(Written for HeyUGuys)
Marking the 50th anniversary of the Hollywood legend’s passing, the Forever Marilyn Collection is a four-disc set showcasing some of the most treasured cinematic moments of Marilyn Monroe’s career with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven Year Itch, and Some Like It Hot. From some of Monroe’s earlier films, playing the iconic sex symbol that she was known for, to the film where she broke out of her limitations and began showing a stronger talent that she fought to be recognised, this collection really captures the beauty of a star who will forever be remembered.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Directed by Howard Hawks, the collection opens with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes which follows best friends Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw (Monroe and Jane Russell) as two showgirls who set a course for love on board a luxury liner sailing to France. Pursued by a private detective hired by Lorelei’s fiancé’s disapproving father, Lorelei has to be on her best behaviour, but will her love of diamonds over men put her on the wrong course? Including Monroe’s iconic ‘Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ sequence, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is an adaptation of the 1949 Broadway stage musical and includes many of the show’s musical numbers. Whilst the film sets the collection up by introducing Monroe in her archetypical role of a dumb yet vulnerable love goddess, it also highlights how well she works with another female lead, with her and Russell making a stunning duo who really make the film sparkle with glamour.
How To Marry A Millionaire (1953)
Following up with a similar role, How To Marry A Millionaire, this time directed by Jean Negulesco, sees Marilyn star alongside Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall as three Manhattan gold-digging models who concoct a wild scheme to meet the men of their dreams, a millionaire. Again showing how well Monroe works a set of female co-stars, the film is a remake of 1938’s Three Blind Mice with Loretta Young and based on the plays The Greeks Had a Word for It by Zoe Akins and Loco by Dale Eunson and Katherine Albert. Whilst not the best written or most comedic films in the collection, it is again full of glitz and the 50s styling really sets it aside.
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
And then comes the film that introduced us to the iconic image of Monroe’s dress flying up in the air after standing on a subway grille. Unfortunately not moving any further from the archetype and again directed by Billy Wilder, The Seven Year Itch sees Marilyn plays a seductive starlet who tests the wedding vows of a married man (Tom Ewell) when she moves into the apartment above him. Not even given a name here, she is simply The Girl upstairs. Nevertheless, her performance cannot be faulted and the film is another one of her greatest works that can be enjoyed be all for a long time to come.
Some Like it Hot (1959)
The collection then comes to an end brilliantly with Some Like it Hot, which sees Monroe finally move away from her stereotype as she plays the strong-minded lead singer of an all-girl band who is running away from the pain that men have brought her. Directed by Billy Wilder and starring Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as the two male leads who are posing as women to hide from the mob, Some Like it Hot is by far the best of the collection; a masterpiece in its own right and a genuinely funny comedy. More action based and filled with flapper dresses and machine guns, the collection would be worth it for this film on its own. Seeing Monroe break free from her shell, the collection comes to a respectable end and highlights why the actress is still a huge icon even today.
Set to be released on 23rd July, the Forever Marilyn Collection showcases everything that we will remember Marilyn Monroe by – her sex appeal, her timeless allure, her unforgettable voice, and the compelling naivety in her acting but also, at times, her strength. Presented on Blu-ray, this is the best way to capture Monroe’s stunning performances and is a must-own for all of her fans.