isn’t realistic. Elsie could be seen as a metaphor for Marilyn Monroe’s misunderstood likeness since she changed her name from Norma Jean and became the buxom bombshell we all know and some of us love today.

But I didn’t find that the movie delved any further into the Marilyn mystique than any of the characters she played or any of the men who loved her did when she was alive. It was really only after she died, and in a slew of “lost” letters and photos that have made up such publications as Fragments and The Genius & the Goddess: Arthur Miller & Marilyn Monroe, that we came to discover that she was much more than just a dumb, sexy, childlike blonde who posed with Ulysses to make her look smarter.

It tried to go there, though, when Michelle Williams spoke such lines as “Shall I be her?” when Marilyn and Colin Clark  visit Windsor Castle, and after a fight with her husband, Arthur Miller, she says, “When they realise I’m not Marilyn Monroe they run.” But the film didn’t really show us anything different than the common perception of her.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I really enjoyed the movie and thought Williams did a great job with the script she was given. I just don’t think it was an apt representation of all that Marilyn was. As Dodai Stewart writes,

“… the biggest problem with My Week With Marilyn is that the film treats the woman who loathed being a sex object as a sex object. The story is told by a man who looked at her as a mesmerising other-worldly creature. Though he did have some intimate moments with her, a lot of the film involves Marilyn being gawked at by this slack-jawed fan-turned-friend who calls her a goddess. As a character, she is frustrated because she wishes people would see her as a human being, but she’s shot in the softest, most radiant light, frolicking through the English countryside and ever so gently batting her lashes: Male gaze ad nauseam.”

And while the film is wrapped up in a nice little package with Marilyn coming to say goodbye and thank you to Clark after having kicked him out of her bed and her life, I had the feeling he was still embittered about his unrequited love.

I haven’t read The Prince, the Showgirl & Me, so I couldn’t tell you for sure if this is the case, but even if it wasn’t, Clark was a 23-year-old boy who fell in love with the image of Marilyn Monroe, not the actual Norma Jean.

Related: Fragments of Marilyn Monroe’s Literary Life.

All Eyes on Marilyn.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] The Problem with My Week With Marilyn.

*Blanket spoiler alert.

Image via Screen Rant.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

Post of the week: Catherine Deveny on body love. [MamaMia]

On sexual harassment and “nightclub feminist success”. [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Atheists are just as bad as rapists… and feminists. [Jezebel]

Lingerie football. What do you think? Personally, I’m not a huge fan of playing sports in underwear, but I don’t have much of a problem with it. [MamaMia]

“The Problem with My Week with Marilyn.” [Jezebel]

All long-term monogamous relationships are a transaction, says Ms. Elouise, so what’s the big problem with “paying your wife for sex”? [Feminaust]

Facebook, girl-hate and “I’m a better feminist than you” tête-à-têtes. [Howling Clementine]

XOJane on the message Breaking Dawn sends to virgins.

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope extends to indie films, too. [The Atlantic]

iPhone 4S’ Siri is pro-life, apparently. [Gizmodo]

When hemlines rise, so does bitchiness. [Jezebel]

Stella Young on the disability pension myth. [MamaMia]

Former Wordsmith Laner Sarah Ayoub-Christie tries to reconcile her modern marriage with her traditional Lebanese upbringing. [MamaMia]

“Teaching Good Sex” in school. What a novel idea! [New York Times]

Men in porn:

“The straight male performer must be attractive enough to serve as a prop, but not so attractive that he becomes the object of desire. As [porn publicist, Adella] Curry puts it, ‘No one wants to alienate the male audience’.” [Good]

Image via MamaMia.