Cheers, No Tears: Marilyn’s Movies Shine On

Marya E. Gates isn’t a fan of Blonde – but it did inspire her to reconsider Marilyn’s life and work, as she writes on her Old Films Flicker blog.

Blonde does not see her joy, it does not see her humour, it does not see her artistry, it does not see her humanity. It uses her as a vessel to comment on consumerism and the darkness at the heart of the Hollywood machine. It claims to be feminist, yet is so so deeply steeped in misogyny … In watching Monroe’s films, you can see an intelligence, a bravery, and a spark that Andrew Dominik’s script and direction never allows Ana De Armas’s performance to even come close to approaching.

Blonde wants you to believe that it’s bringing an internal depth to Monroe, as if her performances didn’t already have ten times as much complexity as whatever the hell [t]his movie is trying to do. With that in mind, here are ten films that showcase Monroe’s range as not just a sexpot, not just one of the greatest film comediennes, but also one of its greatest dramatic performers.”

  • Some Like It Hot (1959) – ‘the pinnacle of comedy’
  • Don’t Bother to Knock (1952) – ‘my favorite performance from Monroe’
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) – ‘the funniest, campiest performance in Monroe’s career’
  • The Misfits (1961) – ‘Monroe’s final completed film … its legacy of death often overshadows just how good she is’
  • Niagara (1953) – ‘Her comic timing is exhilarating’
  • Bus Stop (1956) – ‘Monroe finds the perfect balance between comedy and drama’
  • The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) – ‘Monroe goes toe-to-toe with Laurence Olivier’
  • River of No Return (1953) – ‘her most physically demanding film’
  • The Seven Year Itch (1955) – ‘such warmth and vivacity … is what made her screen presence so utterly unique’