If you’ve followed me on Social Media for the past 6+ years, then I’m 99% sure you know how much I love the beautiful soul, Marilyn Monroe. Ironically, it feels almost strange for me to type out her full name, as I like to think of Marilyn as almost an Guardian Angel to me, definitely not a stranger. Some will understand that and relate, others may judge – but Marilyn will always have a special place in my heart.
A few weeks ago, to celebrate Marilyn’s 91st Birthday, I wrote, as I do every year, a Tribute for my favourite lady and was pleasantly surprised when I noticed,Marilyn Monroe Eyewearlike my post and follow me on Instagram. Marilyn Eyewear is Officially Licensed by The Estate of Marilyn Monroe and is one of the many Brands they have created which is all inspired and influenced by this very special woman. As my beautiful friend,Laurahas previously worked with Marilyn Eyewear, I decided it would be worth a try contacting the Brand and thanking them for following my Instagram Account. I also proposed the possibility of a collaboration. Once again, I was surprised and very thankful to receive a reply agreeing to my suggestion about a collaboration!
After just four days, my parcel from Marilyn Eyewear arrived, all the way from America! I can’t emphasize how appreciative I am of such a quick delivery, especially from so far away – I was already beyond impressed. However, little did I know that I was going to be completely blown away when I opened the parcel. Not only was I gifted a pair of beautiful Sunglasses, there were also three beauty products fromMarilyn Monroe Spas! It wasn’t until I looked on their website, that I realized I had been sent the,Limited Edition Gift of Glam! Thank you so much Marilyn Monroe Eyewear and Marilyn Monroe Spas!
The packaging is a classic chic black matte box, finished with gorgeous gold writing and Marilyn’s iconic signature – what could be better!? As soon as you open it, you’re greeted by dazzling red tissue paper and inside are the iconic products all inspired by my favourite girl – Marilyn! Nail Polish in Marilyn Red, a red Beauty Blender, a Lipstick in Marilyn Red 03 and if that wasn’t enough, a pair of Marilyn Eyewear Sunglasses in Annabel Noir 001! If you’re a Marilyn lover or simply adore the Vintage look, then this is without doubt a must have – it’s simply timeless!
The Sunglasses come in an absolutely beautiful gold metallic case, featuring Marilyn’s signature, the product is wonderful quality and a great protection for the shades also. What I was most impressed by with the Marilyn Sunglasses was the attention to detail, which super Marilyn fans, or Marilynettes as we’re known, would definitely notice and appreciate. If you look at all the Sunglasses on the Marilyn Eyewear Website, you’ll see that the majority of the shades are named after Marilyn Film Characters! I think this is such a lovely statement and a unique concept which makes Marilyn Eyewear different from others. The Gift of Glam shades are named after Marilyn’s character, Annabel Jones Norris from her film,We’re Not Married! (1952)one of her earlier film roles and the only chance she had to play a Mother. (Something’s Got To Give (1962)was never completed.)
If you’re after an everyday, classic retro look than Annabel are the must have Sunglasses for you, but fear not, there are three other shades available if you’re after something different. Out of all the amazing vintage style Sunglasses on Marilyn Eyewear, if I had to choose my favourites it would be either,The Marilyn, Elsie, IrisorRoseand yes, that is my attempt at trying to narrow my choices down! All come in different colours and styles, so there are more choices to choose from and they feature Marilyn’s iconic signature – so much beauty!
The Marilyn Monroe Spas Beauty Products all have one thing in common, they are all – you guessed it, red! Anyone who knows anything about Marilyn will associate this bold colour with her, as it was without doubt her signature lipstick shade to wear. As someone who adores the Vintage Look, this was such a wonderful surprise and even better that each item is based on the signature Marilyn look.
The Beauty Blender is a must have in my every day makeup bag and ironically enough, I was just thinking a few days ago that I needed a new one! Plus, I’ve not seen many sponges that are this unique shade, so it will definitely stand out in my collection. Furthermore, the packaging has Marilyn’s beautiful signature on, so yes, I will be keeping the box! I also love how on the back of the packaging it says, “Be Wonderful” which I’m assuming is inspired by one of my favourite, genuine Marilyn quotes.
Also within the Glam Kit is the stunning, True Red 03 Lipstick. Red is the ultimate retro colour and my absolute favourite to wear pretty much every single day and I can confirm, True Red 03 definitely has my approval. The product features Marilyn’s signature in a stunning red and a gorgeous kiss print, which contrasts dramatically with the bold black packaging. I also love the shape of the lipstick as it’s perfect for creating that beautiful full pout. There are so many amazing beauty buys available on Marilyn Monroe Spas, I could honestly spend hours browsing through all the variety of shades!
The final product in the Marilyn Eyewear Gift of Glam is the Marilyn Monroe Red Nail Polish, which features a gorgeous portrait of Marilyn herself – so unique! The shade is eye catching and will definitely make your nails be the centre of attention! Plus, even if you’re not a red lover like myself, it’s worth having just for the stunning packaging with our beautiful blonde bombshell!
Please note, I pride myself in making sure I write honest reviews and although I was fortunate enough to be gifted these items, I was not told to say any of the following statements I have made.
Lastly, I simply must say a huge thank you so much to Marilyn Monroe Eyewear for gifting me these beautiful products, which I will truly cherish.
