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Marilyn: The Premiere Collection [17 Discs] (DVD) (Boxed Set)

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Overview

Special Features

  • Closed Captioned

Synopsis

All About Eve
Based on the story The Wisdom of Eve by Mary Orr, All About Eve is an elegantly bitchy backstage story revolving around aspiring actress Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter). Tattered and forlorn, Eve shows up in the dressing room of Broadway mega-star Margo Channing (Bette Davis), weaving a melancholy life story to Margo and her friends. Taking pity on the girl, Margo takes Eve as her personal assistant. Before long, it becomes apparent that naïve Eve is a Machiavellian conniver who cold-bloodedly uses Margo, her director Bill Sampson (Gary Merill), Lloyd's wife Karen (Celeste Holm), and waspish critic Addison De Witt (George Sanders) to rise to the top of the theatrical heap. Also appearing in All About Eve is Marilyn Monroe, introduced by Addison De Witt as "a graduate of the Copacabana school of dramatic art." This is but one of the hundreds of unforgettable lines penned by writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz, the most famous of which is Margo Channing's lip-sneering admonition, "Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." All About Eve received 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Let's Make It Legal
Let's Make It Legal begins at the end--the end of the long marriage between beautiful grandmother Miriam (Claudette Colbert) and her chronic-gambler husband Hugh (Macdonald Carey). Barbara (Barbara Bates), the daughter of the couple, hopes to bring her parents back together, which proves to be a difficult proposition when Miriam's old flame Victor (Zachary Scott), now a millionaire, arrives in town. Hugh tries all sorts of comic strategies to win his ex-wife back, but to no avail. Ultimately, Miriam must choose between the financially solvent Victor and the impishly irresponsible Hugh. This being a comedy, it isn't hard to figure who's going to be headed to the altar at fade-out time. Let's Make It Legal was partly designed to showcase two of Fox's up-and-coming contract players: Robert Wagner and Marilyn Monroe. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

As Young As You Feel
Based on a story by Paddy Chayefsky, this is the tale of a man who is being forced to retire from his job, at the age of 65, and decides to fight back. Impersonating the head of the company, he sets out to convince them to get rid of their outmoded retirement policy and gives a creditable speech on the dignity of man, gaining national attention. This movie features good performances, but it will probably be remembered more for the bit part played by a young Marilyn Monroe as the boss' secretary. ~ Tana Hobart, Rovi, Rovi

Love Nest
Love Nest is a thoroughly likeable formula comedy with a most engaging cast. William Lundigan plays Jim Scott, an aspiring writer who, together with his wife Connie (June Haver), moves into the basement of an apartment building that they've bought. Scott's hopes to keep financially solvent are thwarted by the everyday travails of maintaining the building and ministering to the needs of the tenants. The episodic plotline settles on the activities of charming con artist Charley Patterson (Frank Fay), who targets tenant Eadie Gaynor (Leatrice Joy) as his latest victim. When Patterson is finally arrested, he generously offers to tell his life story to Scott, thereby launching the latter's writing career in earnest. Love Nest was frequently revived throughout the 1950s and 1960s because of the supporting-cast presence of future sex symbol Marilyn Monroe and TV talk host Jack Paar. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Monkey Business
Howard Hawks hoped to capture the screwball comic fervor of his 1938 film Bringing Up Baby with his 1952 comedy Monkey Business. As in the earlier film, Cary Grant stars as an absent-minded professor involved in a research project. This time he's a chemist seeking a "fountain of youth" formula that will revitalize middle-agers both mentally and physically. Though Grant's own laboratory experiments yield little fruit, a lab monkey, let loose from its cage, mixes a few random chemicals and comes up with just the formula Grant is looking for. This mixture is inadvertently dumped in the lab's water supply; the fun begins when staid, uptight Grant drinks some of the "bitter" water, then begins cutting up like a teenager. A harmless afternoon on the town with luscious secretary Marilyn Monroe rouses the ire of Grant's wife Ginger Rogers, but her behavior is even more infantile when she falls under the spell of the youth formula. Everyone remembers the best line in Monkey Business: foxy-grandpa research supervisor Charles Coburn hands the curvacious Monroe a letter and says "Get someone to type this". Even better is his next line: after Monroe sashays out of the room, Coburn turns to Grant and, with eyes atwinkle, murmurs "Anyone can type." Likewise amusing is Monkey Business's pre-credits gag, wherein Cary Grant opens a door and is about to step forward when director Hawks, off-camera, admonishes "Not yet, Cary." Among the co-conspirators on Monkey Business's carefree script are Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer and I.A.L. Diamond, with an original story by Harry Segall (Here Comes Mr. Jordan) as their source. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Niagara
Belated honeymooners Polly (Jean Peters) and Ray Cutler (Casey Adams) arrive at their Niagara Falls cottage only to find that Rose (Marilyn Monroe) and George Loomis (Joseph Cotten) have not yet checked out. Though the Cutlers temporarily take another cabin, the lives of the two couples are bound together for the next two days. Polly discovers that Rose is having an affair and that George, though emotionally unstable, has good reason for his jealous rage. George accurately suspects that Rose openly flaunts her sexuality to make him act crazy in front of witnesses. This is part of Rose's plan: her lover Patrick (Richard Allan) will kill George and make it look like suicide or a disappearance. Instead, George kills Patrick, and he returns to kill Rose, but finds Polly instead. As she had been sympathetic to him, he asks her not to tell anyone that he is alive so he can simply disappear. But, realizing that he wants to kill Rose, Polly informs the police. What follows is escalating terror, with George stalking Rose, Rose desperately trying to leave town, the police searching for both of them, and finally George and Polly adrift in a boat heading for the precipice. In Henry Hathaway's Technicolor film noir, Niagara Falls serves as an apt metaphor for the destructive power of out-of-control carnal and murderous obsessions. ~ Steve Press, Rovi, Rovi

