Before ‘Blonde’: A Marilyn Movie Primer

Marilyn as Cherie in Bus Stop (1956); and as Sugar Kane in Some Like It Hot (1959)

Writing for Digital Trends, David Caballero joins the chorus of critical voices urging viewers to check out Marilyn’s movies before Blonde hits Netflix next week – “the perfect excuse to revisit Monroe’s career under a new eye, one less preoccupied with her demons and more interested in her vibrant and undeniable talent as an actress.”

  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) is the film that made a star out of Marilyn … Putting a twist on the dumb blonde persona, Marilyn creates a character of pure agency and remarkable wit, a confident upstart who perfectly embodies the film’s satirical tone.
  • Gold diggers never looked so great or were so beloved as the trio of Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, and Lauren Bacall in Jean Negulesco’s How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) … Marilyn lights the screen, portraying the dumb blonde to a tee.
  • The Seven Year Itch (1955) turned Marilyn into a timeless cinematic icon, but it’s her next film, Bus Stop (1956), that deserves more attention … Running away from her previously established image, Marilyn dips her toes in dramatic waters as Chérie, a role that remains one of her most underrated.
  • Some Like It Hot (1959) is among the best comedies of all time … Marilyn plays the apex of her dumb blonde persona, but, for once, she’s laughing along with the audience at the stereotype instead of being the butt of the joke.
  • The Misfits might be best known for its troubled and now-infamous production, but it’s the perfect encapsulation of Marilyn’s persona … With Roslyn desperately trying to move away from the pin-up version of herself, Marilyn challenges audiences to do the same.