Review and Recap of Move Over, Darling

As I mentioned briefly about in a previous blog post, this movie was a second attempt at a production, as the first attempt was troubled, and it ultimately failed and was forced by a variety of circumstances to shut down.  Twentieth Century Fox wanted to make a remake of 1940 comedy My Favorite Wife called Something’s Got to Give. Marilyn MonroeDean Martin, and Cyd Charisse were to take the roles that were originally played by Irene Dunne Cary Grant,  and Gail Patrick.  However, filming was troubled due to Monroe’s frequent absences.  Monroe was fired from the film, but she was rehired because Martin refused to do the film without her.  However, she died before filming could resume.

Since Fox had already put a lot of money into the film, which was over budget, the decision was made to start over form scratch.  There was a new director, Michael Gordon, who replaced Jean Negulesco, who originally replaced George Cukor.  The new leads were Doris Day, James Garner, and Polly Bergen, taking over from Monroe, Martin, and Charisse.  The new title was Move Over, Darling.

Nick Arden is a lawyer whose wife Ellen Wagstaff Arden was lost at sea following an airplane crash in the Pacific.  It’s been five years since her disappearance, and Nick is in court.  He petitions a judge to have her declared legally dead; the judge is quite absent-minded, but grants the petition.  Immediately afterwards, Nick asks the judge to marry him and his fiancee, Bianca Steele, much to the judge’s surprise.

At the same time, Ellen returns to America.  A Navy submarine ship found her on a deserted island and rescued her.  Ellen wants nothing more than to call her family and let them know that she is alive and well, but when she is unable to make a call, she instead accepts a ride home.

Ellen gets home and she sees her two daughters who were only babies when she disappeared.  They don’t remember her, and Ellen does not tell them who she is.  Ellen later goes inside the house and shocks her mother-in-law Grace.  After Grace gets over the shock, she reluctantly tells Ellen that Nick has gotten re-married; Ellen is devastated by this news, but since he is on his way to Monterey, California, to the same hotel where he and Ellen had their honeymoon, she and Grace realizes that it’s not too late.

Ellen flies to Monterey.  Shortly  after she arrives, Nick and Bianca check into the hotel; the clerk offers him Suite A, but Nick and he insists upon any suite other than the suite where he and Ellen spent their honeymoon, and they are given Suite B.  As he and Bianca get into the elevator, he sees Ellen in the lobby, and he is quite shocked.  Nick makes an excuse to leave Bianca in their hotel room, he finds Ellen, and they embrace each other.  Ellen expresses disappointment with Nick, but he defends himself saying that they couldn’t search for her forever, and he tells her that they held a beautiful memorial service for her.  This touches Ellen’s heart, but she still insists that Nick tell Bianca about her.  Nick checks Ellen into the same suite where they had their honeymoon, which happens to be  next door to the suite Nick got with Bianca.

Nick tries to tell Bianca the truth about Ellen, all while Bianca is trying to consummate their marriage, but there are a variety of complications, including Bianca thinking Nick is rejecting her and acting hysterically.  Ellen loses her patience, and returns home.  Nick fakes a back injury so that he and Bianca will be forced to return home.  Back at home, Grace suggests that she tuck in her daughters into bed.  Ellen still does not tell them that she is their mother, but she sings them a song that she sang for them when they were very young.  They remember it, but they don’t remember where they heard it from.

The next day while the girls are at school, Nick and Bianca return home to see Ellen who is posing as a Swedish nurse.  After Ellen “miraculously” cures Nick’s “broken” back, she offers to give Bianca a massage, but the massage breaks out into a physical altercation, that Nick breaks up only to be distracted by the door bell ringing.

An insurance adjuster comes by, and he mentions in passing that Ellen was stranded on the island with a man named Stephen Burkett, and that they called each other Adam and Eve.  Nick is immediately jealous, and when he tells Ellen that he knows about Stephen, she tries to convince him that nothing happened, but he still refuses to believe her.  Ellen decides to go to a department store where she finds a meek and plain-looking man, and she asks him to pose at Stephen.  At the same time, Nick finds Stephen, a very attractive man, swimming a local hotel’s swimming pool and flirting with women.