Today marks the Birth Date of probably my favourite human who ever blessed the Earth with their presence, the beautiful soul that was Marilyn Monroe. As she left it at such a young age, it’s almost incomprehensible to believe that she would be ninety one years old if she was still alive.
Each year I like to pay tribute to my angel by writing about the incredible person she was, the unique life she lived and all of her accomplishments in such a short space of time. I feel as a devoted fan of Marilyn’s that it is my duty to help spread the truth about this beautiful soul, by aiming to let society learn about the real woman she was and to not be influenced by the unsubstantiated conspiracies and myths.
Therefore, instead of writing my usual styled posts on my favourite girl, I have decided to be slightly more creative and this time share a number of anecdotes that you may or may not know about Marilyn. In doing this, I hope that it will give you an insight into the kindhearted soul she was and hopefully you will take a moment to think about her on this very special day.
When Marilyn was a little girl and occasionally spent time with her mother, Gladys, she noticed a photo of a dark haired man with a mustache displayed in her home. The man bared a similar resemblance to one of her favourite Movie Stars; Clark Gable and Norma Jeane Baker liked to think of him as her father. She had loved going to the cinema ever since she was a child and must have seen Clark on the big screen many times. In reality, this man was Marilyn’s actual father – Charles Stanley Gifford, who had been seeing Gladys before she became pregnant. Ultimately, he never acknowledged Marilyn as his own and they never had any relationship.
On a happier note, many years later in November 1954, Marilyn would finally fulfill her childhood dream of meeting Gable at Romanoff’s, where The Seven Year Itch Wrap Party was being held in her honour. They danced with one another and shared how they would both love to work together, with Gable telling Marilyn, “You have the magic.” This wish would eventually happen in 1960, with The Misfits generally being cited as one of their best performances.
During Marilyn’s first marriage to James Dougherty, she noticed a cow on it’s own, standing in the rain. Deeply upset about this, when Jimmy returned home he saw his wife desperately trying to bring the cow inside the house, even asking him to help her do so. Jimmy’s nephew, Wes Kanteman recounted to Author Michelle Morgan about this sweet memory saying,
“The cow was a young Jersey Heffer that had beautiful eyes and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane used to stand by her pen and just stare at her, remarking at how pretty she was. Then the torrential rain came one night and the cow was standing by the fence and Norma Jeane and apparently thought she wanted in so she opened the gate and was going to bring her into to the house. After much conversation about the matter, Uncle Jim convinced her that she belonged in her pen and Norma Jeane finally gave in and it was over, but she still thought that the cow would have been better off in the living room.”
On 1st June 1952, Marilyn turned 26 years old and celebrated by finding out she had landed the coveted role of Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, beating out the previous Top Blonde at 20th Century Fox – Betty Grable. She was to be starring opposite Jane Russell, who would be receiving $100,000 dollars compared to Marilyn’s contract salary of $500 per week – shocking, I know. Still, Marilyn didn’t complain and put her heart and soul into making one of her most iconic movies. However, when Marilyn found out she didn’t even have her own dressing room, despite being the star of the film, she finally spoke out and recalled this story to Journalist Richard Meryman for LIFE Magazine, which was released two days before her death in August 1962.
“I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell – she was the brunette in it and I was the blonde. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She, by the way, was quite wonderful to me. The only thing was I couldn’t get a dressing room. Finally, I really got to this kind of level and I said, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” And I want to say to the people, if I am a star, the people made me a star. No studio, no person, but the people did.”
Marilyn was a huge lover of animals and during her life owned quite a few pets, from dogs, to cats and even two parakeets called Butch and Bobo. During her time in New York she adopted a cat and to Marilyn’s delight, she became pregnant. She was so happy and looked after the beloved pet dearly, reading up on how to care for her during the pregnancy, repeatedly ringing her maid to check on how she was doing and spoiling her with treats. When the labour finally came during the middle of the night, Marilyn rang her good friend Norman Rosten, asking him to come over and help to which he politely declined and went back to sleep. He later said, “There was never a more spoiled prenatal cat in feline history.“
Marilyn was known to be extremely generous, even saying in her last interview, “I don’t understand why people aren’t a little more generous with another.” and it’s most definitely fair to say she followed what she believed in. Her giving nature didn’t just involve her friends, even acquaintances received this kind treatment as retold by Author Donald Spoto.
“Maggie Banks, an assistant choreographer, recalled that a wife of a company electrician was seriously ill. “I saw Marilyn hand the man a roll of bills; he started to cry, and Marilyn just hugged him and walked away.” Likewise, Evelyn Moriarty never forgot that Marilyn anonymously donated one thousand dollars to defray the funeral expenses of a crew member’s wife.”
Marilyn famously said, “I only knowI want to be wonderful.” and I think it’s definitely fair to say, although she may not have achieved true happiness, she the utmost worthy of being called wonderful.
Happy Birthday beautiful, I think of you daily and I love you dearly. ♡
As a true vintage girl at heart, I was absolutely thrilled when I heard aboutYours Magazinebringing out a specific retro style issue with all things Classic Hollywood and pre 2000s. Special thank you to Fraser from Immortal Marilyn andeverlasting-star.net forkindly sharing this! At £3.99 this isn’t the cheapest magazine but as far as I’m aware it’s the only one like it out there so personally, I’m happy to pay the price.
If you love Old Hollywood as much as I do then this is definitely the magazine for you, with my favourite Hitchcock Blonde, Grace Kelly featuring as Cover Girl. Not only is there a wonderful article on her inside, the magazine features many stories on stars such as, Ingrid Bergman, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamarr to name just a few.