We're Not Married
Having supped full of success with the multi-storied O. Henry's Full House, 20th Century-Fox assembled another all-star "omnibus" film, We're Not Married. The unifying factor of this enjoyable seriocomedy is provided by justice-of-the-peace Melvin Bush (Victor Moore), who learns to his horror that his license is invalid. Bush and his wife (Jane Darwell) feverishly track down the five couples whom he has married "illegally" to inform them of the fact and invite them to renew their vows. Couple #1 is Fred Allen and Ginger Rogers, a husband-and-wife radio team whose huggy-kissy behavior on the air conceals the fact that they'd dearly love to cut each other's throats. Couple #2 consists of David Wayne and his contest-happy spouse Marilyn Monroe, who's just won the "Mrs. Mississippi" pageant. Couple #3, Paul Douglas and Eve Arden, ran out of things to say to each other long ago. Couple #4 is millionaire Louis Calhern and his avaricious young bride Eva Gabor, who intends to jilt the old coot and make off with his millions. And Couple #5 is young GI Eddie Bracken and his pregnant wife Mitzi Gaynor. When Bush delivers the news that these unions aren't legal in the eyes of the state, the results range from poignant to hilarious: particularly satisfying is Calhern's puckish revenge on his gold-digging wife. And yes, that is Lee Marvin as Eddie Bracken's army buddy. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

O. Henry's Full House
This anthology film assembles five respected directors and a top-notch cast to bring a handful of stories by the great American author O. Henry to the screen. In The Cop and the Anthem, a tramp named Soapy (Charles Laughton) tries to get arrested so that he can spend the winter in jail, only to find that is not as easy as it used to be. Marilyn Monroe appears in this episode as a streetwalker. The Clarion Call features Dale Robertson as Barney, a cop forced to arrest an old friend, Johnny (Richard Widmark). Anne Baxter stars in The Last Leaf as Joanna, an elderly woman who sees her own illness reflected in the fall of the autumn leaves; she's convinced that when the last leaf drops from the tree outside her window, her life will go with it. The Ransom of Red Chief concerns Sam (Fred Allen) and Bill (Oscar Levant), two novice kidnappers who kidnap a child, only to discover that his parents don't want him back -- and after a few hours with the brat, they find out why. And The Gift of the Magi tells the story of a pair of cash-strapped newlyweds, Della (Jeanne Craine) and Jim (Farley Granger), who struggle to get each other the perfect Christmas gift, with unexpected results. John Steinbeck narrates. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi, Rovi