Ellen introduces Nick to the fake Stephen; Nick asks them questions about their time on the island, and the fake Stephen states that they spent practically no time together.   After that, Nick and Ellen go out to lunch.  Nick suggests going to a hotel for lunch, knowing that the real Stephen is there.  Ellen confesses that she lied to Nick about the fake Stephen.  Nick starts to feel guilty about his plan to expose Ellen’s lies, and he insists they leave immediately.  Stephen then approaches them.  Angry at Nick’s deception, Ellen leaves and a wacky car chase ensues.

Back at home, Nick and Ellen are bickering when the police come.  They arrest Nick for bigamy.  Grace had called the police since he refused to settle the dispute on his own.  In court, Ellen is declared legally alive, Bianca and Nick’s marriage is annulled, and Ellen decides to sever all ties with Nick.  Stephen shows up in court proclaiming his love for Ellen, but Ellen attacks him, stating that he did nothing but harass her during the five years they spent on the island, and that she tried to spend the past five years staying away from him.

Back at home, Ellen is feeling dejected about the entire ordeal, but she is greeted by her daughters in the swimming pool, who call her “Mom.”  Nick is also swimming, and he invites her to join them.  Despite being fully clothed, Ellen enthusiastically jumps into the pool, embracing Nick and fully reuniting with her family.

I’ve been obsessed with this movie since last fall, though I saw it maybe in 2013.  It’s the just the dilemma.  You lose your spouse at sea.  You find love with somebody else.  You declare your spouse legally dead so that you can get re-married.  Then your spouse is is rescued and returns home.  What do you do?  This theme is so timely that this movie could be perfect for a remake today in 2015.

Another appealing thing to me is the theme of “coming back to life” (so to speak) and having a second chance with with your family who previously thought you were dead.  It has to be extremely hard to be away from your family for five years, to miss seeing your children grow up, and so on.  Also, it must be hard on your family to lose their loved one, and to not even be able to give them a proper burial, and to be a child who lost their parent as a baby, and who has to grow up never knowing their mother.

Despite these themes and the entertaining factor of the movie, there are some plot holes.   When Ellen returns to her home, and she sees her two daughters in the swimming pool, they, at the time of her disappearance, were babies, and they were too young to remember her.  Ellen greets her daughters, but they don’t recognize her.  I can’t believe that.  I mean, the only way this would be possible is if Nick had removed all photos of Ellen in their home, and never showed them to their two daughters.  It seems selfish for a father to never show his daughters any  photos of their presumably deceased mother.  Even if they don’t remember her, they could still feel the pain of the fact that (as far as they knew) their mother was dead, and that they would never know her.  Then again, the beginning shows Nick to be somewhat insensitive, in that he had Ellen declared legally dead, and married Bianca immediately afterwards; the judge was right to be shocked that a man would have his first wife declared legally dead and without waiting at all, marry his second wife.  Also, when Ellen poses as Helga, the Swedish nurse, Bianca does not recognize her either.  So, we are expected to believe that Nick removed all photos of Ellen, and never showed his new wife photos of his first wife whom he lost?

Despite these plot holes, I enjoy the film simply because of its humor and the themes it addresses.

Advertisements

Eulogy for Judy Garland

This blog post was originally written for a speech class.  We had to write a speech for a person, either famous or non-famous, alive or dead.  Today is the 46th anniversary of her untimely death.


Ellis Sutton

04/06/2015

Eulogy


Today, we reflect upon and say goodbye to a woman of immense talent, and who has captivated countless numbers of people around the world.  In her signature song, she sang about looking to a life beyond your own reality.  While her achievements were just as great as her struggles, what’s most important is the good parts of her life.  That woman is Judy Garland.

Like most icons, Judy Garland had humble beginnings.  She was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota 1922 to father Frank Gumm, and mother Ethel Gumm, and she was named after the both of them: Frances Ethel Gumm.  She had two older sisters:Mary Jane Gumm and Dorothy Virginia Gumm.