I know reading the articles isn’t for everyone but, fear not, the magazine is full of photos and not just the ones you have seen so many times before. As someone who knows a fair amount about the Golden Age of Hollywood, I was pretty impressed with the magazines research, I even learned a few new things myself!
However, there were two noticeable mistakes that stuck out and did slightly frustrate me. Grace Kelly’s age when she died was listed as 53, when she was actually 52 and it was claimed Marilyn held her first ever press conference at The Savoy Hotel in July 1956 – the press conference of course happened, but it was mostly definitely not her first. Of course these pet peeves may be of little concern to a lot of readers, but as someone who is incredibly passionate about this subject, it is important for me to know that the writers are also just as informed.
Furthermore, although the majority of the magazines content is spot on with following the, “retro” content, I feel the magazine needs to be aware that it will not just attract an older audience. At 22 years old I am probably one of the younger readers, but I know I’m not the only modern girl with an old soul who loves learning about this subject. Not every single reader is buying this to, “reminisce” or feel, “nostalgic as the survey seems to imply.
What I really enjoyed about the magazine was the survey left for readers to give their opinions on the contents for research purposes. It’s very heartwarming to know that your views and interests are being considered and noted for future issues, you feel a part of the Yours Team’s aim and believe it is their aim to produce a quality product.
As someone who’s interests lie in the bygone era of Hollywood, it’s wonderful that such a unique magazine is so accessible and easy to find. If you’re not in the UK I think you can still purchase the magazine online, so fear not! I really hope it sticks to pre 1970s content, if I wanted to read about today I could easily just buy a modern day magazine .
If I could ask the magazine to stick to one thing it would be pre 1970s content, if I wanted to read about the stars of today, I could easily buy a modern day magazine. I really hope Yours Retro continues for many more issues to come, I for one will definitely be looking out for the next one!
Sadly, a lot of people today won’t know much about the classic movies from Hollywoods Golden Age. To many, CGI and blockbuster budgets are a lot more appealing than dialogue and black and white films. However, what I would guess quite a few people recognize is the name Alfred Hitchcock.
A man like no other, he revolutionized movies and has inspired many Directors and Stars of our day. As a person? Well, from what I’ve read he was definitely one of a kind and not everyone’s cup of tea, but as Director? He’s without doubt one of the best.
During his fifty year career, he was forever breaking boundaries and daring to do what others could never imagine. I think one film that everyone will know about, well one scene especially isPsycho (1960), the chilling music by Bernard Herrmann is forever etched in viewers minds.
Hitchcock was always using recurring themes in his films, from his signature cameo appearances, (To Catch A Thiefhas to be a favourite) to his love of icy blondes who often meet a gruesome end, he was a Director like no other! Although he made nearly seventy movies, I’m going to pick my top five that I’d recommend you watch. I’ve seen the majority of this films from his best years; the 1940s through 1960s so I think I have a fairly good judgement.
Ironically enough, the first time I watched this film, I didn’t understand the hype around it. It revolves around a recovering Photographer, L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies, (played by James Stewart) who watches his neighbours out of boredom and convinces himself that one has committed a murder. With Hitchcock’s most famous blonde, (Grace Kelly) being James Stewart’s leading lady and looking ever so beautiful in Edith Head’s costumes, I assure you, you’ll be gripped! They don’t call him the Master of Suspense for nothing. A huge hit during it’s original release and #37 on IMDB’S Top 250 Movies, this is a must see!
Not only is Cary Grant at his sauve best at fifty four (!) but the chemistry between himself and the wonderful Eva Marie Saint is absolutely thrilling. Cary plays Roger Thornhill, a man framed for a murder and on the run. In the late fifties, Hitchcock was well into his obsession with his leading ladies and actually picked out Eva Marie Saint’s clothes himself and made her cut her hair (sobs) specifically for the role. The two things that make this film stand out have to be Cary’s iconic grey suit and him running from a Plane. I must say that he shows great comedic talent in this film despite its dark theme, yet sadly so many beautiful stars were only appreciated for their looks, Cary Grant is one of them.
Although not a big success when first released, Vertigo is now considered once of Hitchocks finest films, if not his best. James Stewart was unfairly blamed for the lukewarm reaction of Vertigo, being twenty five years older than his leading lady Kim Novak and he and Hitchcock never worked together again. Jimmy plays Scottie Ferguson, a now retired Police Offier suffering from Vertigo who is hired by an old acquaintance to investigate his wife. This film is full of twists and turns and has a shock ending, classic Hitchcock. Once again he was so specific with the aesthetic look of his movies that he personally styled Kim Novaks iconic updo himself!
Considered by many to be his final masterpiece, Marnie stars Alfred’s last, “Hitchcock Blonde”, Tippi Hedren. Although their relationship started off full of optimism, with this film it came to a sad abrupt end, due to Hitchocks obsessive behaviour with his leading lady. Tippi was groomed to be the new, “Grace Kelly” after she had married Prince Rainier of Monaco and retired from films. Therefore, Tippi was signed to an exclusive contract with Hitchcock and made The Birds (1963) and Marnie (1964) before escaping his controlling nature. Besides Psycho, I would say this would be Hitchcocks most controversial film, he reportedly wouldn’t make the movie if the censors cut the disturbing rape scene, which fifty years later is still incredibly uncomfortable to watch.
