Towering over Washington Square Park in San Francisco’s borough known as “Little Italy,” stands the beautiful, twin-spired Church of Saints Peter and Paul.
On the day I walked through this part of town from Fisherman’s Wharf, it was the famous City Lights bookstore that I originally set my sights on, but then, realizing I was near the church in question, swerved off to take a look. Why? It was on the steps of this church that Joe DiMaggio posed for photos with his new bride after their civil marriage at City Hall in January 1954. That bride, of course, was Marilyn Monroe.
She would now be 96 years old. Yet if there was ever a visual leap that would never work, it’s definitely an image of a frail and aged Marilyn Monroe. For she will always be 36, her ethereal beauty frozen in time, captured on the celluloid that made her a star and keeps her young forever.
With the looks, the vulnerability, and all the tragedy waiting to happen, she’s always been a rich pick. And now, just weeks before the 60th anniversary of her death, another “exhumation” is undoubtedly imminent.
And if not early August to coincide with the anniversary, then surely it’s time to gird up our loins for the Marilyn Feast, set to take place in September when Netflix releases its much-hyped film. Blond.
The novel by Joyce Carol Oates Blond, on which the film is based, is an extraordinary book – intense, direct, sad, annoying and lurid; It’s a story that tries to give inner Marilyn a voice of her own. In fairness, it tries to get both the individual reader and the world at large to finally hear what she has to say.
However, this is neither a historical document nor a biography. Blond is a novel; therefore it is fiction.
What isn’t fiction is the brilliantly insightful interview that time Richard Meryman of the magazine with Monroe shortly before her death in 1962, in which she spoke at length about the film industry, the concept of “star” and the burden of fame, not being treated as someone who really matters.
“Sometimes,” she told Meryman, “I’m invited to kind of cheer up a dining table, like a musician playing the piano after dinner, and you know you’re not really invited for yourself. You’re just an ornament.”
When she was being fobbed off with a weekly fee of $500 for her role Gentlemen prefer blondes While her co-star Jane Russell was paid $200,000, she finally snapped when she wasn’t even given a dressing room, pointing out with no small amount of humor that Jane Russell was actually brunette and she was the blonde who prefers gentlemen.
Gentlemen prefer blondes was a film that showcased the true talent of Marilyn Monroe; Blond, we are told, will focus on her innermost thoughts. Except it’s not her thoughts; they are illusion.
The real Marilyn Monroe died 60 years ago. Surely it’s time to stop picking at her bones. Surely it’s time to let her rest in peace.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/sixty-years-on-from-marilyn-monroes-death-isnt-it-time-we-let-the-hollywood-star-rest-in-peace-41838662.html Sixty years after Marilyn Monroe’s death, isn’t it time we let the Hollywood star rest in peace?