Judy was a star from almost the very beginning; at the age of two-and-a-half, she made her first public performance, singing “Jingle Bells.” (Shipman, 1993, p. 12).  In 1926, the family moved to California, where Ethel began working very hard to make her three daughters stars.  The trio began performing publicly as the Gumm Sisters.  Eventually their name was changed to the Garland Sisters, but Judy who was nicknamed Baby, due to being the youngest, wished to create a more distinguished identity for herself, and adopted the name, Judy.

Hard work paid off, and Judy secured a contract with MGM in 1935.  However, things would not be happy forever.  Judy’s father died that same year, leaving her devastated.

Over the next few years, Judy worked long hours on films, and then things went up from there when she received her most iconic role: Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz which was release in 1939.  This film along with the song “Over the Rainbow” touched many people with its message of the importance of creating a better life for oneself.

For the next decade, Judy was a big star, but the long hours and other personal struggles made things difficult.  There were some good parts.  She married Vincente Minnelli who directed her in Meet Me in St. Louis, and they had a daughter named Liza.  This marriage would end, but Judy moved on with her life.

In 1950, Judy left MGM, finding their demands to be too much to bear; nonetheless, she started a new chapter with her life when Sid Luft arranged for her to begin performing on stage the following year.  These performances were hugely successful.  Judy performed at the Palace in New York City, for over twenty weeks, and she received special Tony Award.  Judy and Sid would get married in 1952 and they had daughter Lorna and son Joe.

In 1954, Judy attempted a comeback in films with A Star is Born, she was acclaimed for her performance, and got nominated for an Academy Award.

Judy would make other endeavors as an entertainer.  She had her own television show, The Judy Garland Show from 1963-1964.  She also released a popular concert album Judy At Carnegie Hall.

I will leave you with this: Judy Garland struggled with life.  But she has left a legacy that will be remembered and treasured for all time.

References

 

Judy Garland. (2015). The Biography.com website. Retrieved 01:51, Apr 06, 2015, from http://www.biography.com/people/judy-garland-9306838.

 

Shipman, D. (1993). Judy Garland: The secret life of an American legend. New York: Hyperion.

 

Introduction Speech of a Famous Person: Marilyn Monroe

This was written for my Advanced Public Speaking class.  We had to introduce a famous person.  This assignment assumed that the person was still alive, and that the subject would be speaking publicly.

  1. Introduction
  1. Today, I will introduce one of the most influential people of the twentieth century.
  2. She is known for being one of the leading sex symbols of her day
  3. Yet, she also wished to be known as more than a pretty face, but a serious, talented actress.
  4. That person is Marilyn Monroe.
  1. Body
  1. Monroe was born in Los Angeles in 1926 (Doll, 2007).
    1. She did not have a stable, happy childhood.
    2. Her mother was mentally unwell.
    3. Her father never acknowledged her as his own daughter.
    4. Her mother became unfit to raise her, and so Monroe was often in foster care, or cared for by friends of the family.
    5. At age sixteen, she got married, and soon after that she began a modeling career as a result of her work in a parachute factory during World War II but after she began her modeling career, she got a divorce, and turn her efforts to to becoming actress.
    6. Years of hard work paid off, and Monroe was signed to 20th Century Fox.
  2. Monroe became a huge star with 20th Century Fox, with much emphasis on her sexy image (Doll, 2007).
    1. Some of her hit films included Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and The Seven Year Itch.
    2. However, Monroe did not feel happy about the roles she was given, and she sought more challenging work, not wanting to play shallow, sexy dumb blonde characters.
    3. She moved from Hollywood to New York City and studied at the Actors’ Studio to learn how to become a serious dramatic actress.
    4. She also established her own production company, Marilyn Monroe Productions.
    5. Following the success of The Seven Year Itch, she signed a new contract with Twentieth Century Fox, granting her creative control over the films she appeared in.
    6. Following her appearance in the film Bus Stop, Monroe proved that she was serious dramatic actress with considerable depth.
    7. From then on, Marilyn Monroe was viewed as not only a sex symbol, but as self-sufficient and intelligent woman who was very good at her field.
  1. Conclusion
  1. To conclude, it is clear that Marilyn Monroe is more than a pretty face.
  2. She is a woman who knows what she wants out of her career, and she showed that she has the talent and skill to make it happen.