By 1959, Alfred Hitchcock was arguably the biggest Director in the world and there he was making a highly controversial movie that no Studio would touch, on a budget less than one million dollars. Not only did he decide to do this, he hired leading lady Janet Leigh and killed her off less than fifty minutes into the movie. Although Psycho cemented Anthony Perkins into cinema history, he was forever type cast after playing the infamous Norman Bates. Even watching Psycho fifty years on, it’s incredibly hard to believe that this movie past through the censors in 1960. Everyone thought Hitchcock was killing his career, however, he had the last laugh, not only did the film make over $32,000,000 – the majority of the profits went to him as no one believed the film would be successful.
As most of you will know by now, not only do I adore Old Hollywood but I especially love the incredible Blonde Bombshells of that era. I love to learn about their talent and lives, sadly so many just see them as pretty faces – when they are so much more than that!
Last week on at FACT for their Vintage Sundays was one of Diana’s films,Tread Softly Stranger (1958)and it was shown in collaboration with the Diana Dors Exhibit being held atThe Galleryin Liverpool. It was also in association with Pride as Diana is often associated as an icon for the LGBT Community, so that was wonderful.
Since discovering Marilyn in October 2010 and thus learning about Old Hollywood, I’ve known about Diana for a number of years. She was known as Britain’s Version of Marilyn Monroe and although she embraced the nickname, she ironically said,
“I was the first home-grown sex symbol, rather like Britain’s naughty seaside postcards. When Marilyn Monroe’s first film was shown here [The Asphalt Jungle (1950)], a columnist actually wrote, “How much like our Diana Dors she is.”.
After becoming a huge star in the UK and Europe in the 1950s, Diana ventured out to America and was offered a three picture contract with RKO Pictures in 1956. Ironically, when Diana came to America,Marilyn went to England to filmThe Prince and The Showgirlwith Laurence Olivier and the two never met.
The Exhibit which is being shown at The Gallery until mid December, is a beautiful collection of Diana in her heyday – the 1950s. The room is filled with stunning vintage movie posters and magazines, as well as a lot of rare photos. I was even more thrilled when I learn that I was allowed to take pictures, which of course I will be sharing with you all! The Guide who showed us around the exhibit kindly showed us some more of the collection which was not on display. I asked about the Collector and how he discovered Diana and was told that he first bought a Diana Vintage Poster, (Tread Softly Stranger) when he was just 14 years old and 34 years on he’s still collecting!
Although I don’t have any vintage movie posters as they are sadly too expensive for me, over the years I’ve collected a good amount of vintage magazines and movie stills – especially of Marilyn. I would absolutely love to show my collection some day, it’s such a wonderful idea to have it all on display and shared with other fans. Before I left I purchased my own print of Diana, although it was £35 it is without doubt worth the money. It’s such a unique item for my collection and rare and beautiful picture.
Out of all of the amazing peices in the exhibit, my favourite would have to be a group of photos from Diana’s personal collection. I was told the top right is her as Marilyn and bottom right as Mae West. I’m guessing the top left is Marlene Dietrich and bottom left Clara Bow, very similar to Marilyn’s 1958 photos by Richard Avedon! I also adored the candid rare photos from the 1950s.
I know that a lot of you may not be able to see the exhibit, therefore I hope you enjoy the photos I took and I really hope the exhibit will be displayed in other galleries!
As you probably know by now, Old Hollywood is a huge passion of mine and I have spent a lot of time learning about the stars and watching movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. I was tagged onInstagramto post six Old Hollywood Actresses I relate to and I must say, I found it a lot harder than I expected! After narrowing my list down to about nine stars, I finally picked my beautiful six.
(1926 – 1962)
I think it’s safe to say that I relate to Marilyn the most out of all of the Stars I’ve picked. Marilyn suffered with depression and anxiety, she was her biggest critic and a very sensitive soul. She also loved to read, learn, adored animals and looking after others. Marilyn was also very misunderstood and people often judged her on their perceptions, without knowing who she really was.
(1920 – 1991)
Gene suffered a mental breakdown and experienced depression and anxiety throughout her life. During her lifetime she was very candid about her mental health and contributed to lowering the stigma considerably in today’s society. I absolutely adore Gene, she was a beautiful soul and I relate to her suffering, but her recovery gives me hope.
Brigitte is strong willed, passionate and determined, never following societies expectations and always being her own person. She fights for what she belives in and loves to love and be loved. She adores animals and fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. Brigitte is also misunderstood and has been judged by certain perceptions which are not accurate.
(1929) – (1993)
I like to think I have Audrey’s caring heart and sensitive soul. She had so much joy for life and was very humble. She thought other people were more important than herself and gave so much to those in need. I can relate to her passion about what she believed in and her determination to help in whatever way she could.
(1907) – (2003)
Katharine was always a bit of an outsider and rarely followed societies expectations. She was quirky, an individual and a bit different. She was very ahead of her time and could be quite sassy and I like to think I have some of her spirit. She was reliable, loyal and devoted a lot of her time to those who needed her.
(1908) – (1942)
I like to think that I have Carole’s sense of humour, she was witty, loved to laugh and could be a bit cheeky! She didn’t always act like the lady people expected her to be in a time when women were meant to behave in a certain way and I love that about her.
