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Laurence Olivier's accurate assessment of Marilyn Monroe

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by Anonymousreply 29May 27, 2019 12:46 AM

I'll bet he wouldn't say that to her face today!

by Anonymousreply 1May 26, 2019 7:11 PM

He looks like he could be Joan Plowright's brother in that video. Maybe people are attracted to what's physically similar to them, even if the similarity shows decades later.

by Anonymousreply 2May 26, 2019 7:17 PM

R2 Hahaaaaaa, I agree

by Anonymousreply 3May 26, 2019 7:18 PM

R He had already said that to her face many decades ago!

by Anonymousreply 4May 26, 2019 7:18 PM

I meant R1

by Anonymousreply 5May 26, 2019 7:19 PM

That’s a fascinating clip. Olivier is being very unguarded and honest in it.

by Anonymousreply 6May 26, 2019 7:25 PM

Accurate. The Strasbergs, Greene, Miller etc. go into her head. It left her disappointed in the end.

by Anonymousreply 7May 26, 2019 7:26 PM

Who does he think he is, Arlene Francis?

by Anonymousreply 8May 26, 2019 7:27 PM

He doesn't sound very enamoured of the Actors Studio. Didn't he tell Dustin Hoffman to "just try acting" instead of using instruction from the Actors Studio?

by Anonymousreply 9May 26, 2019 7:37 PM

What he is saying was common knowledge in the studios at the time. Marylin was notorious for tardiness and no-shows. Consuming much alcohol and barbiturates will do that to you. She was obviously frequently depressed with compounding psychological issues. Though not diagnosed early at the time, she displayed classic bipolar symptoms. Her choices in relationships were quite dismal.

by Anonymousreply 10May 26, 2019 7:39 PM

He's incredibly condescending to her, he basically said that she should have stuck to being sexy and making fluff, that all her pretenses and aspirations just got in the way of her natural talent for being sexy and making fluff.

Being condescending doesn't make him wrong, of course.

by Anonymousreply 11May 26, 2019 8:23 PM

R11 But it was the truth though.

by Anonymousreply 12May 26, 2019 8:31 PM

I really admired Olivier’s performance as Archie Rice in The Entertainer. He played a great cad, narcissist and all-around fuckup.

by Anonymousreply 13May 26, 2019 8:37 PM

Olivier’s self-loathing is extreme and shows up in his best performances in REBECCA, CARRIE and THE ENTERTAINER.

As for him telling off Dustin Hoffman, that anecdote always makes me laugh. Like Olivier wasn’t prone to disgraceful acts of ham.

by Anonymousreply 14May 26, 2019 8:48 PM

[quote]Olivier’s self-loathing is extreme and shows up in his best performances in REBECCA, CARRIE and THE ENTERTAINER.

How do you mean?

by Anonymousreply 15May 26, 2019 9:59 PM

He was always sensitive about being thought a 'poofter' for being an actor, so he over-compensated by chasing women, and probably thought he would bed her- something he could brag about to his mates. He wanted to make that movie with her because he got to play a lusty cunthound, and hoped it would shake his prissy Thespian image.

She shines in the film, despite him. No one noticed him.

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by Anonymousreply 16May 26, 2019 10:40 PM

Marilyn had a lot of insecurities. She was a perfectionist with a constant fear of failure, so it's no surprise that she had stage fright and delayed appearing on set for hours. She often had to be coaxed out of her dressing room because she usually felt she wasn't up to the task of performing. She was known to stutter or break out in hives before getting in front of the cameras. Olivier makes it seem like she was being vindictive when it really was a manifestation of her fears.

She was the boss on The Prince And The Showgirl. Her production company was funding that film. She made the mistake of agreeing to let Olivier direct it as well as co-star in it. He was not known to be patient and tolerant. He was dismissive of The Actors Studio and Method acting. He told her to just be sexy and their working relationship soured soon after.

I think her stint at The Actors Studio benefitted her for the most part. You only need to see Bus Stop to realize that she had range and could develop further. It helped that Josh Logan, Bus Stop's director, was patient with her and not patronizing like Olivier. If her life had been longer, she could've expanded her abilities. Look how Farrah Fawcett transformed her career years after she had been a sex symbol on Charlie's Angels.

As for the troubles she caused during the filming of TPATS, she blows Olivier out of the water onscreen. I agree, R16. You can't take your eyes off her in their scenes together. The film itself is slow and often stagnant, but she's not the weak link in it.

Billy Wilder criticized her several times, but admitted she was worth it for the end result: "My Aunt Millie is a nice lady. If she were in pictures she would always be on time. She would know her lines. She would be nice. Why does everyone in Hollywood want to work with Marilyn Monroe and no one wants to work with my Aunt Millie? Because no one will go to the movies to watch my Aunt Millie."

Marilyn was 20th Century-Fox's biggest moneymaker during the 1950s, and that's why they put up with her.

Daily Mail recently had an article about a letter Marilyn wrote to Lee Strasberg. Her writing is articulate and offers some insight into her thoughts. She was planning on forming another production company (this time with her friend Marlon Brando) and wanted Strasberg to be part of it. As with so many of her things, the letter is up for auction.