 

References

 

Doll, S. (2007, August 29). Marilyn Monroe’s Early Life – HowStuffWorks. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/marilyn-monroe-early-life.htm

 

Doll, S. (2007, August 29). Marilyn Monroe’s First Movie Role – HowStuffWorks. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/marilyn-monroe-early-career.htm

 

Doll, S. (2007, August 29). Marilyn Monroe in ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ – HowStuffWorks. Retrieved February 9, 2015, from http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/marilyn-monroe-later-career.htm

 

Recap and Review of Boys (Original Title: Jongens)

Boys (originally called Jongens) is a Dutch film.  It was released on TV in the Netherlands in February of 2014.  It was so popular that it was re-released in theaters (that would never happen in America, where most TV movies are considered to be average at best, if they’re not on HBO).  It was later sold to other countries.  I saw it on Netflix.

The film is about a fifteen-year-old boy named Sieger who lives with his widowed father, Theo, and his rebellious older brother, Eddy.

Sieger and his best friend, Stef, are on the track team.  They both perform so well that they are chosen to join two other teammates, Marc and Tom, in an important relay race.  Sieger begins to form a bond with Marc who is free-spirited and quirky.

One day after practice, the four boys are riding their bikes when they decide to swim in a nearby river.  They decide to race to see who gets in the water first.  Marc rides his bike into the water while fully clothed.  The others find it hilarious.

After spending some time swimming, Sieger, Stef, and Tom, decide to leave to go home.  Marc begs Sieger to stay, but Sieger declines.  While riding his bike with Stef, Sieger waits until Stef is out of sight, and he return to the river.  Sieger and Marc spend time skipping rocks and swimming; all of this culminates with Marc kissing Sieger, and Sieger kissing Marc back.

Confused, Sieger denies being gay, to which Marc says, “Of course you’re not.”

Over time, the two boys begin spending more time together.  Sieger meets Marc’s family, and they grow very close.

But there is a hitch.

Sieger and Stef begin dating two girls, and Marc starts to feel jealous, especially when Sieger tries to ignore Marc in public.

One day, Sieger and Marc make plans to swim one evening so that they can catch up with each other.  However, the plans are interrupted when Theo informs Sieger that Eddy is nowhere to be found (Eddy clashed with Theo over various issues such as Theo taking away Eddy’s moped for punishment of Eddy’s various indiscretions), and so Sieger searches for his brother.

Sieger finds Eddy.  Eddy refuses to return home, but he gives Sieger a ride home which is interrupted when Eddy almost runs over Marc.  Sieger gets out of the car to confront Marc who demands to know Sieger never showed up to swim.  Sieger pushes Marc, out of fear of their relationship being exposed, and he gets back in the car.  Feeling guilty, Sieger, gets out of the car after Eddy refuses to stop.

The next day, Sieger meets Marc at the relay race; he tries to apologize, but Marc refuses to listen.  The team, nonetheless, wins the race.

Back at home, Sieger and Stef celebrate with Theo, who reconciles with Eddy and returns to him his moped.  Sieger, however, feels that something is missing.  He takes the moped, and the film ends with Seiger and giving Marc a ride on the moped, as they ride into the distance.

I thought that this movie was rather sweet.  It had beautiful cinematography.  And it shared a sweet story of how a type of relationship unfolded.  I really like movies that are somewhat intimate and are primarily about two people who get close with each other.  Whether the relationship is between lovers, family members, or friends, I am drawn to depictions of a type of intimate relationship being played out on screen.  What I want most of all is feeling close to somebody.

