tv Reframed Marilyn Monroe CNN January 23, 2022 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
>> she was entering a new ring, bus stop. it was very brave. >> marlyn had a fear of being called a home wrecker. >> arthur is a risky proposition professionally and romantically for her. he was a married man subpoenaed by the u.s. government. >> she doesn't realize she's heading into a storm. come on, everybody, let's give the little girl a big welcome. [ applause ] >> by the time marlyn was shooting "there is no business like show biz" she was a huge star. >> she is this beautiful, larger than life icon. ♪ after you get what you want,
you don't want it ♪ >> after you get what you want, you don't want it. that's a perfect number because that's really her story, too. ♪ because after you get what you want, you don't want what you wanted ♪ >> she had money and the lights and the costumes and the fans. >> but there was something missing. >> she doesn't want to be stuck at fox making stereo type movies. >> i could have sworn you were a dramatic actress. >> i think that's impossible. what i'd like to do is to be a good actress. >> when you want that, you're not necessarily going to find it in hollywood. >> there's no business like show biz opens to great fanfare. but marlyn is nowhere to be seen. >> marlilyn monroe didn't show p for her own movie premiere. her mind and life were already
somewhere else. she is incognito. she was in a big black coat sneaking away to start a life in new york. >> she didn't tell anybody anything and nobody knew. >> marlyn walked out as a decoloration, of independence. she wanted control of her own destiny. >> she said i don't want just this anymore. i have so much more to offer the world, and i'm going to show them. ♪ ♪ >> by deciding to break her contract and go to new york,
marlyn was announcing she belonged with the serious artists, that she belonged where real art was being made. >> she wanted more control over her career. she wanted to be able to choose her own projects and director the and just play different roles. >> weeks after fleeing hollywood, a small crowd is invited to an ener eupper easts meet the new marilyn monroe. >> everybody was having a good time, drinks. lawyers were there. a lot of press was there. >> they're all waiting on hooks to find out what marlyn is going to say and announce and if indeed, this is some new marlyn. >> she wore high heels and the white dress and then the white
coat. the bulbs were going like crazy. snappy, snappy, snappy. snappy. >> marlyn announces she's settling up her own film co company. marilyn monroe protections. >> setting up a protection company in her name, she didn't use anything like blonde goddess production or something. everybody is going huh? >> for a woman during the hollywood studio system to decide i'm going to step out on my own is astounding to think about. >> at that time, that was almost unprecedented. a very feminist act but also a very powerful fact. >> marilyn's new business partner is photographer milton green. >> they were deep friends. he loved beauty and he loved to take great pictures and she appreciated that. he never told her to take the
shirt off. he never told her to lift her skirt. mutual respect. >> the whole purpose behind this production company was so that she could throw herself into the types of roles that she had been wanting to do her whole life. >> she knew it was time not to is to be being marilyn monroe but expand everybody's ideas who marilyn monroe could be. >> it wasn't until the next day when the newspapers came out and they realized what a disaster it had been. the few journalists that even bothered to write about marilyn monroe productions speculated that marilyn would be a failure, that she was a joke. >> women didn't do that. women didn't make their own movies. are you crazy? >> it was really unfair and very sexist of the press to not give her the respect that what she was doing was ground breaking,
that that was revolutionary. >> back in hollywood, the news reaches fox studio boss darrell zanuck. >> he was the last to know and he wasn't happy about that. >> he felt i made her a star. who would she be without 20th century fox. she owes us. that's it. boom. >> he was so used to being able to treat actresses as bodies and not have to deal with them having any sense of power or control at all. >> it was ludicrous to think this dumb blonde could possibly be in charge of her own productions or choose her own directors or her own scripts. >> there is a tremendous sense that she's david against goliath, that she cannot fight 20th century fox, that she shouldn't even try.