As most of you know, my favourite Actress with all of my heart is Marilyn and it just so happens that a lot of my other favourite stars happen to be blondes; Veronica Lake and Brigitte Bardot for example. I think this is because so many Old Hollywood Blondes were only appreciated for their appearance and never given enough credit for their talent and I’ve always rooted for the underdog.
However, I happen to adore a lot of Old Hollywood Stars and I thought I’d make a post on my other loves that I may not talk as much about.
November 9th 1914 – January 19th 2000
“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”
Hedy Lamarr was known as, “The Most Beautiful Girl In Films” and seventy years on, it’s not hard to see why. Her dark shoulder length hair and porcelain face were admired by millions of fans, so much so that movie goers did not expect to see her act, they just looked forward to seeing her on the screen. However, behind the beauty was a brain, a brain that sadly went under appreciated but, nevertheless created one of the most important technologies which is to this day still used in the basis of Mobile Phones and Wifi. When learning about Hedy it’s quite easy to see how much she worked tirelessly to learn her craft and perfect her acting. At least today she is not only known for being one of the most beautiful women of the Silver Screen, but also, as an Actress and more importantly, an Inventor.
“I’m not a film star, I am an actress. Being a film star is such a false life, lived for fake values and for publicity.”
Recognized by millions as Gone With The Wind‘s Scarlett O’Hara and Sir Laurence Olivier’s Wife, Vivien was not just a Southern Belle, she was an incredible actress. Like Hedy, though more critically appreciated, Vivien often found her beauty a blessing and a curse. Although she won two Academy Awards throughout her career, she often felt people preferred to see the beautiful Scarlet O’Hara, instead of the actress. Also, being married to Olivier, considered one of the finest actors of the generation was not always an easy task. She was a prolific stage actress and often put the importance of roles ahead of her mental well being. She suffered from Manic Depression, which lead to the separation with the love of her life and bouts of Tuberculosis, which ultimately lead to her death. Although only having 20 Film Credits, today she’s considered to be one of England’s finest Actresses and her talents are forever being re evaluated and recognized.
“I don’t entirely approve of some of the things I have done, or am, or have been. But I’m me. God knows, I’m me.”
Elizabeth became known to the world as just a small child, when she appeared in National Velvet in 1944. After that she stayed on the motion picture screens for many years and her beauty and violet eyes was highly applauded, however, it wasn’t until George Stevens’s Giant (1956) that she started to be respected as a, “Real Actress.” After achieving high acclaim for her performances in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958) and Suddenly Last Summer (1959) she was awarded her first Academy Award for BUtterfield 8 (1960) in 1961. After falling in love with Richard Burton during the filming of Cleopatra (1963) her name would fill the gossip magazines for, at the time, scandalous affair. However, this did nothing to damage Elizabeth’s career and she would earn her second Academy Award for, Who’s Afraid Of Virgina Woolf? (1966) in 1967. I don’t think until the 1980s Elizabeth was finally respected for the amazing woman she was, she helped raise awareness for the victims of Aids and contributed to removing a lot of the ignorance about the disease. She even created The Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation in 1991 to help millions saying, “It is bad enough that people are dying of AIDS, but no one should die of ignorance.”
“I said before I am not a sexy pot. Now I can prove it.”
Born an illegitimate child in Rome Italy, Sophia did not have an easy upbringing, in her Autobiography she recalls living through the frequent bombings in Pozzuoli and the lack of support from her father during her childhood. After competing in a Beauty Pagent in 1950, in the early 1950s she became a well known face in Italian Cinema. However, it wasn’t until she joined Paramount in 1958 that she became an International Star. Nevertheless, Sophia never lost site of her roots and frequently went back to Italy to make films. becoming the first Actress to win an Academy Award for a Non-English Performance inTwo Women (1960) in 1961. After this critical acclaim, Sophia continued to shine in Motion Pictures, had a wonderful marriage to Carlo Ponti and her talent was finally recognized and appreciated. She still acts to this day and is loved and admired by millions, not only for her beauty but her incredible story.
“Wealth, beauty, and fame are transient. When those are gone, little is left except the need to be useful.”
Gene will forever be remembered as the hauntingly beautiful woman and painting inLaura (1944) however, although she was blessed with beauty, she was not given the Fairytale life of a Movie Star. After five years or so being seen as a glamorous screen presence, she finally achieved critical acclaim for her performance as femme fatale Ellen inLeave Her To Heaven (1944) which garnered her an Acadamy Award Nomination for Best Actress. During World War Two, whilst helping out in The Hollywood Canteen while in the early stages of pregnancy, Gene tragically contracted German Measles and her beloved daughter Daria was born severely disabled. After she was three years old, Gene could no longer take care of her at home and she had to move to an institution. Although her career continued to flourish, her emotional pain eventually caught up with her and she suffered a nervous breakdown and attempted suicide due to depression in the mid 1950s. After staying in multiple clinics for treatment, some of which included Electric Shock Therapy which resulted in memory loss, she recovered and returned to the screen fora few brief appearances in the 1960s. She remarried in 1960, ironically to one of Hedy Lamarr’s ex husbands, W. Howard Lee and wrote her wonderful Autobiography in 1979. Gene was not only a wonderful actress, but she is an incredible inspiration for her candid honesty with her mental health.
“I have only one rule in acting, trust the director and give him heart and soul.”