Sieger was an engaging character.  It was easy to empathize with him.  Lots of people struggle with self-discovery and an evolving sense of self, and of learning to be open about who they are.

Marc was also a great character.  He is one of those characters who shows you how to embrace all of the things that make you unique, all without making a big deal about it.

 

Review and Recap of Valley of the Dolls

In the summer of 2012, I discovered Valley of the Dolls on Netflix (I am sad to say that it not available on Netflix anymore, as of this writing; I found that out yesterday when trying to re-watch it for the umpteenth time.). I watched it, and enjoyed it greatly. This movie has been popular for nearly fifty years, and it considered to be one of the great cult camp classics.

The film was based on the novel of the same name by Jaqueline Susann. Susann wanted to become a famous actress, although her mother predicted that because of her high score on an IQ test, she would become a famous writer. Ever since Susann graduated from high school, she tried to become an actress, but never was successful, only getting small roles. She did have her own talk show on the now defunct and mostly forgotten early TV network, DuMont, called Jacqueline Susann’s Open Door, but it was short-lived.

In the 1960s, Susann drew upon her experiences in Hollywood, and she wrote her very first novel, Valley of the Dolls.  It became a huge hit, and in 1967, Twentieth Century Fox made it into a movie.  The movie was one of the top-grossing films of the year.  But it was universally panned by critics who called it poorly-written and acted and trashy.  Nonetheless, it has endured as a so-bad-it’s-good cult classic.

Valley of the Dolls tells the stories of three women dealing with the professional and personal struggles of stardom.

Anne Welles (Barbara Parkins) is a ingenue from the small New England town of Lawrenceville who moves to New York City to start a new life and gain new experiences; she wants most of all to find out who she is what she wants from life.  Anne begins working as a secretary in a law firm for singers and actors.  While delivering contracts to egotistical Broadway veteran Helen Lawson (Susan Hayward), who is preparing for a new musical, she meets and befriends Neely O’Hara (Patty Duke), an up and coming actress and singer with a small role and single musical number in the show, and Jennifer North (Sharon Tate), a showgirl who is quite sexy, but has no real talent and who is a backup dancer in the production.  In addition, in the office, she meets and begins a romance with Lyon Burke (Paul Burke), the nephew of one of the firm’s founders.  Their relationships run into trouble due to Lyon’s unwillingness to ever get married. Lyon leaves Anne to go to England to research a book he plans to write.  After this, Anne is offered a chance to be the face of a line of beauty products called Gillian’s by the company’s head, Kevin Gillmore (Charles Drake), due to her refined, natural, relatable, and elegant beauty.  Anne becomes a nation-wide celebrity known as the Gillian Girl and eventually becomes engaged to Kevin.  At the height of her fame, Anne has a chance encounter with Lyon and reunites with him, ending her engagement to Kevin.  In meantime, she attempts to support Neely and Jennifer throughout their struggles.  After learning that Lyon is cheating with Neely, she begins using dolls to cope, but soon she gives them up, leaves him, and returns home to Lawrenceville, realizing that it’s the only place where she can thrive.  Lyon begs her for forgiveness and asks her to marry him, but she turns him down, while suggesting that she might change her mind in the future.