Don't Bother to Knock
Sex symbol Marilyn Monroe went dramatic in 1952's Don't Bother to Knock. Monroe plays Nell Forbes, a beautiful but suicidal young woman, recently released from a mental institution. She doesn't mention this on her resumé when she takes a baby-sitting job in a posh hotel. Jed Towers (Richard Widmark), a hotel guest, tries to make time with Nell after his own girlfriend, played by Anne Bancroft, has told him to take a hike. As Nell and Jed neck on the couch, the little girl whom Nell is tending (Donna Corcoran) surprises the spooning couple. This drives the psychotic Nell over the edge, forcing Jed to try to keep the baby-sitter from killing both herself and the child. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Second-billed Marilyn Monroe is the blonde in question in this second film version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: Miss Lorelei Lee, whose philosophy is "diamonds are a girl's best friend." Together with her best human friend Dorothy (top-billed Jane Russell), showgirl Lorelei embarks upon a boat trip to Paris, where she intends to marry millionaire Gus Esmond (Tommy Noonan). En route, the girls are bedeviled by private detective Malone (Elliot Reid), hired by Esmond's father (Taylor Holmes) to make certain that Lorelei isn't just another gold-digger. When Dorothy falls in love with the poverty-stricken Malone, Lorelei decides to find her pal a wealthier potential husband, and that's how she gets mixed up with flirtatious diamond merchant Sir Francis Beekman (Charles Coburn) and precocious youngster Henry Spofford III (George "Foghorn" Winslow). Most of the Leo Robin-Jule Styne songs from the Broadway show remain intact, including Marilyn Monroe's rendition of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," a production number later imitated by pop icon Madonna. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

How to Marry a Millionaire
A remake of 1933's The Greeks Had a Word for Them, as well as a retread of 20th Century-Fox's favorite plotline, How to Marry a Millionaire was the first Hollywood comedy to be lensed in Cinemascope. Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe play three models of modest means who rent an expensive Manhattan penthouse apartment and pose as women of wealth. It's all part of a scheme hatched by Bacall to snare rich husbands for herself and her roommates. The near-sighted Monroe is wooed by an international playboy, but ends up settling for the tax-dodging fugitive (David Wayne) who owns the girls' apartment. The knuckle-headed Grable goes off on an illicit weekend in the mountains with a grouchy married executive (Fred Clark), but falls instead for a comparatively poor--but very handsome--forest ranger (Rory Calhoun). And Bacall very nearly lands an aging millionaire (William Powell), but has a sudden attack of conscience and opts instead for the supposedly poverty-stricken chap (Cameron Mitchell) who has been pursuing her since reel one. It turns out that she has actually landed one of the richest men in New York--and upon learning this, our three luscious heroines faint dead away. Before the opening credits roll in How to Marry a Millionaire, we are treated to a "live" orchestral rendition of Alfred Newman's "Street Scene" overture, conducted by Newman himself. In addition to its being the first wide-screen comedy, Millionaire was also the first-ever presentation of the weekly NBC series Saturday Night at the Movies, premiering on the small screen on September 23, 1961. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

There's No Business Like Show Business
Like Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938), 20th Century-Fox's There's No Business Like Show Business is a "catalogue" film, its thinnish plot held together by an itinerary of Irving Berlin tunes. The story chronicles some twenty years in the lives of a showbiz family, headed by Dan Dailey and Ethel Merman. Two of the couple's three grown children -- Donald O'Connor and Mitzi Gaynor -- carry on the family tradition, while the third, Johnny Ray, decides to become a priest. There are a few tense moments when O'Connor falls in love with ambitious chorine Marilyn Monroe and loses all sense of perspective, but the family reunites during a splashy production-number finale. Highlights include Dailey and Merman's Play a Simple Melody duet, O'Connor's A Man Chases a Girl solo, and Monroe's tempestuous rendition of Heat Wave (her delivery and stage presence both compensate for her unflattering bare-midriff costume). Of historical interest, There's No Business Like Show Business was Fox's first CinemaScope musical; as such, it is best viewed on TV in "letterbox" format. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