Ava Gardner was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, she was signed by MGM in 1941 and was continually used for publicity pictures, but sadly not films. It wasn’t untilThe Killers (1946)that MGM finally realized that they had something special. Ava continued to be in successful films and was the ultimate beauty, finally in 1953’sMogambo, her talent was recognized and her performance garnered her an Academy Award Nomination for Best Actress. Her intelligent wit and honesty were some of her best qualities and are captured wonderfully in her Autobiography in 1990. Although she married some of Hollywood’s most famous men including, Frank Sinatra, she continued to give fine performances in movies such as,On The Beach (1959) andThe Night Of The Iguana (1964)Directed by John Houston.
Firstly, I’d just like to apologize for my lack of posts as of lately! The past week I was staying at my boyfriends for just under a week for his birthday and then the day I got back home I found out I had Chicken Pox – yay! I’m one of the few people that hasn’t had it as a child for some reason, so there will not be any Fashion or Beauty Posts until I’m fully recovered, I hope you all understand.
I was tagged in a post on Tumblr to list my ten favourite classic films, so I thought I’d share them with you here! It was really hard to pick just ten, so to make it easier I went through my favourite stars and chose a particular film of theirs that I love. I hope you approve of my choices!
Yes, an obvious choice but this is without doubt, not only my favourite classic movie, but, my favourite movie of all time. I can laugh now, but the first time I watched this – I actually watched it the wrong way around! As a lot of Old Hollywood fans will know, this film is extremely long, almost four hours, so naturally a lot of the DVDS are in two parts. However, the disc was clear on both sides and had only a tiny note saying which was A and which was B. Watching it on my own and having no one to tell me I’d put the wrong side on first meant I watched it back to front. However, that didn’t put me off and I’ve now seen it the right way many times! Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel especially are absolutely incredible. I will never get bored of this film and I highly recommend reading the book too, there would be no movie without it after all!
The first Marilyn film I saw and it’s just absolutely wonderful, the costumes, the musical numbers, the acting and most importantly Marilyn, are all faultless. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this movie, as a huge fan of Marilyn’s I’ve seen all of her films many times and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is no exception. It’s so lovely to see Marilyn paired with Jane Russell, they make such a great team! At this time in Marilyn’s career, she won the role of Lorelei on her 26th birthday, June 1st 1952, over Betty Grable, because she was younger and they wouldn’t have to pay her $100,000 as they would for Betty. Marilyn was still on her average salary and didn’t even have her own dressing room! When asked why this was she was told she was not the star to which she replied, “Look, after all, I am the blonde, and it is Gentlemen Prefer Blondes!” Because still they always kept saying, “Remember, you’re not a star.” I said, “Well, whatever I am, I am the blonde!” Sadly, a lot of people assume that Marilyn is playing herself, when in actuality, Lorelei Lee couldn’t be anymore different from the real Marilyn and it just goes to show what an incredible talent she truly was.
Besides The Wizard of Oz (1939), I think this was the first classic movie I watched, long before my love for Old Hollywood began. This is probably my favourite musical of all time, although in 1952 it was only moderately successful compared to Gene Kelly’s previous film, An American In Paris (1951) – I have to say, I find this a million times better! The cast, the script, the musical scores, everything about it is truly flawless and over sixty years on it hasn’t aged. Plus, who can ever forget THAT dance with Cyd Charisse!?
I’ve seen the majority of Veronica Lake’s films and this one is definitely one of my favourites. Veronica is flawless, sings two musical numbers and of course, it is her first pairing with Alan Ladd. The two of them have such great chemistry and create a perfect Film Noir – 1942 was THE year for Veronica as she released hit after hit and at the time was considered one of Paramount’s Top Box Office Draws. All of this being achieved at the mere age of 19 years old! When picking my favourite Veronica film it was a close choice, between I Married A Witch (1942) and The Blue Dahlia (1946) but This Gun For Hire just took the winning place!
Out of all of the Rita films I have seen and that’s quite a few, The Lady From Shanghai is truly like no other. Not only is she paired with then husband Orson Welles and the wonderful actor Everett Sloane, her appearance and personality are completely different. This shocked fans at the time, who could not associate the Fiery Red Head as a Blonde Bombshell and the complicated plot, now considered a classic, was too much for audiences of the time. Needless to say that the Blonde Rita didn’t last, the marriage to Orson Welles didn’t last and at the time, neither did The Lady From Shanghai. However, the film today is now seen as it truly should be – a thrilling classic. Originally, the film ran over two hours, but the studio stupidly made Orson cut away a chunk of footage and now it is just under 90 minutes. One can only guess what the film would be like if the footage was ever found!
As a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock, choosing only one of his films wasn’t easy! It was a very close call between North By Northwest (1959) and Vertigo (1958) alas, Rear Window took the spot. This film was a huge hit upon it’s first release, cemented Grace Kelly as The Ultimate Hitchcock Blonde and made the 1950s the decade for Hitchcock. It has it all – suspense, thrills, romance and even a bit of comedy thrown in there too. The first time I watched this, although I appreciate it as a whole, I didn’t warm to it as much as I have now. I don’t know why that is as there really is no other film like this and especially for the time. If you end up feeling the same way on first watch, don’t be disheartened, it’s now my favourite Hitchcock movie! You can’t really go wrong with Grace Kelly and James Stewart after all now can you?
This film is just incredible, the cast is superb, the direction is wonderful and it really was groundbreaking for 1954. Originally intended to be a play by Arthur Miller entitled, “The Hook” that never came to fruition and with all of the Anti-Communist Testimony’s, which Elia Kazan was apart of – On The Waterfront came to life. Although many didn’t agree with Elia telling names, Arthur Miller included, when you watch On The Waterfront you really can’t root for anyone but Terry Malloy. The chemistry between Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint is just wonderful and both actors deserved their Oscars.
