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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Marilyn Monroe

So Marilyn Monroe would have been 85 yesterday. I don't really know why the media is so enchanted by the birthdays of dead celebrities. I guess it makes it easy to find copy to print since nobody really wants to read about the results of for example the capitol hill debate about the debt ceiling or about how foreign regimes are cutting off the body parts of 13 year old boys in the middle east.

Until Yesterday I'd never seen a Marilyn Monroe movie, it was complete coincidence, I'd been watching the movie off and on for about a week and had recorded it two weeks ago. The movie was The Misfits her last film, and also the last movie that Clark Gable appeared in.

I'm not giving spoiler alerts for a 50 year old movie so I'll jump right in. Marilyn plays a woman who is visiting Reno to get a divorce. She and her friend, who is some kind of professional divorce witness, meet up with two men at the local casino and go home with them. Marilyn accepts the offer of one of them to live in his home and Clark Gable ends up wooing her and living in the house with her. She goes out on the town and every man wants her, which causes old Clark to become jealous. Clark is a cowboy bum who hates working for wages for some reason and who decides to go catch some wild horses in the mountains. Marilyn goes along with him and two other men who are completely struck with her and once she finds out that the men are just going to sell the horses for dog food rather than keep them as pets, freaks out and causes a scene. The cowboy and the guy who loaned her the house decide that no woman is worth giving up horse meat for, even though Marilyn's character offers to pay an 80 percent premium over market value for the horses. The movie also includes drunken driving scenes, rodeos and plenty of scenes of Marilyn sighing and being tragically submissive. The movie ends with Clark throwing Marilyn to the ground and then relenting to her demands to free the horses. Then they ride away in his truck, homeless and vowing to have babies together.

What can you say to that? At some point was white trash considered sexy? I would highly recommend a listen to Doug Stanhope's "Drambuie" sketch from his most recent album to go along with a viewing of this movie. The main message I got from this movie is that nothing is more romantic than a jobless drunk homeless man who beats you but afterwards feels so guilty about it that he treats you like the princess you really are. I wasn't around in 1958 so I'm hopeful that this was actually a high art tragedy and not a romance but wow, why star Marilyn Monroe wearing fur coats and designer clothes if it was meant to be a sad movie and why the romantic music as she rides off into the starlight with her homeless drunken beau?

Supposedly, Marilyn was an intellectual who collected literature and read difficult texts on breaks, so maybe this was a tragic screenplay meant to expose the plight of divorced women before the modern feminist movement. Unfortunately I suspect that is is just a sad commentary on where we were at as a society before the 1960s.

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Hey I appreciate you leaving your thoughts behind! Be well my friend.