Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Real & The Imagined

In 1956, at the height of her popularity, and her personal crisis, Hollywood star and International sex symbol Marilyn Monroe came to London to work with acting legend Sir Laurence Olivier in a film then titled ‘The Sleeping Prince.’ Both had their motives to collaborate in the film. Olivier, an acting royalty wanted to be a star, Monroe, a star, wanted to be an actress. Colin Clark, a young man from aristocratic background, on his first job as third assistant director in the film’s production, found himself entangled in the conflict, and also gets a rare chance to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe.

Years later, he wrote two books based on his experience of working in the film, later released as ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ — ‘The Prince, the Showgirl and Me’ and ‘My Week with Marilyn’.

In 2011, Hollywood produced a film based on these two books, about the fateful production of the film, and about the clash between Monroe and Oliver, and the myth of Marilyn Monroe, the real girl behind the sex symbol persona. At one point in the film, Marilyn, played with perfection by Michelle Williams, asks Colin, “Shall I be her?” and then, in an effortless movement, becomes the sex symbol we have come to recognise. That was Marilyn Monroe, who defined sexuality for generations to come.

Here, the first screenshot is of Marilyn Monroe, from the film ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’. The second is from ‘My Week with Marilyn’ with Williams playing Marilyn playing Elsie Marina (the protagonist of 'the prince and the showgirl') playing her role (as a showgirl) in the musical ‘The Coconut Girl’.

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