Sunday, August 07, 2005
Resquiescat in Pacem, Once Again
Some sort of publicity shot for How to Marry a Millionaire, the Siren's personal favorite among Marilyn Monroe's performances.
Annie over at Blogdorf Goodman has drawn my attention to the latest story about Monroe's death. An 86-year-old gentleman has come forward, forty years after her death, to proffer a transcript of a tape he says Monroe made for her psychiatrist. Alas, this gentleman is the only living person who heard it, and the tapes were destroyed. But aren't we the lucky ducks, because in that transcript Monroe just happens to discuss every rumor about her. Yep, addressed every one of them, right on down to the old queries about whether Joan Crawford made a pass at her. And while she was at it, she told the shrink her views on Freud and James Joyce, because shrinks love that sort of stuff.
The Siren wonders when, precisely, the journalistic response to "Because I said so" became "Really? Okay, let's run the story then!" She suspects--suspects, mind you--that it might have been around the same time Paula Jones poked her proboscis into the nightly news. Call the Siren a fussy old cynic, but this alleged transcript reads like Harold Robbins circa The Carpetbaggers..
Since nobody else, from the UK Daily Telegraph to the Los Angeles Times, has bothered to look at whether the style of expression seems to match Marilyn's, the Siren would like to point out something for her small audience. One thing we do know about the actress is that she had a lively sense of humor. Her best work was in comedies, and the record (the substantiated record, that is) is full of her snappy, even witty remarks. There's no real humor in this thing at all. When the subject is sexual, the "transcript" is deadly earnest in its prurience. At other times it's just stuffy. It is good to know that Monroe took pains to remind people that the line about "hell hath no fury" is Congreve, not Shakespeare.
And, of course, it's perfectly logical that if Monroe were making a tape for the purposes of getting her mind straightened out, she'd want to tell the doctor about how great Clark Gable was in Gone with the Wind and not dwell on trivia like her miscarriage after Some Like It Hot.
Question for the Los Angeles Times, which broke this news: Did no one think to call a reputable Monroe biographer like Barbara Leaming or Donald Spoto, and ask whether the transcript passes the smell test? Spoto's biography neatly debunked the "Kennedys killed Marilyn" tripe by tracing that rumor to its source, Norman Mailer. Mailer has confessed that he hadn't a single concrete reason to float that idea, other than the knowledge that it would sell books and help him make his alimony payments.
More even than her supposed paramour John F. Kennedy, Monroe and her tragic end attract the credulous. See them lined up to buy this latest bit of gold-plated rubbish. The Siren finds it all about as appetizing as watching people dig through Monroe's lingerie drawers.
Marilyn Monroe made some excellent movies, all of which are available on DVD. An evening spent with even the least of these would be far more constructive than exhuming her corpse for one last peepshow.
[Note: This post has been edited with additional material to accomodate the Siren's growing indignation.]