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Marilyn in Manhattan (a J!-ENT Movie Review by Dennis A. Amith)

July 4, 2012 by  



I prefer to remember Marilyn Monroe as a person who left and graced us with an amazing legacy.  A woman who would be remembered as an American icon.  And for the Marilyn Monroe fans who also want to see the happier and a positive time will no doubt enjoy this informative and enjoyable 46-minute documentary about the life of Marilyn Monroe during her stay with Milton Greene and his family. For any fan curious about this Marilyn Monroe documentary that will be released via digital courtesy of Virgil Films, “Marilyn in Manhattan” is recommended!

Marilyn in Manhattan

Executive Producer: John Parsons Peditto

Producer: Sara M. Chereskin

Edited by Patrick Gambuti, Jr.

Written by Linda Abrams, Sara M. Chereskin

Directors of Photography by Frankie DeJoseph, Anthony Salerno, Joaquin Zumbado, James Miller, Sandra Chandler

Production Executive: Blanka Nedela

Post Production: MBS Productions

Starring:

Narrated by Cynthia Adler

Marilyn Monroe (Archive)

Ellen Burstyn

Ben Gazzara

Joshua Greene

Milton H. Greene (archive)

Amy Greene-Andrews

Arthur Miller (archive)

Lee Strasberg (archive)

Susan Strasberg

An exclusive look at Marilyn Monroe just before her tragic end. Set in New York City in the 50’s – It’s a surprising documentary that captures the movie legend as she runs with Broadway pals from the Actors Studio. Ben Gazzara and Susan Strasberg tell of their nights studying with her while she tried to shake the Hollywood “dumb blonde” image.  Home movies give us rare footage into her marriage to Arthur Miller.

Back in 1954, the marriage between Marilyn Monroe and baseball great Joe DiMaggio was the talk of the world.

But her fame would prove to be too difficult for Joe.  Not long after the honeymoon, Marilyn was busy entertaining the troops as part of the USO in Korea, her skirt-blowing scene from “The Seven Year Itch” would become an iconic image for the actress that DiMaggio was not prepared to have his wife seen that way.   And the two would engaged in intense arguments and nine months later, the marriage was over.  Marilyn filed for divorce on grounds of mental cruelty.

Eventually Marilyn would marry a third time to Arthur Miller in 1956 but from that moment on, her life would never be the same.  By 1961, Marilyn would divorce once again and by 1962, the American pop and cultural icon would be found dead resulting from “probable suicide”.

While there are many books and documentaries about Marilyn Monroe’s life, one documentary titled “Marilyn in Manhattan” would focus on the year Marilyn Monroe left Hollywood after her marriage with Joe DiMaggio to live in New York with celebrity photographer Milton Greene and his family.

“Marilyn in Manhattan reveals the untold story of Marilyn’s secret stay in New York that would change her life forever.

Featuring personal reminiscences by friends including Ellen Burstyn, Ben Gazzara, Amy Greene, Joshua Greene, Susan Strasberg, agent Jay Kanter, New York publicist John Springer and archival footage with Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller, Lee Strasberg and Milton Greene.

To pay tribute to Marilyn Monroe, Virgil Digital will be releasing “Marilyn in Manhattan” on digital platforms beginning July 31st in America to coincide with the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death.

Milton met Marilyn while photographing her for “Look” Magazine back in 1953 and because of that trust between her and Greene, she would confide in him about her frustrations with 20th Century Fox (frustrated with her low salary) and under the recommendation of Greene to leave the studio, leave Los Angeles and move with him and his family in New York to plan and  create her own production company in which she would total control, she did.

And during that time in New York, Marilyn Monroe would have the opportunity to heal, live a life without Los Angeles paparazzi but also bonding with the children of Milton Greene.

And as her personal life began to improve as Marilyn would focus on bettering herself, both she and Milton Greene would form Marilyn Monroe Productions which would give Marilyn the right to work with any studio, the right to reject any script, director or cinematographer.

And while things began to look positive in the life of Marilyn Monroe once again and finding new self-confidence, she would meet playwright Arthur Miller during the filming of “Bus Stop” and the two would eventually marry.  This relationship would also change Marilyn Monroe as her new husband would be controlling of her life and separating her from people who were close to her, including the Greene family.

“Marilyn in Manhattan” is not a film trying to find out answers of why she died.  Nor is it a film that focuses on her life with Arthur Miller, but primarily focusing on how that move to New York and living with Milton Greene and his family would become beneficial to Marilyn Monroe, especially for her own personal healing.

When it comes to Marilyn Monroe, her life is quite fascinating because of her personality, her status as a cultural icon and sex symbol but also because of the tragic way her life had ended.  People are fascinated how one of America’s most popular starlets, would die a mysterious death.

As a fan of Marilyn Monroe, to tell you the truth, there are just too many stories that have been told in the last two decades that no one knows what is fact or fiction.  And as a fan, I find it all disheartening.

And here comes “Marilyn in Manhattan”, another documentary but this time, a film that doesn’t try to portray Marilyn Monroe as negative.  And most importantly, a documentary that features people who are close to her and reminisce of the time they spent with her.

This is not a documentary that focuses on her marriages or her descent as an actress, “Marilyn in Manhattan” is a film that shows us a woman who put her trust and her life in the hands of a photographer who believed in her but also didn’t take advantage of her.  He and his family wanted to help her and that is what they did in 1955.

Milton Greene is a man who literally gave up his life as a photographer, mortgage his home to finance Marilyn in order for her to get out of 20th Century Fox where she felt she was underpaid, unappreciated but most importantly, to get her out of Hollywood.  During that time that she spend with the Greene family, she had the opportunity to heal, to get out of the limelight of Los Angeles paparazzi and pursue acting classes to better herself.

Despite her sexy image, her flirtatious style, unlike her sterotypical roles of playing the naive blonde, she was a smart business woman.  And the film shows us those positive decisions that Marilyn made in her life.

But with that positivity, it’s not easy to hide the terrible upbringing she had as Norma Jean Baker.   An upbringing that had an effect on Marilyn Monroe’s life, may it be sleep disturbance, substance abuse or disturbed interpersonal relationships.

Watching this documentary, I can see how being with the Greene family was a positive influence in Marilyn’s life but old habits are hard to break.  She had always found herself in troubled relationships and her final marriage to Arthur Miller and being kept away from the Greene’s would no doubt lead to the removal of any stable and positive influence in Marilyn’s life.

But despite how things would become for Marilyn during her marriage with Arthur Miller, “Marilyn in Manhattan” is a documentary that shows us one of the bright moments of Marilyn Monroe’s life while living in New York City.  While that source of positivity and this professional relationship between Marilyn Monroe and Milton Greene would only last less than a year, that time with Greene would become a rebirth of Marilyn Monroe as an actress but also as an individual who both saw the opportunity for Marilyn to take back her life and most importantly, to be happy once again.

Overall, I prefer to remember Marilyn Monroe as a person who left and graced us with an amazing legacy.  A woman who would be remembered as an American icon.  And for the Marilyn Monroe fans who also want to see the happier and a positive time will no doubt enjoy this informative and enjoyable 46-minute documentary about the life of Marilyn Monroe during her stay with Milton Greene and his family.

For any fan curious about this Marilyn Monroe documentary that will be released via digital courtesy of Virgil Films, “Marilyn in Manhattan” is recommended!

 






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