Marilyn Monroe – The Prince and the Showgirl 1957

I have just watched the  film ‘My Week with Marilyn’ which is adapted from diaries and a book written by Colin Clarke the 3rd Unit Director on the film ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’  who as a young man of 24 was lucky enough to befriend Marilyn and become quite close to her during that time in England in 1956.

I have featured The Prince and the Showgirl  before on this blog – in fact one of the first posts I ever did.   I am also pleased at least that Marilyn did come over to England and spent hopefully some happy time here. We would certainly have made her welcome – of that I am quite sure.

Marilyn is a great star of this or any other era.

She had come over to make what would be her only film outside the USA along with her husband playwright Arthur Miller.   In My Week with Marilyn Michelle Williams plays Marilyn quite brilliantly with Kenneth Branagh giving a good but slightly camp portrayal as Sir Laurence Olivier.  I thought one telling line of dialogue came from Colin Clarke when talking to Marilyn who had been upset by Sir Laurence’s treatment of her.   He says something like ‘ The trouble is that he is a great actor who wants to be a film star – and you are a great film star who wants to be an actor’

Above – Marilyn at her dazzling best – on screen.

I would ask any one reading this blog to view the film – if you haven’t already as it gives a wonderful insight into the fragility and naïvity of Marilyn and yet shows us also her incredible screen prescence and as my daughter pointed out maybe the ability either wittingly or not to  manipulate people - and men in particular.    In the film Olivier philosophically points out that any of them could practise their art until they were near perfect but even then they wouldn’t get 10 per cent of what she had – referring to her dazzling screen persona.

 Marilyn in The Prince and the Showgirl at Pinewood

See this Link to the film Trailer of My Week With Marilyn 2011 film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NeHDZODFKNw&feature=player_detailpage

The Prince and the Showgirl was Olivier’s  first and last attempt at directing a film for an American movie star.  If Marilyn was ill-equipped to handle Olivier’s rigid stage-influenced directorial style,  then Olivier himself was equally as inexperienced at interpreting popular material and handling screen stars of this calibre.

The challenge of maintaining some semblance of a working relationship between Marilyn and Olivier fell on the shoulders of Milton Greene, while Arthur Miller assumed the duties of caretaker and manager for his unstable wife.  Arthur Miller was often placed in the awkward position of having to explain or defend Marilyn’s behaviour.

It was difficult for those living through the ordeal to have sympathy for Marilyn at the time –  particularly after an episode in which she kept the elderly Dame Sybil Thorndike waiting on the set in full costume for hours.

Dame Sybil Thorndike steadfastly refused to criticise  Marilyn though.       Instead she insisted   “We need her desperately. She’s the only one of us who really knows how to act in front of the camera.”

Watch the Trailer to The Prince and the Showgirl – Link Below:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWa9lm7sILs&feature=player_detailpage

After filming had been completed Marilyn apologised to the entire cast and crew for her behaviour which was certainly not all her fault. She was in a foreign country after all where she had not been before – although a country that warmed to her in every way, and she suffered a miscarriage around this time also – so she was in a particularly frail and vulnerable state.

On screen though she was Marilyn Monroe – and when she appears she displays a magnetism and a screen prescence that very few come anywhere near.

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