Marilyn’s Last Picture Show in ‘Yours Retro’

Sixty years after Marilyn shot the infamous ‘pool scene,’ UK nostalgia mag Yours Retro looks back on the troubled production of her last, unfinished movie, Something’s Got to Give, with a 3-page article by Amy Ahmed-Dolphin in the latest issue (#50, with Elizabeth Taylor on the cover.)

There’s just one error right at the end, when she writes that on July 10, 1962, Marilyn came to terms with Fox and ‘a new contract was drawn up.’

Since the release of the documentary, Marilyn: Something’s Got to Give (1990), fans have realised that the movie (and Marilyn’s performance) was not the calamity that the studio had claimed. (An updated version from 2001, Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days, features a partial reconstruction of the film based on raw footage.)

Excerpt from a newspaper report on Marilyn’s death

However, this discovery also led to the misunderstanding that Marilyn had been fully reinstated, which has been parroted by several biographers. While the negotiations with Fox were proceeding well, and a higher salary had been offered, Marilyn was required to make major concessions, such as removing her acting coach, Paula Strasberg, from the set. She may also have been obliged to relinquish the director approval which had been such a key part of her contractual victory in 1956. At one stage, she was even asked to make a public apology to the studio.

With all this in mind, it is perhaps not surprising that Marilyn was still mulling over the proposal at the time of her death – and despite the claims of various writers and filmmakers, the alleged new contract has never resurfaced.

Elsewhere in Yours Retro, Marilyn’s future husband Arthur Miller gets a mention in an article about On the Waterfront (1954), directed by his former collaborator Elia Kazan, and widely seen as an apologia for Kazan’s having ‘named names’ of friends and colleagues with alleged communist ties (in contrast to Miller, who refused to do so on principle.)

Incidentally, Marilyn had been suggested to play the female lead opposite John Garfield in an earlier version of On the Waterfront, to be directed by her photographer friend, Sam Shaw (although Kazan later denied it.) The idea was dropped when Garfield, another victim of the ‘red scare,’ died of a heart attack in 1952, aged 40 – see here.

And finally, it looks like Marilyn might be next month’s cover girl, with a celebration of her enduring appeal as we approach the 60th anniversary of her untimely death due out in late June.

Thanks to A Passion for Marilyn