>> but marilyn has a plan. >> tonight, we'll be going first to western connecticut where photographer milton green and his wife and her friend and house guest marilyn monroe will be waiting for us. >> edward r. murrow was far and away the most respected journalist in america. if you weren't on murrow, you were there to talk about something serious. >> this is my wife amy. >> good evening, mr. murrow. >> cbs had to build a tower 150 feet high or long and they were there ten days. i had the best time. >> how do you do, mr. murrow. >> good evening, marilyn. >> it was a power move on her part to show him she was being interviewed. >> she was a fighter in a big way. >> what's the biggest reason for this corporation? >> merely to kcontribute to hel making good pictures. >> would it be fair to say you got rather tired of playing the
same kind of roles all the time and wanted to find something different? >> it's not that i object to doing musicals orcomedy. in fact, i rather enjoy it but i would like to do also dramatic arts, too. >> marilyn refuses to return to fox unless darryn szanuck gave her what she wanted. >> it was a battle to the death. we're a different kind of dentistry. one who believes in doing anything it takes to make dentistry work for your life. so we offer a complete exam and x-rays free to new patients without insurance - everyday.
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this is new york, the largest single concentration of music halls and entertainment centers. >> marilyn is embracing her new life in new york city. >> it's the people. i like the streets. the atmosphere, i just like it. >> guiding her and friend and photographer sam shaw. >> our first time we met marilyn, i must have been about 16 years old. we had this wonderful day. she was say enthusiastic to learn about art and literature. in new york, she could be herself a little more. >> yeah, it gave her more p freedom and that was something she required being a free
spirit. >> marilyn discovers the music of the era. >> jazz at the end of the war was the music of young african american soldiers coming back demanding their freedom. it was a breakout music. it was a liberating music. >> my very favorite person and i love her as a person as well as a singer, i think she's the greatest and that's ella fitzgerald. ♪ ♪ >> ella fitzgerald had a voice like an angel and marilyn played her records all the time. >> there's a lovely picture of them sitting together where they look both kind of rough and you can tell that their really tight friends. there's a famous story that ella fitzgerald was wanting to play a club but the owner of the club
didn't want ella. was mostly a white's only club but when it did have black performers, they had to be spec the owner didn't care about ella's talent if she wasn't hot. >> marilyn read this in the paper and got very annoyed and called the manager and said hi, this is marilyn monroe and if you rebook ella fitzgerald i will come every night to hear her sing. both shows. >> this was the beginning of the civil rights movement where the ku klux klan was out, what was marilyn going to get out of that, being that visible a friend with ella fitzgerald? nothing. nothing. >> advocating for somebody like ella fitzgerald when she didn't have to and unpopular, this speaks to her principles.
>> ella did say marilyn monroe was ahead of her time and she didn't even know it. >> while marilyn is creatively expanding, darryl zanuck is busy trying to replace her. >> he believed he could create another blonde movie star and audiences would love her just the same. >> it's classic darryl zanuck to think you could replace marilyn, replacing a body with a body of similar type. >> the more zanuck pushed, the more marilyn came back saying the people made me a star. go back to the audience that need szanuck. >> and marlin knows exactly how to fight back. >> the photo shoot that marilyn do for "red book magazine" was a pivotal moment for her. >> the choice of "redbook" was
definitely a symbolic one. "redbook" was geared at women and running serious journalism. >> this was the aexact opposite of the posed heavily madeup photos looking right in the camera saying i'm here to seduce you. >> she was really questioning not i think just herself but how to show herself differently. >> marilyn was trying to position herself as every kind of woman. >> has that vulnerable every day kind of girl look working girl on the subway with her camera m man. >> the fact marilyn really never did ride the subway but the important thing is she saw herself as a woman that rode the subway. >> marilyn applies this new realism to her acting. >> the thing i'd like the most
is to become a real actress. i realize more and more the responsibility and it is a responsibility. >> she wanted to be a deeper actor and for her generation of women in her 20s, the best place to learn to be an actor was the actor studio. >> how would these people behave? >> what would motivate me to behave that way? >> used the method and the method said you have to do true things, so everything had to be true. >> look. >> it's an approach lee defined one time as training your imagination to respond to imaginary circumstances as though they're real. >> you went so much with a personal thing that you lost some of the things that she has. >> that was a shattering experience. the first time i get up in front of him like he had an x-ray