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by Anonymousreply 17May 26, 2019 10:44 PM

For people who didn’t watch the video, it was a funny story where in Marilyn went to Arthur Miller’s Jewish family’s house. She had matzoh ball soup for lunch and when they came time to serve dinner they decided to give it to her again and she said “isn’t there another part of the matzoh that tasted good instead of just the balls?” Or something like that

by Anonymousreply 18May 26, 2019 10:59 PM

Team Marilyn

by Anonymousreply 19May 26, 2019 11:01 PM

"She often had to be coaxed out of her dressing room because she usually felt she wasn't up to the task of performing. "

Nobody with a theatrical background would have any patience with that. In the theater, you ARE on time no matter what you're going through, you DO show up if humanly possible, you DO make your entrance on time and say your lines on cue now matter how bad your stage fright is, you DO get it right the first time because there's to retakes... or you don't work in theater. All the stuff that Marilyn struggled throughout her career is entry-level basic requirements for getting your first job, for theatrical actors.

So if the Strasbergs were really her friends instead of exploiters, they would have been clear about that and discouraged Marilyn from working with a theatrical actor and director like Olivier. They should have looked for someone mellow and patient and happy to spend the studio's money, not a theatrical knight.

by Anonymousreply 20May 26, 2019 11:07 PM

True, R18. That's is an articulate letter, and it has a distinct personal voice. I noticed that she wrote it at the end of 1961, seven months before she died. In the letter, she is envisioning her professional future, a new beginning involving those who she considers important to her need to improve as an actress. How likely is that someone suicidal would write that.

by Anonymousreply 21May 26, 2019 11:08 PM

R15 Olivier was thick with self-loathing and was best in films like REBECCA, CARRIE and THE ENTERTAINER in which his characters hated themselves as well.

by Anonymousreply 22May 26, 2019 11:09 PM

And he ended up with that dog, Joan Plowright

by Anonymousreply 23May 26, 2019 11:25 PM

R20: Except Marilyn was a movie actress, not an actress in the theater. She didn't have to recite long lines of dialogue perfectly, since moviemaking can select the best parts out of dozens of retakes to assemble a finished product. That's what film editors do.

She was the popular star and the box office draw during The Prince And The Showgirl. Olivier had the respect but his career in films was on the downswing, later to be revived by The Entertainer in 1960. He needed her for box office success more than she needed him for "respectability". Her production company was making the film and Olivier was a hired director, an employee. She was the executive producer in charge of this venture. It was her playing field he entered. Why he thought he could antagonize the boss and make it a success is puzzling. Yes, it was a mistake that she allowed him to direct. Both of them were optimistic at the outset, but seemed to ignore the fact their acting methods were very different.

Furthermore, Olivier asked director Josh Logan for advice on how to work with Marilyn way before filming started. Logan was specific on how he should treat her to get the best results. Olivier completely ignored the advice and that's why everything ended badly. Yet, if you watched the film, she's one of the best things in it, not him.

by Anonymousreply 24May 26, 2019 11:28 PM

She wasn't a 'model' like Larry says. She liked performing, she liked movies and she liked her fans. She was a film actress and good one.

And 60 years later people are still enjoying her movies and talking about her. She wasn't a 'fluke'.

by Anonymousreply 25May 26, 2019 11:36 PM

R21: I don't believe she intended to kill herself. You don't make plans for the future if you are planning suicide.

The tabloid narrative would have you believe her career was over, she was washed-up, she couldn't take it anymore. In fact, shortly before her death she was rehired to finish Something's Got To Give, with a better contract and salary. Dean Martin had the power to reject his co-star and didn't want her replaced. Also, she was in talks with other filmmakers (some from other countries) about possible film projects. She went to Mexico to buy furniture for her modest Mexican-style home. And then that recently revealed letter which shows she was invested in continuing her acting career with a production company. This is not the behavior of a suicidal person.

by Anonymousreply 26May 26, 2019 11:37 PM

No, planning a new company and a future is not the behavior of someone who is suicidally depressed, but nobody ever said she was suicidally depressed for the last years of her life. She was, however, very unstable (possibly bipolar or borderline), and she had addictions and bad relationships with everyone in her life, and terrible work habits that were only tolerated as long as she was making big bucks for the studios.

So I don't know how realistic her plans for the future were at that point, probably not very.

by Anonymousreply 27May 27, 2019 12:03 AM

[quote]nobody ever said she was suicidally depressed for the last years of her life.

Are you kidding? The common refrain from the tabloids and from the lazy is that she was depressed during her last months, that she willingly killed herself because she couldn't handle the pressures of fame/her unfulfilled dreams/her inability to have children/her ageing – take your pick. The biographers who made the effort and did the research paint a different story. Those closest to her mentioned she was cutting negative people out of her life in her last months. She was trying to wean herself off her reliance on her psychiatrist.

I think it's a bit much for random people (including "experts") to assume she was bipolar, BPD, etc. It smacks of armchair psychology. She was a troubled woman, for sure. Lots of troubled people gravitate to Hollywood for fame and the public validation it gives. I remember her as a woman who came from nothing (poverty, abuse, no family support –essentially an orphan) who accomplished much in her short life. She had determination and drive and used them to overcome a lot of obstacles, even with near-crippling insecurities. Biographers wrote that she had a pattern of getting depressed after failure and then picking herself up to try again. It's possible she could have continued with a career. She never would have reached the top if she had been as weak as some people believe.

by Anonymousreply 28May 27, 2019 12:27 AM

Yet Marilyn Monroe has become famous through the ages.

No one know who Olivier is

by Anonymousreply 29May 27, 2019 12:46 AM
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