Classy Marilyn Documentary
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 09/03/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Legend Of Marilyn Monroe" (which debuted in 1964, just two years after Marilyn's death) is a first-rate documentary film from famed producer David L. Wolper. Wonderfully narrated by John Huston, this black-and-white film traces the life and tragic early death of one of the most popular and talked-about movie icons of all-time: Norma Jean Baker (aka: Marilyn Monroe).
Born in June 1926, Marilyn's all-too-short 36-year life is detailed with style, grace, and tenderness in this film, which features a beautiful musical score by Arthur Morton.
Marilyn's perpetual loneliness and vulnerability come through, even via the short snippets of film we see here, painting the portrait of a sad and ultimately-doomed young lady. Marilyn's three (failed) marriages are, of course, touched upon here (although not in a wealth of detail), including an interview (circa 1963 or early 1964) with her first husband, James Dougherty, whom Miss Monroe wed when she was a mere 16 years of age. Dougherty was 21 at the time.
Completely omitted from this documentary are the rumors of Marilyn's "alleged" affairs with President John F. Kennedy and the President's brother, Robert F. Kennedy. Also missing here is the scuttlebutt and gossip surrounding Marilyn's untimely death. Many people believe there was foul play involved in her demise, but there is nothing in this film about that subject. Perhaps, though, these omissions are for the best. The purpose of this film, after all, was not to stir up scandal, but to delve into the "life" of Norma Jean/Marilyn.
Many rare film clips are presented here, giving the viewer an even deeper look into the world of this famous blonde bombshell, via many of the people who knew her best. One of the greatest (and funniest) of all Marilyn movie clips is shown in this film -- her "one-joke walk-on" with Groucho Marx in "Love Happy" (made in 1950), which has the famous eyebrow-twitching comedian ogling Marilyn up one side and down the other. .... "Some men are following me," says Marilyn during her brief appearance. As Groucho peruses Marilyn's obvious curves, Marx wryly replies: "Really? I can't understand why." :)
Mr. Wolper's unique style shines through during this film, reminding me of another of his excellent 1964 efforts, "Four Days In November", another superlative documentary film, which concentrates (in almost minute-by-minute detail) on the events of November 1963, when President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
Marilyn Monroe died in early August 1962, and (like JFK) is forever frozen in our minds at a very young age. And, like President Kennedy, Marilyn's death at such an early time in her young life has created this "mythical" aura around the actress.
DVD Special Features include "Memories Of Marilyn Monroe", which is a 31-minute segment (presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound) featuring bonus interviews with David Wolper and Director Terry Sanders, providing additional insight into the making of this film and their personal thoughts on Marilyn. Some interesting tidbits about the film and Marilyn's life are revealed in this bonus interview section. Good stuff.
Additional portions of the interview segments with Wolper and Sanders are also included as "book end" pieces surrounding the actual 50-minute documentary film itself.
A Photo Gallery of Marilyn images is also included, plus some text-only screens, including a nice "Biography" section on "MM".
Video -- Full Frame (1.33:1 aspect ratio).
Audio -- 2.0 Dolby Digital (Mono).
Subtitles -- None.
Packaging -- Keep Case.
Paper Inserts -- None.
The story of Marilyn Monroe is a sad and bittersweet one from start to finish. And this film captures those emotions quite clearly, along with happier moments as well. This DVD is a valuable resource for anyone interested in "The Legend Of Marilyn Monroe"."
GREAT MARILYN MONROE!
Jeffrey R. Schoner | Hattiesburg, MS USA | 03/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This documentation of Marilyn is a truthful overview about her
personality and her movies - great photo material also.