Neely O’Hara is a talented young singer with a single number in a musical on Broadway, but Helen Lawson, the star of the show demands that her one song be cut from the show, as she fears being upstaged by Neely.  Despite this setback, and with the help of Lyon, Neely sings in a telethon, gains prominence, and decides to make it big in Hollywood.  With the support of boyfriend-turned husband, Mel (Martin Milner) and dolls—amphetamines to be alert throughout the day barbiturates to sleep at night—Neely becomes the biggest star in Hollywood, but Hollywood changes Neely for the worse, making her abrasive and egotistical.  Mel realizes that Neely is no longer the woman he married and leaves her; after their divorce, Neely marries Ted Casablanca, a fashion designer, but, the dolls and the pressures of stardom become too much to handle.  Ted leaves her for another woman due to her drug dependency and workload making her too tired to have sex.   Neely’s addictions cause her to become unreliable, and she is replaced by another actress on her latest movie.  To get away from everything, Neely travels to San Francisco.  While in a bar she plays one of her songs on a jukebox, and while singing along to it, a man insults her.  Angry, Neely throws her drink in face; he tries to attack her, but he is restrained, and Neely leaves the bar.   She walks among the city’s strip clubs and adult entertainment and sees a theater marquee advertising a pornographic film that Jennifer appeared in.  The next morning, Neely wakes up in a motel to a strange man stealing her money; distraught, she overdoses and wakes up to Anne and Lyon who checked her into a sanitarium.   Neely recovers and attempts to find new success on Broadway.  However, her egotistical behavior causes Lyon to quit being her manager.   Shortly before the premiere of her new musical, Neely takes dolls and drinks alcohol, leaving her in no condition to perform. Her understudy is sent to go on in her place.  The understudy is a sensation, and Neely walks around an alley and breaks down, realizing that she has lost everybody and everything in her life.

Jennifer North is a showgirl who despite having considerable sex appeal, is rather untalented.  Her jobs in the show business world consist of showing off her body.  She meets Tony Polar (Tony Scotti), a nightclub singer and begins an affair with him; despite the objections of his half-sister and manager Miriam (Lee Grant), Jennifer and Tony get married.  They move to Hollywood so that Tony can begin acting, but his success is limited.  Shortly after a studio drops his option, Tony suddenly has difficulty walking and forgets who Jennifer is; Miriam tells Jennifer that he has a  genetically-inherited disorder called Huntington’s chorea (now called Huntington’s disease) which is incurable and causes a person’s muscular and mental functions to gradually decrease.  Miriam explains that she and Tony had different fathers, that Tony’s father had the disease, and that she didn’t tell Tony because she was uncertain if would ever happen to him, and she knew it would distress him; the disease was the reason why Miriam objected to him getting married and why she put Tony and Jennifer on a strict budget because she needed to save as much money as possible for when he inevitably has to be committed.  Jennifer who is pregnant with Tony’s baby decides to have an abortion out of fear that the child will inherit the disorder.  Tony is committed in a sanitarium (which would now be called a psychiatric hospital) and to support him, Jennifer decides to appear in “art films,” which are actually soft-core pornographic films, in France; she hates the entire ordeal because when she married Tony she gave up doing jobs that require the exploitation of her body.  After making the films, Jennifer returns to America and finds that Tony’s disease has progressed to the point that he doesn’t remember who she is.  Shortly afterwards, Jennifer is diagnosed with breast cancer and must have a mastectomy, which distresses her because she has no talent and would no longer be able to use her only asset, her body, to earn a living and keep Tony in the sanitarium.  Feeling as though she has lost everything in the world that she has ever had, she commits suicide by taking an overdose of dolls.

Valley of the Dolls is a favorite of mine.

I do find it watchable, and I do not think it’s too bad.  But it has some major flaws.

One of them is hammy and forced and stilted acting.  Patty Duke as Neely O’Hara does not act some dramatic scenes well enough, and they come across as almost comical.

Bad dialogue.  My favorite line in the film is the scene where Jennifer North is attending a screening of an erotic film she starred in, and her character’s husband says in French after she reaches orgasm and knocks over a bottle of wine and two glasses on the floor, “Gabrielle, the wine almost fell in my shoes.”  Nobody says stuff like that.  Another gem in that scene is this exchange:

Jennifer’s character Gabrielle: If you were not my husband, I would be crazy about you.

Gabrielle’s husband: I will get a divorce tomorrow.

Undeveloped storylines: Late in the film, after Lyon Burke, Anne Welles’s boyfriend accompanies Neely back to New York for her planned comeback on Broadway, they begin an affair.  Anne is devastated and begins using sleeping pills to cope.  But she realizes that she is going on the same path of destruction that Neely and Jennifer (who by that point in the movie had taken her own life), and she gives up the pills and returns to her New England hometown.  The Neely/Lyon affair comes out of nowhere.  I didn’t even notice it the first time I watched the film.