machine in his eyes and he just went in. now, i'm sure that's the same thing that happened with marilyn. >> i think that might have been the bravest thing she ever did because the people in the classes actually looked down on hollywood stars. they saw the stars and the stars are very, very different than the real actors. >> lee strasburg, i think probably he changed my life more than any other human being. ♪ ♪ >> not everyone welcomes the new marilyn. her lost movi last movie for fo to open and darryl zanuck has a stunt to put her back in her place. >> the whole energy of the response to her was about resistance to the idea that marilyn monroe could be anything other than a sex object and
certainly that what she was not was an actress. >> very nice. >> it's wonderful. wonderful, wonderful. >> it's the same thing as ever same look at this basically up skirt shot. >> i said what has marilyn monroe got that a million other women have and prefer not to tell? >> the two marilyns were seem as impossible to reconcile as if it isn't possible to imagine that a woman could be sexual and flirty and giggle and also be serious and be driven. >> at the new york premiere of "the seven year itch" the press is on alert. nobody can be sure which marilyn monroe they're going to see. [cheering] ♪ [upbeat music] ♪
hollywood. >> here he is in the middle of evolving and experiencing this new life and now she's on the arm of her soon to be ex- ex-husband. it felt so artificial and marilyn hated that feeling. she hated a lie. >> what few realize is that marilyn's appearance with joe is a convenient cover story. >> the summer of 1955 was a summer for marilyn. she spent almost all of it on long island and finally got to do all of those family summer activities she never had a chance to do before. >> this one particular photograph she's on a boat and there is a man we can just see from the back, nobody really knows who it is but the general consensus is that it could have been arthur miller. >> they were meeting because of shared people in new york.
hanging out and having fun. he of course was married at the time and marilyn knew how it would look for a major film store to be with a man that's still married. >> marilyn's least favorite word home wrecker. she had a fear of being called a home wrecker. >> it will be over a year before her relationship with arthur miller becomes public knowledge. >> marilyn monroe was someone that's attracted to intelligence so it makes sense she would be attracted to one of the four most american intellectuals at the time.
>> he created me as a human being and he was very sensitive human being and treated me as a sensitive person, also. >> it's obvious that she felt very protected by him, that he would take care of her. and it certainly looked like she adored him. >> marilyn ended the year with the same people she began with, milton and amy green and she and milton still don't know if marilyn monroe productions is going to actually take off or not. they don't have any real movie deals. they don't have any real funding. >> the struggle with zanuck and fox dragged on for a year and marilyn was nearly out of funds. in fact, the lawyers said they
could have gone bust without picking a picture. >> marilyn had no idea if this entire experiment would end in complete humiliation and disaster. finally on new year's eve, marilyn receives a letter from fox. >> marilyn twirled me around and said it's over. it's signed, sealed and delivered. she got everything she wanted, everything. unheard of in 1955. >> fox offered marilyn a new contract that gives her a higher salary, director approval and the freedom to make films through her own production company. >> it's very remarkable 20th century fox gave marilyn the deal that she wanted and the control that she desired.
>> they ended up giving in because if they allowed her to do roles she wanted to do, she would occasionally do roles for them and they could keep getting those profits. >> the magnitude of her victory is huge. she gets to return to hollywood in a triumph way. >> is there a list of directors you would work with? we only know the rumors we hear, you know. >> i would rather say that i have director approval and that is true. >> her first film under the new contract will be the drama "bus stop." >> she gets approval of the director and she gets to become
involved with creating the char character. >> she really wanted to do something that would stretch her as an actress but she had to prove she actually had what it takes. >> she really was going to be on trial in front of everybody as an actress. with intuitive tech... (car sfx: beep beep) (car sfx: watch for traffic) ...and our most advanced safety system—ever. ♪ ♪ ♪ at lowe's, you never have to be finished with your finishing touches. with aisles of ways to refresh and restyle. for whatever style you're feeling. at prices you're really feelin. shop the lowe's bath style & save event now in-store and online. ♪ baby got back by sir mix-a-lot ♪ unlimited cashback match...
