Saturday, May 15, 2010

Screen Gem Saturdays: Marilyn Monroe & “Something’s Got To Give”



In an attempt to branch out, Saturdays will now be devoted to my love of the movies—hope you enjoy!

Unfinished movies often take on a bigger life than if they had ever been finished. Rumors abound, theories are born, and everyone has their opinions as to what might have been. Marilyn Monroe's famous unfinished (and last) film, "Something's Got To Give" is no exception. Unlike many other uncompleted movies, the footage from this one still survives, giving a fairly good glimpse into how the movie was going. 20th Century Fox has even pieced together a semi-finished cut to make it easier for viewers to imagine the outcome.



The silent wardrobe tests show Marilyn looking better than she had in years. Appearing refreshed, trim, and positively luminous with her platinum hair, Marilyn seems ready to take on the project as a wife who has just returned to her husband (Dean Martin) after being stranded on a deserted island. In the surviving film sequences, Marilyn shows a surprising depth of emotion, which is even more surprising since the script seems so very flat. Co-star Cyd Charisse plays Martin’s new love interest and attempts a comedic style that seems a little over-the-top, considering how flat her lines are.





Previously filmed with Cary Grant as "My Favorite Wife," the laughs seem forced and so do the situations. It is fairly obvious that this film needed an overhaul, which Marilyn was very much aware of. Just before she passed away, veteran director George Cukor was (wisely) let go and Jean Negulesco was hired to replace him. It is obvious that the bitchy Cukor had no control or concept of what to do with this film. A new script was also being formulated at Marilyn’s request.







At the time, the film got quite a bit of coverage for Marilyn's simulated nude swim sequence, and the photo shoot that followed where Marilyn discarded her flesh-colored body suit for photographers.



It is such a shame to have lost Monroe at a time when she had so much to share. Her newfound maturity and strength would have been fantastic to see on the screen. Instead, her fate as a cult icon was cemented, making her future the subject of great debate.

To see more Marilyn Monroe photos, visit my regular website.

8 comments:

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Awesome post Dave, I've seen clips from "Something's got to Give" and I agree, she really did seem to have a new and fresh outlook. The swimming pool scene is amazing. Seems to me the name of the movie is kind of ironic...

Connie Moreno said...

How were you able to view this unfinished film? How lucky can you get? She is an icon and I've always admired her sexiness but she seems a tad bit too thin here; not the Marilyn that made a real body sexy. Still, it's a great post - very interesting! I firmly believe that Marilyn could have gone on to greater fame had she lived.

Davelandweb said...

Connie - The Amazon link at the end of the post is for the DVD that includes the edited compilation of the footage that was shot before Marilyn died.

Chiana_Chat said...

The 2nd, the portrait, is instantly among my fav Marilyn pics. Seems radiant in that! Interesting bathing suit, it looks like she's getting out of the lower half even as it stays still hehe.

Yup the film seems to be flat and stilted and forced at the same time, as were more than a few others in that era. Not all bad though, trying to imagine it as finished. It's a promising idea, a wife returning after being on an island, but there's not much Hollywood at that time was going to actually make of that premise, so it's a bit puzzling to me they chose it.

All the more tragic that she had such a time of some things because as you say I think she had a lot to offer, plus should've had more of a chance to enjoy herself having made it to "stardom"...

Matterhorn1959 said...

Great post...especially on a star whose life has been profiled and over written! Thanks and I am looking forward to seeing where these posts lead to!

TokyoMagic! said...

Always enjoyed your Hollywood Blog posts, Dave. Looking forward to more Screen Gem Saturdays!

pixiegirltink said...

Another great post! Dave, I'm really enjoying these departures from Disney. Don't get me wrong - you know how much I love the Disney stuff, but classic movies (especially from the 50's and 60's) are another favorite subject.

I think I miss the days of Marilyn Monroe being outrageous. These days anything goes and it's not even exciting anymore.


For anyone who is interested it a full (yet different) version of this movie, check out "Move Over Darling" with Doris Day, James Garner and Polly Bergen. (You can find it on Amazon). It's hilarious!

Davelandweb said...

You are right—that is what this movie "morphed" into! Doris is fun, but it really makes me wish that Marilyn had been able to finish the film herself with Dean Martin.