Insignificance, the 1985 film based on Terry Johnson’s play, will be released on Region 2/B DVD and Blu-Ray by UK company Network Distributing on June 21st. A postmodern fantasy featuring characters based on Marilyn and other icons of 1950s America (including Joe DiMaggio and Albert Einstein), Insignificance was directed by the British auteur Nicolas Roeg, with his wife Theresa Russell starring as ‘The Actress.’
Although generally considered a fairly minor entry in Roeg’s remarkable filmography, in 2011 Insignificance was added to the Criterion Collection in the U.S. market. This film is not for everyone, and some of Marilyn’s fans may find parts of it too artsy and weird (such as the bizarre sex scene involving a Monroe impersonator – also played by Russell – and ‘The Senator,’ a Joe McCarthy figure played by Marilyn’s Some Like It Hot co-star, Tony Curtis.) However, if you can accept it as an amalgam of pop culture nostalgia and counterfactual history there is much to enjoy, and especially the engaging performance of its leading lady.
Here’s a list of special features:
That’s Insignificance: 1984 making-of featurette
Gone Roeg/Imitation of a Scene: fifty minutes of new interview material on the making of Insignificance
Alternative audio track featuring Stanley Myers’ isolated musical score
Limited edition booklet written by Neil Sinyard (author of the 1989 illustrated biography, Marilyn)
And finally, don’t miss this in-depth review from Dr Lenera on the Horror Cult Films website.
“While everyone is good including Will Sampson as a Cherokee lift attendant who thinks that Einstein must also be Cherokee because of his wisdom, and Gary Busey’s intelligent performance makes one wonder if he was should have been given more complex parts than he normally got, it’s often Russell’s show. She’s one of those actresses who seemed to be on the verge of stardom throughout the ’80s, but who never quite made it. Here, instead of falling into the trap of mimicking Monroe and falling short like many do, she builds her character up from the bottom then adds elements of Monroe. Some of that heady sexual power that she displayed in Bad Timing is also present, though it’s more comedic here. The pitfalls of stardom affect all of the characters in very differing degrees, but it’s Monroe who we’ll most remember, probably because we identify that with the real person anyway. We’re also reminded that we shouldn’t assume that people are like their image in this unusually charming and whimsical film from Roeg.”