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Bombshell on the Box – Marilyn alert!

February 23, 2010

LET’S MAKE LOVE, Film4, Wed Feb 24, 4.45pm and Sat Feb 27, 4.50pm

Marilyn Monroe’s second-last completed film should have been so much better than it turned out: it had her as its star, the Gallic matinee idol Yves Montand as her lover, some great songs, a terrific supporting cast and the acclaimed director George Cukor (The Women, The Philadelphia Story etc) at the helm.

Montand plays a billionaire who hears that a Broadway show which spoofs him and his lifestyle is being made. Determined to put a stop to it, he gatecrashes rehearsals – only to find himself attracted to the leading lady, Amanda (Marilyn). And, you’ve guessed it, he lets the show go ahead – with him playing himself (not that anyone involved in the production realises that it’s really him).

Of course, there was a real chemistry between Montand and Marilyn, who were rumoured to be having an affair offscreen as well as on. Whether it’s true or not, no-one is quite sure: after all, Mme Montand – actress Simone Signoret- was around during filming, as was Marilyn’s husband, Arthur Miller, who is said to have revised the script so that it gave more prominence to his wife.

Indeed, the results of Miller’s rewrite caused Marilyn’s original co-star, Gregory Peck, to quit, saying it was “now about as funny as pushing grandma down the stairs in a wheelchair.”

Still, it’s worth watching for the name-dropping number Specialization, sung by Marilyn in the most indecent dress, and, especially, her show-stopping, pole-dancing version of Cole Porter’s My Heart Belongs To Daddy (above). In a woolly jumper. Begging the question: was Marilyn having a “fat” day when she filmed it?

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