Posted 13 May 2012 - 03:43 PM
The June 2012 issue of Vanity Fair contains very interesting recollections by photographer Lawrence Schiller qbout the sessions he conducted with Marilyn Monroe on the sets of Let's Make Love and the never-finished Something's Got to Give.
Schiller's discussion of the photo sessions themselves and his working relationship with Monroe are absorbing (particularly because they reveal how savvy Monroe was about business, her image and photography itself.) But what caught my attention was what was going on at the margins of Schiller's story: Monroe's battle with Fox executives in particular and Hollywood in general. Schiller recalls that Monroe despaired of not having been nominated for an Academy Award and, with the benefit of 50 years of hindsight, it is possible to make a case that she should have been nominated for something.
But one really has to wonder what world Monroe was living on in the early-60s if she thought she had any chance of getting an Oscar nomination. Putting aside the disadvantage she had because of her "dumb blonde" image, did she not realize that feeling against her was very high at that time? Hollywood, then and now, is a factory town, and she was costing Fox money hand-over-fist with her absences, tardiness and general "difficultness". Again, with the benefit of hindsight, we can say the results were worth the difficulty. At that time, though, she was making enemies, much as Judy Garland had done before her. (In Monroe's favor, some of the criticism that attached to her around this time was unfair, like being blamed for Clark Gable's death.)
The photos are interesting and unintentionally revealing -- not just because of the borderline nudity. Several photos have Paula Strasberg in them looking, as others have noted, like "Dracula's mother" about to suck the life out of Monroe.
The final interesting thing I learned is that Anna Magnani called Monroe a putana when she thought Monroe couldn't hear her. Well, time's erasing finger has dealt with Magnani on Monroe's behalf.