Love, Marilyn

Docs Summer Series 2013


LOVE, MARILYN reveals intimate details about the real Marilyn Monroe through her own words – culled from recently discovered personal papers, diaries and letters – as read on camera by a variety of well-known Hollywood actors. The readings are embellished by extensive archival footage; photos and recordings (many not widely known)of Marilyn through the years; additional dramatic readings by other actors from passages written by Norman Mailer, Gloria Steinem, Billy Wilder and Truman Capote; and quotes by Monroe’s teachers, friends, lovers and fans.

LOVE, MARILYN visits many of the seminal moments and relationships that shaped Marilyn’s career and tumultuous personal life. Among the film’s highlights: her impoverished California childhood as Norma Jeane Mortenson, marked by frequent stints in orphanages and foster homes; her discovery in Hollywood after a brief and successful modeling career (casting agent Ben Lyon suggested her name change); Marilyn’s initial contract years with 20th Century Fox, marked by “bimbo” roles (studio head Darryl Zanuck wasn’t an early fan); her early dedication to fitness and intellectual self-improvement (she loved poetry); the evolution of the Monroe persona under the tutelage of acting coach Natasha Lytess, who “put the world at her feet”; Marilyn’s refreshingly unrepentant admission that she posed nude for a 1949 calendar because she needed the money (Hugh Hefner ended up launching Playboy with the photos three years later); her ascension to the pinnacle of stardom in the 1950s, with films including Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire; her well-intentioned yet mismatched marriage to baseball icon Joe DiMaggio, who wanted her to quit show business and become a housewife (and later went berserk after watching his wife repeatedly have to do multiple takes of the famous skirt scene in The Seven Year Itch in front of crowds of gawkers); her decision to enroll at the Actor’s Studio in NYC with Lee Strasberg, a lifelong supporter and friend; the creation of her own production company and subsequent roles in Bus Stop and The Prince and the Showgirl (with Laurence Olivier); her tumultuous relationship with playwright Arthur Miller, who emerged from the blacklist with his wife’s help and wrote the screenplay to 1961’s The Misfits, which was supposed to be a “valentine” to his wife but which instead marked the end of their marriage (during which Marilyn had had two miscarriages); Marilyn’s subsequent battle with depression and a much-publicized stay at the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic, which she lamented (“I’ll end up a nut ... I don’t belong here”); her return to LA in 1960, where her psychiatrist developed an unhealthy obsession with his famous patient; the fallout from her appearance at President Kennedy’s birthday bash at Madison Square Garden, which got her fired from the set of Something’s Gotta Give; and Marilyn’s final weeks anddeath (by apparent overdose) in Brentwood on August 5, 1962. She was 36.

Featuring F. Murray Abraham, Elizabeth Banks, Adrien Brody, Ellen Burstyn, Glenn Close, Hope Davis, Viola Davis, Jennifer Ehle, Ben Foster, Paul Giamatti, Jack Huston, Stephen Lang, Lindsay Lohan, Janet McTeer, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Platt, David Strathairn, Lili Taylor, Uma Thurman, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.

Written and directed by Liz Garbus; produced by Stanley Buchthal, Liz Garbus and Amy Hobby; executive producer, Anne Carey; executive producers, Olivier Courson, Harold Van Lier and Enrique Steiger; edited by Azin Samari; cinematography by Maryse Alberti; music by Philip Sheppard; co-producer, Julie Gaither.

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