“I used to think as I looked over the
Hollywood night, ‘There must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.’” ~Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe once said that she was invariably late for appointments. In that case, I suppose it can be excused that my blog about her comes two days after what would have been her 85th birthday.
Simply put, Marilyn was a legend in the way that no one else has ever come close to matching. At the mere mention of her name, there are certain images that will undoubtedly be conjured up in everyone’s minds. The white dress flying up over the subway grate in “The Seven Year Itch.” The pink gown and tuxedo-clad men in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” She’s been called a sex symbol, a screen siren, and a tragic figure. But what is often overlooked about Marilyn Monroe – the true reason she became the most famous movie icon of the 20th century – is the fact that she had a once-in-a-lifetime talent, and she worked incredibly hard to get where she wanted to be.
Though she may have been famous for playing the “dumb blonde,” Marilyn was an immensely intelligent and driven woman who never stopped trying to improve her craft. She was a great singer, a wonderful actress, and had a natural sweetness and charisma on film that could never be taught. Perhaps more than anything, she was a comedic genius, and never has this been more apparent than in this week’s Fab Flick Friday pick, Some Like It Hot.
Some Like It Hot is often noted as one of the best comedies of all time, and rightfully so. It stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as two struggling musicians who, after being chased by gangsters, have no choice but to hide out in an all-female band under the guise of “Josephine and Daphne.” It’s got everything a great comedy could need: a brilliant script, a hilarious buddy team, gender swapping, concealed identities, awesome music and an adventurous train ride. And, it’s got Marilyn Monroe in her Golden Globe-winning performance as singer/ukulele player, Sugar Kane.
Filmmaker Billy Wilder once said that “Sugar Kane was the weakest part of the picture, so we solved that with the strongest possible casting.” It certainly worked. As Sugar, Marilyn manages to be both innocent and wild, a wide-eyed girl with a flask in her garter and a weakness for saxophone players. Whether she’s singing her heartfelt rendition of “I’m Through with Love” or discussing the importance of bespectacled men, it is impossible to take your eyes off of her. When she’s not on screen, we actually miss her. That is the true indication of a star.
Over the years, countless actresses, singers and models have tried to dub themselves “The Next Marilyn Monroe” – but that moniker will never stick. The reason Marilyn was such a luminary was because there had never been anyone like her, and there never will be again. Watching Some Like It Hot is a clear reminder that she was a true original – a beautiful, sweet, and funny talent that will never be replicated, and will never be forgotten.