Monday, May 16, 2011

Marilyn Monroe & David C. Nolan: Part 1 (April's Research)

Over the course of the last few weeks (after the group critique with Chris, Carly, Amelia and Drew), I've been conducting Marilyn Monroe research. After a little Google searching in April, wondering what Marilyn Monroe was doing around 25th May 1955 (since all these photographs have this date stamped on them), I discovered she was involved with this:

• Edward R. Murrow interviewed Marilyn live on "Person to Person" on 8th April 1955:

• The world premiere of the The Seven Year Itch occurred on 1st June 1955. Since many of the photographs in David C. Nolan's collection center around this movie (surprisingly, it wasn't even out yet so he acquired the photographs early), I checked this movie out from Netflix. I will preface this with I've only seen two other Marilyn Monroe movies: Some Like It Hot which I actually like due to the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego as a backdrop and Niagara which I saw earlier this year on Marni's recommendation after my Niagara Falls experience. I did not like The Seven Year Itch, however, I watched it for the sake of artistic research (sigh).

This premiere occurred on Marilyn's 29th birthday. David C. Nolan has two ages for Marilyn (one is crossed out and rewritten 28 while the other remains 25). Age 28 was accurate.

There is so much information about the infamous dress photograph (which I really looked forward to seeing in the movie because it is the defining moment of that film but it wasn't a part of it = part of my aggravation, aside from the main actor who needed to stop talking). From IMDB: "The classic shot of Marilyn Monroe's dress blowing up around her legs as she stands over a subway grating was originally shot on Manhattan's Lexington Avenue at 52nd St. on Sept. 15, 1954 at 1 AM. 5000 onlookers whistled and cheered through take after take as Marilyn repeatedly missed her lines. This occurred in the presence of an increasingly embarrassed and angry Joe DiMaggio, Monroe's husband at the time. The original footage shot on that night in New York never made it to the screen; the noise of the crowd had made it unusable. Billy Wilder re-staged the scene on the 20th Century Fox lot, on a set replicating Lexington Avenue, and got a more satisfactory result. However, it took another 40 takes for Marilyn to achieve the famous scene."

Weegee was even there to photograph it!

This was an interesting account of George Zimbel's photograph of the same scene.

One of the main publicity photos from the event:

The image in David C. Nolan's collection (Note: there are a handful of images from his collection that are crops like this):

• Marilyn died 5th August 1962, seven years after the 1955 stamp was placed on Nolan's collection. The (DEAD) handwriting that appears on the back was written by the same person but he has the shaky penmanship of a far older person. It has been suggested to me by two different parties to get a handwriting analysis (one reason is to see if we can figure out the age difference between the two). I think I'll work on that later this summer (hopefully there is some that teaches criminology at school and can point me in the right direction).

• The address, 104 Webster Street, San Francisco has two versions on Google Maps - one from the front and one from the side. Needless to say, visiting this location is on the agenda for the California trip.

Next up.... this week's research.

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