Already a big star in France at the time, And God Created Woman was the film that cemented Brigitte Bardot’s status as The Ultimate Sex Kitten and The Most Desired European Actress In The World. Directed by then husband, Roger Vadim, the film caused controversy throughout America and divided the nation. This film propelled Brigitte into the worldwide spotlight and she continued a very successful acting career until retiring at age 38 to become and Animal Rights Activist. Brigitte has often said that in this film, Juliette, is simply being herself and Saint Tropez, the location of the film has been her home for over 60 years and is now a huge Tourist Attraction.
After winning an Oscar for her debut American Performance in Roman Holiday (1953) just a year before, Audrey Hepburn began a hugely successful acting career. This film also stars the incredible Humphrey Bogart and William Holden and is directed by my favourite, Billy Wilder. This was also the first pairing of Givenchy and Audrey, a fashion love affair that would last her entire lifetime. This is a must see for all Classic Cinema Lovers and will warm your heart with happiness. They really don’t make the movies like they used to and I guess this is why the classics are even more special! A lot of people have said that Humphrey Bogart is too old for Audrey, however, all of her leading her men are almost twice her age – it was very common to do that in the 1950s.
After reading Sophia Loren’s Autobiography earlier this year, I absolutely adore her and naturally have started to watch her movies. I’ve been wanting to see Houseboat (1958) for quite a while and was thrilled when I found it on Netflix. It’s a classic Romantic Comedy and Cary Grant and Sophia make a great pairing. This was the second and sadly last film they made together, the first being one of Sophia’s first American films, The Pride and The Passion (1958) with Frank Sinatra. It is now known that Cary actually fell in love with Sophia during the making of their first film and signed on to make Houseboat just because Sophia was going to be in it. Obviously Sophia married Carlo Ponti so their brief romance didn’t work out, but it’s lovely to see what could have been on film.
If Marilyn Monroe was alive today, she would be turning eighty nine years old, which a lot of fans, including myself find very hard to comprehend. I don’t think I’m alone in saying I really can’t picture Marilyn as an old lady, she had so much youth and vibrancy inside of her, such a special childlike quality that was the opposite of being an elderly woman. To many people Marilyn is simply a beautiful, tragic young woman, who graced the Earth for a small amount of time but made a large impact. Sadly, a lot of people remember Marilyn for her untimely death, she became immortalized as forever young and not long after she left the world the myths started rolling in. Conspiracy Theorists went wild and her name has been dragged through some awful ridiculous scenarios, mostly for profit and publicity. Many so called fans simply admire her image and follow fake quotes that over the past few years have taken over the internet. However, I don’t like to think about any of that, it breaks my heart to think of someone so lovely being sensationalized, under appreciated and degraded for selfish motivates.
I first found Marilyn in November 2010, a few weeks after my seventeenth birthday. I was flicking through magazines and came across Vanity Fair, which had a beautiful Milton Greene 1955 photo on the front. I was struck by the beauty of this woman, who I’d heard of vaguely but didn’t really know much about. It turned out I was pretty lucky having this magazine introduce me to Marilyn, as it was publicizing Fragments. Fragments is one of the best books on Marilyn, mainly because it is all of her own words and thoughts, you get to learn about the real woman behind the image. Therefore, because of this article I have always stayed far away from conspiracies and researched from legitimate sources and books.
After reading this, I naturally was falling in love with Marilyn, yes I may be biased, but I really don’t understand how you can’t adore her. It makes me sad that so many people in society have ignorant and inaccurate views on Marilyn, they judge her by hearsay, by conspiracies and in doing this miss out on such an incredible person. I asked for some of her movies and books about her for Christmas and that was five years ago this December.
It just so happened that a few months later, I would have a mental breakdown and apart from my mum, my other Hero was Marilyn. I already knew about Marilyn’s anxiety and depression and when I was going through this myself I felt even more love and respect for her. Most days I would watch her films and feel so much emotion, I’ve always admired the underdog and since falling in love with Marilyn I’ve never doubted her talent as an Actress. No one in Hollywood before or after worked harder than Marilyn for their craft, in many ways Marilyn worked too hard, she put her profession before herself. Many people assume because of her beauty and physical appearance, that she was simply portraying herself. People who have seen her dramatic performances such as, Don’t Bother To Knock and The Misfits are shocked by the diverse range she portrays. In reality, although her dramatic performances are superb, she was actually more close to playing herself in her them, then in her comedic roles.
Through Marilyn I have became apart of the wonderful fan club, Immortal Marilyn. I went to Hollywood in August 2012, the fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn’s death and celebrated my love for her by visiting her most important places. I have made so many lovely friends and have started my own blogs, alwaysmarilynmonroe, to continue spreading the love and legacy of this incredible lady. In my darkest days Marilyn has given me so much joy, I was on the verge of being agoraphobic and I would often go out with my parents in the car and try and walk around places. Due to my anxiety and depression this was incredibly hard and I remember the first time I made a big step of recovering was when thinking of Marilyn filming The Misfits. Marilyn suffered so much, she had a mental breakdown, a marriage collapse with Arthur Miller and was hospitalized for her addiction to barbiturates, (contrary to belief, Marilyn’s addiction to drugs were prescription only, for her anxiety, insomnia and depression) and I thought to myself, if Marilyn can get through making this film then I can get out of the car and I did.
