One of a new wave of films that go behind the scenes of classic films recently, not all successful either. My Week With Marilyn (2011) is probably one of the earlier releases, focusing on a much forgotten (Marilyn) Monroe film The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) when one lucky third assistant director Colin Clark (Eddie Redmayne) who spends a week in the blonde bombshells company. It sounds better than it really is for him. A dream come true for anyone in the film industry, as I read in Jack Cardiff‘s autobiography Magic Hour: A Life in Movies who spent many a night with Marilyn and Arthur Miller during their time in the U.K. whilst filming the much forgotten film (unless you are a Monroe or (Laurence) Olivier fan) we do get an insight into the fragile life that Monroe lived.
The backdrop of the film is immaterial with the brief romance (of sorts) between Colin and Marilyn who gave her the confidence to stay and work on the production. Plagued by her fears and rocky marriage, it was Colin who was able to comfort her. And for him a dream come true as we find out. Of course the grand history doesn’t take him into account really, just a brief footnote. Whilst an exciting part of our film history. To see it on the big screen seems a right move to make. Moving onto the film itself which is brief, as the encounter between the Colin and Marilyn. It’s filled with well known faces from British cinema, filling the roles that we know so much about. Only Michelle Williams from across the pound filling the all important title role. A hard job to pull off really, rising to the challenge, moving beyond impression to giving a suggestion of her during that time. Taking on such a legendary figure will never be easy to do as we have discovered with Alfred Hitchcock in both his incarnations.
Whilst there is less pressure on the other roles (with exception to Kenneth Branagh‘s Olivier). It’s a gentle trip down into nostalgia really. With everyone you want to meet surrounding that era. Even the obscure figures that you wouldn’t think would be in the film.
Rightly so the films point of view is Colin’s, that without we would have no story, in practically every scene, any other way wouldn’t seem right really. With a clear focus and love for Monroe who once again shines on the screen, a rare chance t see a fragile woman who is filled with pills and Paula Strasberg (Zoë Wanamaker) who controlled the actress, and was half the problem for the director Monroe worked with. I can’t help thinking about how Billy Wilder dealt with her whilst making film her and “the bat”.
It’s an interesting insight into a little know story, made all the more attractive with the allure of Monroe who may not be exactly the same. It seems as less and less original films are being made today, that mini-biopics of classic Hollywood is a decent alternative, harking back to a time when there was more originality and star power that created legends and history that is now wrapped in myth.
- My Week with Marilyn: A Portrait of Mental Illness (www.psychologytoday.com)
- “My Week With Marilyn” Delights with Light-Hearted Comedy (maryatthemovies.wordpress.com)
- Movie Review: My Week With Marilyn (samanthahoffman.blogspot.co.uk)
- My Week with Marilyn (musicalsoldmovie.blogspot.com)