The Seven Year Itch
Like thousands of other Manhattanites, Tom Ewell annually packs his wife (Evelyn Keyes) and children off to summer vacation, staying behind to work at the office. This particular summer, the lonely Ewell begins fantasizing about the many women he'd foresworn upon getting married (in one of the fantasies, Ewell and Marguerite Chapman parody the beach rendezvous in From Here to Eternity). He is jolted back to reality when he meets his new neighbor--luscious model Marilyn Monroe. Inviting Monroe to dinner, Ewell intends to sweep her off her feet and into the boudoir. Things don't quite work out that way, thanks to Ewell's clumsiness (and essential decency) and Monroe's naivete. Still, Ewell becomes convinced that his impure thoughts will somehow be transmitted to his vacationing wife and to the rest of the world, leaving him wide open for scandal and ruination. In the original play, the husband and the next-door neighbor did have an affair, but both play and film arrived at the same happy ending, with Ewell and his missus contentedly reunited at summer's end. Featured in the cast of The Seven Year Itch are Robert Strauss as a lascivious handyman, Sonny Tufts as Evelyn Keye's former beau, Donald MacBride as Ewell's glad-handing boss, and veteran Broadway funny man Victor Moore in a cameo as a nervous plumber. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Bus Stop
In this cinemadaptation of William Inge's Broadway comedy Bus Stop, Marilyn Monroe is cast as Cherie, a fifth-rate nightclub chanteuse who captures the heart of Montana rodeo champ Bo (Don Murray). He, in turn, kidnaps Cherie and bundles her off to the roadside bus stop of the title. Gradually, the headstrong Bo learns that you can't rope a gal the same way you lasso a steer, but before this happens his face is rearranged by gallant bus driver Carl (Robert Bray). By this time, however, Cherie has fallen in love with her impulsive but basically good-hearted abductor. Others in the cast include Arthur O'Connell as Bo's level-headed travelling companion and "protector" Virgil, Betty Field as down-to-earth bus stop proprietress Grace, and Eileen Heckart as Cherie's confidante Vera. The film later inspired a 1961 TV series. A few TV prints of Bus Stop still exist bearing the alternate title Wrong Kind of Girl. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Some Like It Hot
The launching pad for Billy Wilder's comedy classic was a rusty old German farce, Fanfares of Love, whose two main characters were male musicians so desperate to get a job that they disguise themselves as women and play with an all-girl band in gangster-dominated 1929 Chicago. In this version, musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) lose their jobs when a speakeasy owned by mob boss Spats Columbo (George Raft) is raided by prohibition agent Mulligan (Pat O'Brien). Several weeks later, on February 14th, Joe and Jerry get a job perfroming in Urbana and end up witnessing a gangland massacre in a parking garage. Fearing that they will be next on the mobsters' hit lists, Joe devises an ingenious plan for disguising their identities. Soon they are all dolled up and performing as Josephine and Daphne in Sweet Sue's all-girl orchestra. En route to Florida by train with Sweet Sue's band, the boys (girls?) make the acquaintance of Sue's lead singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe, in what may be her best performance). Joe and Jerry immediately fall in love, though of course their new feminine identities prevent them from acting on their desires. Still, they are determined to woo her, and they enact an elaborate series of gender-bending ruses complicated by the fact that flirtatious millionaire Osgood Fielding (Joe E. Brown) has fallen in love with "Daphne." The plot gets even thicker when Spats Columbo and his boys show up in Florida. Nominated for several Oscars, Some Like It Hot ended up the biggest moneymaking comedy up to 1959. Full of hilarious set pieces and movie in-jokes, it has not tarnished with time and in fact seems to get better with each passing year, as its cross-dressing humor keeps it only more and more up-to-date. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi, Rovi

Let's Make Love
Let's Make Love is a breezy comedy about an off Broadway musical production. Jean-Marc Clement (Yves Montand) is the richest man in the world and looking for someone who loves him instead of his money. He reads in Variety he is to be satirized in the new production and tries out for the part. The producers hire him, unaware of his real identity. He hires Bing Crosby, Milton Berle and Gene Kelly to coach him for the role. Amanda (Marilyn Monroe) is the poor aspiring actress who lands a part in the play. Her opening number is the classic "My Heart Belongs To Daddy". Unaware of his fabulous wealth, she falls for the playboy billionaire during the rehearsals for the show. Tony Randall plays Montand's fussy public relations agent and tries to keep his boss from embarassment. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi, Rovi

The Misfits
The final film of stars Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe is an elegy for the death of the Old West from writer Arthur Miller and director John Huston. Gable stars as Gay Langland, an aging hand traveling the byways and working at rodeos with his two comrades, Guido (Eli Wallach) and young Perce Howland (Montgomery Clift). The three men come up with a plan to corral some misfit mustangs and sell them for dog food, but Gay's new girlfriend Roslyn Taber (Marilyn Monroe), a high-minded ex-stripper who has just divorced her husband Ray (Kevin McCarthy) in Reno, is appalled by the plan. Although both Guido and Perce are also in love with Roslyn, she stands by Gay, sure that in the end he will do the right thing, even as he and his pals begin their planned roundup. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi, Rovi

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