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Happy Birthday Ms. Monroe!


It seems that Marilyn Monroe has been guiding my life of late and on this, her 86th birthday, I figured now’s as good a time as any to thank Ms. Monroe for her contributions to film, and her contributions to my life.

If not for Marilyn, Journeys in Classic Film would not exist!  If you’ve been following the blog for a while you should know I started this blog with a look at all of Marilyn’s films in My Month With Marilyn.  It was supposed to last less than a month and ended up being more than a month (sadly I hadn’t gotten on a consistent schedule yet).  I knew I wouldn’t be able to do something this in-depth at one of the sites I write for regularly, and figured a blog would be a good idea!  In that time I was able to watch a bunch of Marilyn’s movies as well as giving my thoughts on the Oscar nominated My Week with Marilyn film.  Even now, eight months later my various posts in the My Month with Marilyn series still get views (in looking at top posts for May 28th it seems 3 people read my review of Marilyn in Home Town Story)!  I saw some great films and some not so great films and got more than a few comments from people giving their own thoughts on Marilyn, all that in a feature that I didn’t think I’d continue.

Marilyn At Rainbow's End: Sex, Lies, Murder, and the Great Cover-up

Marilyn also helped me get into the book reviewing game!  I’d mentioned that I was holding back two books that I would be reviewing, well let’s reveal one!  I’m a big fan of Marilyn biographies as they’re all so diverse.  Each biographer has their own take on Marilyn and the various aspects of her life.  With that I discovered Darwin Porter was writing a new book about Marilyn’s death.  I’ll go more in-depth on Porter and the book soon (which I hope to finish…it’s a pretty lengthy tome) but on a whim I decided to email him for a review copy of his upcoming book Marilyn at Rainbow’s End…and he graciously sent me a copy!  Again, I’ll be reviewing the book soon but without Marilyn, who knows if I’d have had the courage to ask!

Last, and certainly not least, Marilyn gave me a new favorite television show.  I don’t generally talk about television but I fell hard for NBC’s musical Smash.  I needed a new musical as Glee has gone completely off the rails and figured a show about a Marilyn Monroe musical can’t be any worse.  Everything about this show ended up drawing me in from the original songs to Broadway star Megan Hilty trying her damnedest to secure the role of Marilyn (which she TOTALLY deserves).  Even my television is now peppered with Marilyn and that’s not a bad thing.

I went into a whole retrospective on Marilyn’s life at the conclusion of My Month with Marilyn but suffice it to say she’s more than “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” or a blowing skirt.  She’s a symbol of glamour, elegance, and Hollywood in its heyday.  Who knows what she could have accomplished had she lived, but at least we can celebrate what we have.  Happy birthday Marilyn!

Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

2 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Ms. Monroe! Leave a comment

  1. Re your last paragraph, what is it that really makes Marilyn such an icon? Is it because her look is so sexy? Is it because she was such a sweet harmless girl? I can understand why her movies were a success, she was certainly unique, a breath of fresh air. She seems so modern in her movies. But why the lasting affection for that image? I’ve been trying to crack this nut for ages, but I just don’t get it. I must be missing something. Help! I don’t like feeling left out of the loop!


    • That’s definitely a question worthy of its own post! My film teacher theorized that Marilyn is so iconic as she was a woman men could want but who wasn’t a threat to females. I find that…not exactly right but thus why it’s a theory. I think part of Marilyn iconography is bound up with her young death. It’s why James Dean is so iconic even though he made such a small output of films. It’s that such life and glamour could be snuffed out at just the “right” moment. Marilyn never had to grow old she’s forever locked in time as an embodiment of Hollywood and glamour. These are just my theories on why Marilyn is an icon, I’m open to hearing more. Thanks again, you’ve made me think lol!


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