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finally, marilyn has the serious acting role she's been fighting for. >> in "bus stop" marilyn plays this singer with an ozarks accent which she perfected. >> we can see that marilyn monroe's physicality is being treated differently from earlier movies, there is a different quality to it. it's more realistic and less voieristic. >> you can see how straight my direction is. just where i started. this is where i am now and look where i'm going. >> where? >> hollywood. >> looks like a dumb blonde and talks like a dumb blonde but
inside is this person that's full, not just a stereo type. >> he called me an ignorant hill billy. >> i don't mean ignore rant but you come from the ochozarks. >> this is the first time she was showing her new style of acting developed at the actor studio. >> i've been trying to be somebody. >> much more realistic performance, a performance that tapped into a new well of emotions that we hadn't seen from marilyn monroe before. >> marilyn had learned tremendous dramatic and comedy technique. she could really get into a character and play it with great truth as well as humor. >> the character is a kind of want to be marilyn, a failed starlet and trying to make her glamorous and she was saying no, this girl wouldn't be glamorous. marilyn insisted that her makeup had to be ghostly because this woman never went out in the
sunlight. ♪ ♪ >> she did the hardest thing to do. she chose to play like somebody who is not very good at what they do but trying really hard to be good. ♪ ♪ >> that's very hard to accomplish and funny. >> it very complex but she's doing it. it's multi layered. ♪ i should stay away but what can i do ♪ ♪ i hear your name ♪ ♪ and i'm a plane ♪
>> there's a real kind of aching loneliness at the center of her performance and in the middle of this love story. >> the moment the film is running in the camera, marilyn acts. i think she is one of the most extraordinary actresses that ever lived. >> a lot of people said she really deserved an academy award nomination for that role. >> she was awfully good in "bus stop." awfully good. >> marilyn doesn't slow down. she's onto the next project. >> she still had dreams of her own production company so marilyn and milton settled on purchasing the rights to a play that was being performed by lawrence in england. >> she loved the idea of working with lawrence. >> he brought with him a level of gravity and i think by him
agreeing to be in a movie with her, it showed that she was being taken seriously as an actress. >> marilyn's new venture puts a recently divorced arthur miller in the spotlight. >> marilyn is going to england to film "the prince and the show girl." author miller wants to accompany her, be with her and applies for a passport and runs against a wall. >> are you a member of the communist party or ever been a member of the communist party? >> arthur miller was subpoenaed to appear before the house of american activities committee. in hollywood, this was really ruining a lot of careers by forcing people to name names of their fellow communist or communist sympathizers they had known or knew. >> are you a member of the communist party? >> are you a member of the communist party? >> she anxiously awaits even as he refuses to name names.
>> the story about arthur miller's defiance is usually told in terms of his political courage and marilyn is there standing by her man. >> according to people who knew both miller and marilyn at the time, it was marilyn who urged miller to stand up to them. she hated mccarthyism and everything it stood for. >> we needed to really think about it as somebody with principles and who is making her own statement about a very toxic political and cultural climate. >> emerging from the hearing, miller shocks the press. >> mr. miller, why did you fail application for passport? >> i want to go to england. >> for what reason? >> you guess. >> we'd like -- >> i wanted to be with the woman who is going to be my wife. >> marilyn monroe? >> that's correct.
>> he hadn't asked her to marry him. she was a little taken aback hearing that announcement. >> it's hard to not see it as somewhat scenical given the pressures that he was under at the time and marilyn's status as america's sweet heart. maybe arthur was using his relationship with marilyn as a way to whitewash himself. >> before marilyn has time to take it in, the press descends on herm manhattan apartment. >> have you been engaged long? >> no, a few days. >> you see her against the wall and she looks so fragile and flustered. yet, she's someone that knows how to work the press but you can see the cracks of this is really overwhelming and i'm trying to make sense of this huge change in my life. >> when are you planning on having children? >> not right now.
[ laughter ] >> only two weeks later, marilyn and arthur are married. >> she wore my wedding vail and what i did, my vail was white, so i dumped it in tea. she loved it. >> she thought she was getting the final thing she wanted, which was a complete and happy family but she doesn't realize that she's heading into a storm that's what is coming next.
