Not Just a Candle in the Wind ... A Connection.
Yasha Banana | 08/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Either you understand what Marilyn Monroe "had" or you don't.
It wasn't just her beauty or her talent. Marilyn Monroe had a vulnerability, a *tragic fragility* spoke directly to the human condition. Because you can't understand tragedy unless you also understand Marilyn Monroe. ...
In his biography, Arthur Miller tells us that Marilyn was able to pick out the orphans in a crowd, she being an orphan herself. And one believes this, almost as an act of faith. Whern she's onscreen, regardless of the role, regardless of the quality of the picture: vulnerable and insecure, she has the ability to touch, to pick out in you, in you *your* vulnerabilities, *your* insecurities.
In a Nietzchean sense, when you see her onscreen and are, in turn, reminded of her tragic life, you fear for your own tragedy! Her unbearable defenselessness triggers a thought -- "Wouldn't it be tragic if *I* was that defenseless!"
What other actress was or is capable of doing that?
There were and are many, many actresses, especially in Marilyn's day, who tried to "get across" on screen what Marilyn got across. And none of them even came close.
When Marilyn speaks to the Tom Ewell character, the Everyman of the movie, she's speaking to every male in the audience - handsome or homely; smart or dumb; single or married; rich, poor or somewhere in the middle. ... Jayne Mansfield couldn't do that. Marlene Dietrich couldn't do that. Rita Hayworth couldn't do that. Angelina Jolie can't do that. Cameron Diaz can't do that. ... Not-even-close.
When daVinci painted a gloved hand, even though he didn't paint the hand in the glove, he wanted to know about the hand: its structure, its anatomy. In other words, he wanted to know what *moved* the glove. ... Knowing her life, knowing her tragedy, as just about everyone does, this is always in the audiences' mind when they see Marilyn Monroe onscreen -- what *moved* her, what was just below the surface. Ultimately, it's impossible to know that in a person, especially a complex, talented, sensitive person. But Marilyn gives us so many tantalizing clues! So many theories, so many ... possibilities.
And they all go back, I believe, to her "orphan roots." ... How does an orphan deal with the adult world? ... How do we all deal with an adult world? ... What makes us so unfit for living?
We are all, at heart, orphans. And Marilyn is there (put there by God or fate or random nature) to remind us of that.
Here's a question for you. Was that certain-something Marilyn Monroe "had" inescapably tied up with her physical beauty? Put another way: would she have lost what she had were she to have lived into her 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s? I could be wrong but I don't think so. As she grew older, her orphan-mentality would have been even more perceptive, more instinctive, more heartbreaking. Assuming she got to play serious roles, she could have been the greatest beauty + the greatest actress ever to appear in front of an audience.
You can't take your eyes off her! Men want to protect her, and rage against those who took advantage of her. And so do women.
If the studios who exploited Marilyn had given her half of what she earned for them, she could have bought every square inch of downtown Los Angeles.
As for "The Seven Year Itch," this movie is humorous in the truest sense of the word, because to be truly humorous, to have a sense of *humor,* one must also have a sense of *humanity,* and that equation, more than anything, is what Marilyn Monroe captured in her comedic performances.
She relates to the Tom Ewell character not simply as a sex object (as some reviewers here mistakenly think), but in a true and human way. Another less-talented actress could have easily turned Tom Ewell's "inner most thoughts" into something crude and dirty, but Marilyn never did that, not in any of her movies. Her natural, spontaneous *celebration* of sexuality is, at its heart, the celebration we feel when we "connect with others," when we discover someone doing exaclty what we're doing -- trying to figure out how, childlike, we can deal with the adult world.
That connection was Marilyn Monroe."