9continued) Nothing less than the sexual revolution began with these notes, as when for instance, she refers to the "subway grate" scene in the script: "Child w/a woman. Direct & fem[inine]. Open... This is everything there is in the world. Light & easy. Everything flies out of her. Newborn - the baby looking at the moon for the first time."
But if Marilyn Monroe made sex natural, that doesn't mean making it came easily. Nothing is harder to create than nature; no emotion is more complicated and difficult to portray than simple joy; and being Marilyn Monroe - so natural, simple and joyous - was, for Marilyn Monroe, a painstaking, calculated and serious business.
She who seemed so blithely unaware was, in fact, the most self-conscious of actresses. "I had no problems with Monroe," Billy Wilder said about directing her in The Seven Year Itch: "It was Monroe who had problems with Monroe." Here we see, sometimes line-by-line, how she thought about playing her scenes - even including a note to show herself thinking. Not a muscle moved, in fact, unpremeditated. "Let go of - drop - then let everything come from there - stomach"; "Look first indecisive - pause - hesitation - little smile"; "My body into his - sliding into him as if I want to sleep with him right then & there. Swing hips again"; "All together one thought." Perhaps the most remarkable note, however, is the last.
On the verso of the final page of the script, Monroe sums up how she will play the part of "THE GIRL" and in doing so, change both modern life and her own personal history. In a staccato tattoo, she writes: "Make only little effort... giving it away - yourself - not keeping anything in myself ... What is the quality of the electricity... only thru him... there is nothing else any where ... open to him, my destiny to him (help carry the burden)... play the girl open and free, and it shall help me, Marilyn to be free, direct, open, honest, frank, charming - fresh, a twinkle, only morality, nature, a moral child."
Montgomery Clift, considered to be one of the finest film actors ever, said in an interview shortly before his death that Marilyn Monroe was, hands down, the single best actor with whom he ever worked. "Marilyn was an incredible person to act with.... the most marvelous I ever worked with, and I have been working for 29 years," he declared. "She went over the fringe. Playing a scene with her, it was like an escalator. You'd do something and she'd catch it and it would go like that, just right up." But getting to the top, making the metamorphosis from Norma Jean to Marilyn; from Marilyn to superstar; from superstar to icon - it did not happen effortlessly, or accidentally, or luckily. She made it happen, all of it, line by line and scene by scene: this extraordinary script shows us how, and why.
COA from Heritage Auctions.