Regardless, I enjoy the film because the story and characters always remain interesting.  What draws me to the film is its depiction of Hollywood and stardom.  It is not all fun and glamour.  People try to destroy you in order to avoid being replaced by you.  You are exploited just because you are sexy, and not because of any talent.  People make impossible demands of you, and they forget that you are a human being and not invincible.  Film shoots often do not go as planned.  While the film did not do the best at addressing these issues, due to how disjointed it is, it was fascinating to watch she challenges unfold on the screen.

Review and Recap of the Documentary, Marilyn: The Final Days and the Film, Something’s Got to Give

Multiple times on YouTube, I have watched and re-watched the documentary Marilyn: The Finals Days.  It focused on the final days in the life of iconic actress, Marilyn Monroe, and they were as tumultuous as many of the other moments in her life.

Monroe signed on the do the film Something’s Got to Give for 20th Century Fox.  It was directed by George Cukor, and it co-starred Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse.  The plot of the film was as follows: Ellen Arden has been lost as sea for five years.  Her husband, Nick Arden, has her declared legally dead, and he marries his second wife Bianca Steele Arden.  The same day, Ellen is rescued and returns home.  This leads to complications as Nick must tell Bianca the truth of Ellen’s rescue, but he becomes jealous when he learns that Ellen was stranded on an island with a man.

The production of the film was very troubled.  Cukor was reluctant to work with Monroe after her unreliable behavior on the set of Let’s Make Love.  In fact, Monroe was very difficult to work with.  Nearly every film she did was over budget and behind schedule.  She often was absent and late on the set due to mental conditions, physical aliments, emotional issues, among other struggles.  And Fox had even bigger worries, their film Cleopatra was even more behind schedule and even more over budget.  Something’s Got to Give was intended to be released by October 1962 so as to help raise desperately needed money for the studio.

In addition to the the studio’s financial woes and Monroe’s reputation for unreliability, the film had no finished script, and constant re-writes put the film over budget before any footage had been shot.

Filming was scheduled to begin on April 16, 1962, but Cukor chose to delay filming by a week to April 23, 1926, and Monroe traveled from Los Angeles to New York City, to go over her role with the help of acting coaches Lee and Paula Strasberg at The Actors Studio; Monroe had been studying there and with the Strasbergs for several years in order to improve her acting skills, so that she could show the world that she is more than just a dumb blonde sex object.  When she returned, Monroe became ill; she had caught a cold from Paula, which developed into something far worse.

On the day filming was to begin, Monroe called in sick, and the studio doctor said that she has sinusitis; it was recommended that filming be delayed by one month so that Monroe could fully recover, but the studio refused.  Cukor re-organized the schedule to shoot scenes without Monroe.

Monroe reported for work for the first time on April 30, 1962.

Monroe was frequently absent from work because of her illnesses which included sinusitis, bronchitis, fevers, and headaches.  This pushed the film behind scheduled and even more over budget. but soon, the cast and crew were getting tired of her.   Many felt that she was not really sick at all.  They so no evidence of her being unwell.  The film fell ten days behind schedule. When time came for her to sing at President John F. Kennedy’s birthday gala in New York, the studio did not want her to go although she had been given permission to attend before filming started.

Monroe went anyway, and this was an iconic moment in her life, when she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

Fox was furious.  But Monroe attended work regularly during  the next several days.  And she filmed her iconic nude scene which helped give the film more publicity, and it put the her back in the studio’s good graces.

On June 1, 1962, Monroe turned 36.  The crew wanted to celebrate as soon as she arrived on set, but Cukor insisted that they wait until the end of the working day.  After a simple celebration, Monroe attended a Muscular Dystrophy benefit at Dodger Stadium.

The following Monday, Monroe called in sick yet again.  The cold weather on the night of the benefit caused her to get a fever.  Fox had enough.  They fired her for breach of contract.  All of the cast and crew were suspended.

