April 26 – 30, 2000

American Cinematheque presents...

MARILYN MONROE: ACTRESS & ICON

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To coincide with the publication of author Joyce Carol Oates’ landmark new book on Monroe, Blonde (published by HarperCollins), we’re pleased to present this week-long celebration of Marilyn’s finest films. Ms. Oates will join us in-person for a Special Seminar on Monroe on Sunday, April 30th, hosted by noted critic and film historian Leonard Maltin - !

Series Compiled by Dennis Bartok.


Special Thanks to: Jane Beirn/HARPER COLLINS; Anne Goodman/CRITERION PICTURES.

 

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A true hometown girl (she was born in L.A. in 1926), Marilyn Monroe became one of Hollywood’s defining myths about itself: the abused orphan transformed into triumphant screen goddess, the sex symbol transformed into mature actress. Through it all, Monroe remained a dazzling performer: watch her work as the cosmically ditsy Lorelei in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, the wounded Cherie in BUS STOP, and you see an actress gifted with a sublime, almost transparent simplicity. She was also highly-underrated as a singer and dancer: almost all of her great comedies from the 1950’s featured one or more numbers tailored to her radiant, heartstopping talents ("Two Little Girls From Little Rock," "Heat Wave," "Running Wild.") It’s no accident that Monroe played a showgirl/actress/model more times than any other character: she was, at heart, a die-hard performer, and few actresses ever gave as much, or as beautifully, as she did.marilyn.jpg (3245 bytes)

Wednesday, April 26 – 7:00 PM

Double Feature!

NIAGARA, 1953, 20th Century Fox, 89 min. Dir. Henry Hathaway. With Jean Peters, Casey Adams. Jealous husband Joseph Cotten frets that luscious wife Marilyn is cheating on him at honeymoon paradise Niagara Falls. He’s got good reason to worry, in director Henry Hathaway’s gorgeous Technicolor noir – Marilyn’s first film as a headliner (and her greatest bad-girl performance!)

RIVER OF NO RETURN, 1954, 20th Century Fox, 91 min. With Rory Calhoun, Tommy Rettig. Director Otto Preminger’s lusty Cinemascope western stars Robert Mitchum as an ex-convict battling raging waters, rampaging Indians – and saloon singer Marilyn - ! Spectacular outdoor photography (courtesy of d.p. Joseph LaShelle) and the can’t-miss pairing of Monroe and Mitchum make this one great, guilty pleasure.

 

Thursday, April 27 – 9:30 PM

THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS, 1954, 20th Century Fox, 117 min. Dir. Walter Lang. Marilyn literally scorches the screen with her notorious "Heat Wave" number, in this ultra-colorful backstage musical inspired by the songs of Irving Berlin. Donald O’Connor, Mitzi Gaynor, Ethel Merman, Dan Dailey and legendary crooner Johnnie Ray co-star as "the Five Donahues" -- but it’s Marilyn (always underrated as a singer) who clearly steals the show.

 

Friday, April 28 – 7:00 PM

BUS STOP, 1956, 20th Century Fox, 96 min. Dir. Johua Logan. With Betty Field, Arthur O’Connell. Monroe stunned critics and fans alike with her heartbreakingly tender performance as a truck-stop singer who falls in love with na´ve young cowpoke Don Murray, in this beautiful, bittersweet drama based on the William Inge play.

 

Friday, April 28 – 9:15 PM

Double Feature!

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, 1953, 20th Century Fox, 91 min. Twin bombshells Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe wreak havoc on the male libido, in this classic Howard Hawks farce of two nightclub singers set loose onboard a Paris-bound luxury liner. Marilyn shows her gift for near-flawless comic timing as sweet-natured Lorelei – and her earth-shattering "Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend" number remains a high point in 20th century pop culture.

HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, 1953, 20th Century Fox, 95 min. Dir. Jean Negulesco. Money-hungry New York models Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall learn the price of true love, in this hilariously-mercenary musical comedy scripted and produced by legendary writer Nunnally Johnson. Watch for mild-manned boyfriend David Wayne (who made four films with Marilyn, more than any other actor), and listen for the sparkling score arranged by frequent collaborator Alfred Newman.

 

Saturday, April 29 – 6:00 PM

THE MISFITS, 1961, UA/7 Arts, 124 min. Dir. John Huston. Aching, elegiac drama of the vanishing American West, with Clark Gable (in his final film) as an aging cowboy who falls hard for divorceÚ Marilyn, while trying to round up a herd of wild mustangs with the help of former rodeo star Montgomery Clift. Beautifully scripted by Marilyn’s former husband Arthur Miller, THE MISFITS was the last completed film in Marilyn’s all-too-brief career.

 

Saturday, April 29 – 8:45 PM

Double Feature

LET’S MAKE LOVE, 1960, 20th Century Fox, 118 min. Dir. George Cukor. Delightful little comic gem with French heartthrob Yves Montand as a billionaire pretending to be a struggling actor in order to romance off-Broadway star Marilyn. Like no other performer of the 1950’s, Marilyn reinvented the musical comedy genre, infusing it with her own sweetness and sensuality – here, she performs the wonderful "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" in a darkened theater.

SOME LIKE IT HOT, 1959, MGM/UA, 119 min. Cross-dressing musicians Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis take it on the lam from the Chicago mob in the 1920’s, while luscious Marilyn falls for a playboy who’s a playgirl. Director Billy Wilder’s outrageous, gender-bending farce gave Marilyn the finest role of her career as Sugar, the sad-eyed ukelele player with a flask of bootleg whiskey in her garter …

 

Sunday, April 30 – 5:00 PM

"Special Seminar on Marilyn Monroe and the Culture of Celebrity" – with Joyce Carol Oates, Leonard Maltin and other guests!!

To celebrate the publication of her breathtaking re-imagining of Marilyn’s life and myth, Blonde, acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates joins us for a special seminar on Marilyn’s legacy as an actress and American icon. Hosted by acclaimed critic and film historian Leonard Maltin, the discussion will also feature colleagues and co-stars of Monroe’s, as well as contemporary actors discussing her career and ongoing impact as a performer.

Admission to the seminar is free. Tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis at the box office the day of the event.