Marilyn was so humble and understated about herself, she seemed to be fascinated that so many people could love and admire her, I can imagine if she knew now that her fame is forever growing she would feel pretty overwhelmed with emotion. It’s so sad that someone so loved felt so alone, but I hope Marilyn knows that she never will be alone as it takes an incredibly special person to have such an impact on so many people. The amount of messages I’ve had from other fans who have suffered mental illness, abuse, miscarriages, endometriosis, or abandonment and felt comfort and inspiration from Marilyn is incredible. She’s helped so many people and the irony is she may not even know. When people ask how I would describe Marilyn I always say beautiful, but when I say beautiful I don’t mean it physically. Marilyn had such a beautiful soul, she was so caring and giving to others, there are anecdotes of her rescuing pigeons, helping co-workers, spending time with fans, it truly is heartwarming.
So many people assume because she was not only an Actress, but a huge Sex Symbol that she was promiscuous and say very cruel and inaccurate things about Marilyn. The irony is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, you never got very far on the casting couch anyway, you’d often get small roles and never get higher than B Movie pictures, Marilyn started movies in 1947 and didn’t get her first leading role until 1952. I find it incredibly disrespectful to judge a person on their sex life anyway, but I’ve sadly found that it is often the beautiful women in Hollywood who oozed sex appeal that suffer this. I always stick with a legitimate source or Marilyn’s own words,
“I think I had many problems as the next starlet keeping the Hollywood wolves from my door. These wolves just could not understand me. They would tell me, ‘But Marilyn, you’re not playing the game the way you should. Be smart. You’ll never get anywhere in this business acting the way you do.’ My answer to them would be, ‘The only acting I’ll do is for the camera.’ I was determined, no one was going to use me or my body—even if he could help my career. I’ve never gone out with a man I didn’t want to. No one, not even the studio, could force me to date someone. The one thing I hate more than anything else is being used. I’ve always worked hard for the sake of someday becoming a talented actress. I knew I would make it someday if I only kept at it and worked hard without lowering my principles and pride in myself.”
So many people ask me about Marilyn’s death, some with ridiculous theories, some due to morbid curiosity and some because they genuinely care. To all people I say the same, I believe Marilyn’s death was an accident resulting in medical negligence. It has happened to so many people over the years, but with Marilyn, so many people are obsessed with murder conspiracies. People who know nothing about Marilyn often automatically assume she was murdered by the CIA or a Kennedy because she, “knew to much” and this gives me a lot of frustration. In reality, Marilyn met John F. Kennedy four times in her lifetime, that’s right, four times, which is documented in Donald Spoto’s highly acclaimed biography. Yet, because of notorious liars like Robert Slatzer and Norman Mailer, this myth has spiraled into a world of it’s own. All someone has to do is pick up one of their books or other biographers influenced by their lies, cough, Anthony Summers and this suddenly becomes fact to that person and continues to spread. In reality, President Kennedy had many actual affairs and mistresses, so why would he have Marilyn, who at most he had a one night stand with, killed? Also, the whole, “Red Diary” claim is ridiculous, not only has it never been found, in Fragments we can see that Marilyn only used a couple of pages in each of her notebooks and wrote small passages about random things.
Robert Slatzer made a whole career on his claim of being Marilyn’s second husband, when in reality, the day he claimed to have married her she was out of the country with Natasha Lytess, her drama coach. You’d think someone who got to be in the presence of Marilyn and have their photograph taken would be special enough, but no, greed is often sadly stronger. It’s not only Marilyn who has suffered his lies, Grace Kelly has also been named as one of his conquests. Norman Mailer, an acclaimed author released the first photo biography on Marilyn and was the first to name any Kennedy. He later admitted on CBS in an interview that he, “needed the money very badly” conveniently after his book had made the best seller lists and his lies had been cemented. Ironically when Marilyn was alive, Norman Mailer, like most people, wanted to meet Marilyn and as he knew her third husband, Arthur Miller, asked if he could. Needless to say Marilyn turned him down and I bet all of these years later she’s happy she did.
I hope in reading this, people will be inspired to learn more about Marilyn the person, what she achieved and what she gave to the world. She had such a hard childhood and came from virtually nothing to becoming the most famous actress of all time, she worked damn hard and never gave up, no matter how much she suffered. Even 20th Century Fox Studio Executive, Darryl F. Zanuck, who never believed in Marilyn or even liked her said, “Nobody discovered her, she earned her own way to stardom.” and that is very true.
“And I want to say to the people, if I am a star, the people made me a star. No studio, no person, but the people did. There was a reaction that came to the studio, the fan mail, or when I went to a premiere, or the exhibitors wanted to meet me. I didn’t know why.”
— Marilyn in her last interview, to Richard Meryman for Life Magazine in August 1962.
Here is the third post in my, “Favourite Films” series and this will be on the last of my most loved decades, The Sixties! This era of film was the time for flower power, twisting the night away, big hair, winged eyeliner and the end of the Hays Code in motion pictures. The fashion and films from the Swingin’ Sixties could be considered the most iconic of the century; Bond, Go Go Boots, Mini Skirts, Clint Eastwood and Brigitte Bardot automatically spring to mind.
Like my previous posts, I will list my favourite films from this era in categories, choose my most loved stars and their movies and bold my favourites.