Marilyn could play comedy … or tragedy … according to her directors


Henry Hathaway, on MM and high drama:

I think her whole life might have changed in Darryl Zanuck would have let her  … I wanted to do Of Human Bondage with Marilyn and Jimmy Dean way back then … because after I did that picture with her [Niagra] I found her marvelous to work with, very easy to direct and marvelously, terrifically ambitious to do better. And bright, really bright, in learning. She may not have had an education, but she was just naturally bright. But always being trampled on. You talk of Rita [Hayworth] being trampled on by men. This little thing was trampled on by bums! I don’t think anyone ever treated her on her own level. To most men she was, I won’t say a bum but something that they were a little bit ashamed of, to put it bluntly even Joe DiMaggio.

If she had been allowed to do this picture, it would have put her in another category. I think she would have been absolutely marvelous doing it. But Darryl said, “Jesus Christ, how can you think of it! How can I say I’m putting Marilyn in a very sensitive Bette Davis-style play?”

source: John Kobal, People Will Talk, Henry Hathaway interview

George Cukor, on MM as comedienne:

She had this absolute unerring touch with comedy. In real life she didn’t seem funny, but she had this touch. She acted as if she didn’t quite understand why it was funny, which is what made it so funny. She could also do low comedy–pratfalls and things like that–but I think her friends told her it wasn’t worthy of her. As a director, I really had very little influence on her. All I could do was made a climate that was agreeable for her. Every day was an agony of struggle for her, just to get there. It wasn’t just willfulness, it was … like the comedy, something she didn’t seem to understand. In certain ways she was very shrewd. I once heard her talk in her ordinary voice, which was quite unattractive. So she invented this appealing baby voice.

source: Gavin Lambert, On Cukor, “On Marilyn Monroe”

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Do look now at Nicolas Roeg’s ‘Don’t Look Now’


A fitting tribute to British director Nicolas Roeg, the man who just fell from Earth passing away on November 23, 2018, at age 90 is a screening of his eerie, atmospheric thriller from 1973, ‘Don’t Look Now.’

The New Yorker recommends the film. But, in Los Angeles, we have a big-screen viewing of it, with an audience, on December 18, courtesy of Laemmle Anniversary Classics.

Roeg, who began as a master cinematographer, had a distinctive visual style that received perhaps its most brilliant expression in this suspenseful film adapted from a story by Daphne Du Maurier, the author of ‘Rebecca.’ Screenwriters Allan Scott and Chris Bryant retained the basic premise of the story but embellished and expanded it under Roeg’s guidance.

Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland play a married couple whose young daughter drowns in the movie’s opening scene. A few months later, they are in Venice, where Sutherland is working to restore an old church. But they are still grief-stricken and traumatized, and when they meet two elderly sisters who claim to be able to communicate with their dead daughter, the couple embark on a supernatural journey that takes them in unexpected directions.

Set in the gray of winter, the film avoids the usual Venice tourist spots and instead creates an indelible vision of a labyrinthine city cloaked in shadows and sinister portents, as a murderer also haunts the canals and byways and threatens the lives of the two lead characters. Roeg’s fractured editing style adds to the unsettling nature of the film, but this editing also contributes to one of the most famous interludes in the film, a lovemaking scene between Christie and Sutherland that has been called one of the most erotic and influential in cinema history.

Roeg oversaw some of the astonishing second unit photography in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ before graduating to cinematographer of such films as ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ ‘Far from the Madding Crowd,’ and ‘Petulia’ (all starring Christie). He made his directing debut (sharing credit with screenwriter Donald Cammell) on the Mick Jagger film ‘Performance.’ Other memorable Roeg films include ‘Walkabout,’ ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ with David Bowie, and ‘Bad Timing,’ which teamed Art Garfunkel with Theresa Russell, the actress who became Roeg’s wife and the star of many of his late films.

The director’s nonlinear storytelling and visual acuity had a tremendous influence on other directors, including Danny Boyle, Steven Soderbergh, and Martin McDonagh, who have all paid tribute to Roeg’s gifts.

Text: courtesy of Stephen Farber for Laemmle Anniversary Classics

Don’t Look Now | Ahrya Fine Arts | Dec 18

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