There were plans to replace Monroe, but Martin refused to do the film without Monroe.  Monroe and Fox came to a new deal.  Monroe would be paid one million dollars to do two films for Fox, and Fox agreed to replace Cukor with Jean Negulesco whom she had worked with on How to Marry a Millionaire  Monroe also agreed to not have her acting coach, Paula Strasberg on the set.  Strasberg was unpopular because many of Monroe’s directors felt that they had less control over Monroe than Strasberg did.  The contract was signed on August 1, 1962.  The film was to resume production in October.

On August 5, 1962, Monroe was found dead of an overdose.  The film was shut down.

The documentary then mentioned Monroe’s unforgettable legacy, and the impact she has had on countless people since her death.

(It is mentioned that eventually Fox, started over from scratch and remade the film as Move Over, Darling, starring, Doris Day, James Garner, and Polly Bergen.)

What I found fascinating about the documentary was the struggles that were depicted.  The struggles that Monroe had personally, and the struggles of the studio were very clear discussed.  There were numerous talking head interviews from several people who knew Monroe, such as Cyd Chrassise, producer Henry T. Weinstein, the Strasbergs’ daughter Susan Strasberg, Monroe’s internist, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, among others, who gave their own insight about Monroe and the film’s troubled production.   And there was plenty of archival footage and photographs

The next part of the documentary is a reconstruction of Something’s Got to Give.  Most of the footage was unseen for many decades until for the documentary, it was restored and edited into a 37-minute segment, which served to give people an example of what it may have looked like, had it been released as planned.

It’s hard to review the film.  On the one hand, it feels unfair to criticize a movie that was never finished.  However, with all things being considered, it was not very bad.  With what few scenes were completed and edited together, it seems very interesting.  There are funny moments.  And despite there being many gaps in the narrative, everything is coherent, and it ends with a resolution of a kind.

The documentary can be seen here, with the film immediately following:

The film can bee seen by itself here:

And you can see some raw-unedited footage here.

 

Some more thoughts on The Joneses

 

The Joneses is a film that is about a different type of family.  This family is not the traditional type of family.  The family of Steve and Kate and their teenaged children, Mick and Jenn, are actually employees of a company that has several companies that make consumer products as their clients.  The goal of the Jones family is to pretend to be a real family while using the products made by their company’s clients, in hopes that their neighbors will then buy the products that they use in an attempt to “keep up with the Joneses.”

The situational definition of the film is about how the Joneses are advertising products without the knowledge of their neighbors.  Within this factor, there are many potential and actual ethical issues in the film.  First and foremost, the Joneses are simply actors who are modeling products for their family.  Presumably they don’t particularly necessarily care, one way or another, about the products they use, and according to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, this is unethical in that they are essentially presenting testimonials about the products, but the testimonials and the opinions that they express are not necessarily the ones that they particularly hold.

Moving on, through making an analysis the film is very heavily focused on the ethical issues of pretending to be family, when in reality one is simply involved with advertising the products of their company’s clients, but in a natural (or rather artificial under the guise of natural) environment.  The Joneses move into a wealthy suburb, and they form relationships with their neighbors.  An ethical issue with that is that if the ruse is exposed, the neighbors will feel hurt at the deception, and they might refuse to buy any of the products as a matter of principle, and so that they are not reminded of the deception that hurt them so very much.  Not to mention the fact, that they will have to go elsewhere to promote their company’s clients’ products.  The entire ordeal violates the code of ethics of the American Association of Advertising Agencies due to the fact that as said above, the Joneses use products and talk about how great they are when in reality, they probably do not necessarily have any type of genuine affinity, if any feelings at all, for the everyday consumer products that they use; if the ruse is exposed, that calls into question the value and quality of the products, and after all, if it is all an act, that this family uses products just to help promote them for their company’s clients, and that they may or may not care for the products, why should the consumer buy them at all.

With regard to my decision, my conclusion is that pretending to be family for the sake of advertising products under the guise of using these products in one’s everyday life is very unethical.  Besides the fact that is  generally wrong to be deceptive, there is also the matter of the company’s corporate values, and the credibility of the products being modeled, being viewed negatively.