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wanted. who was more credible than sir lawrence olivia? >> i said i would only do it with him. i would only consider doing it with him. >> why? >> because i would go to see sir lawrence and myself in the movies. [ laughter ] >> he had theater respectability and the reputation of late actor. she was a household name. they're opposites who will get-togethers to make a whole. >> in the romantic comedy, marilyn plays an american show girl opposite olivia's european prince. olivia also directs. >> it's just my stage name and my dad was a marine, see? my real name is elsie. >> indeed. >> at the beginning, obviously, she was nervous, needs time to
settle in with not only the crew but the cast. >> marilyn had come into olivia easte's territory in every sens >> a big age difference and he doesn't see her as a creative eq equal. >> as a method actor, marilyn insists on real caviar and real champagne for every take. >> she didn't want to be an automatic roll them and she does the scene. she wanted to have a motivation. >> yes, yes, my dear, you can speak free tly. there is nobody here. >> olivia derives her techniques. >> he told her to stop thinking and just to be sexy. it was like he was being british, pushed her right back to where she started from.
>> i imagined for her it was very frustrating and heartbreaking to have to deal with someone's scorn when you were hoping they could support you in the role. >> he's treating this woman 30 years old in charge of her company as a child and she responds in kind. >> she said that she started being bad with him. and what that meant is she was late and she was obstruct tifr. s she was a pain. she knew what she was doing. it was how she could push back. >> one day we waited for a very long time and sir lawrence made her apologize to the whole crew for keeping them waiting so long. >> and excuse me. >> but once she was in front of the camera, she was magic. >> i could use a short one. i need it for my heart. it's kind of beating down here.
>> so sorry. >> it's all right. it's not your fault. if i known this is all was going to happen, i wouldn't have be nervous. long life to your grand hi highness. >> cheerio. >> when you watch the movie, she's better. he comes off stilted and she's always luminous. >> listen, are you sure there is no effect when you drink it that way? >> she up stages him into the heavens. one of her loveliest, sweetest most effective performances and she steals it from him. >> i think you have had enough. >> i think, too. >> belahind the scenes the conflict is splittering marilyn's relationship with her friend and co-producer milton green. >> he would get up every day and go to pinewood and be a producer, which meant calm
everybody, make sure everybody shows up to thankless jobs. >> milton found himself at times siding with olivia or feeling sympathy for olivia. marilyn then started to think well, he must be on oli olivia's side. >> by this point, marilyn was also having trouble sleeping. she took a lot of sleeping pills every night. when you're filming, you have to be wide-eyed and look fresh and if you haven't slept, you're not going to so everybody in hollywood takes pills. once she starts taking the pills, she can't stop. >> if even counting sheep can't help you sleep, it brings 100 percent safe sleep. >> during the '50s into the '60s there is ramping up medication to deal with psychological problems. women were definitely medicated in ways that men were not.
>> if you're a woman, you know what it means to be needed. >> those woman member were tormented in a lot of ways and they were not really able to show their whole authentic self, which created in them secrets. >> all the fun can go out of your life. >> so it's no surprise that people would become addicted. not a surprise. >> all of the stories about "the prince and the show girl" focused on marilyn's difficulties and the difficulty of her very toxic relationship with olivia. clearly, her addictions were a problem for her and for the set, but she wasn't incapacitated. >> people who worked with her spoke about these smart notes that she would give after watching the dailies where she said very specific things that she wasn't happy with and why. they werwere shown of a woman w knew her craft and knew exactly
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during the making of "prince and the show girl" things were not going well for the production company or for the partners. when marilyn views the first cut of the film, she thinks it's show and tedious. she blames co-producer milton green. >> she decided that she was going to take control of the production herself. >> she didn't know what to do with milton. she loved him. but she didn't know what to do with him. she was embarrassed. >> marilyn had one last meeting with milton green and it was heartbreaking they were both sobbing. >> it was very disheartening for them because he thought they were going to make wonderful movies together. these two human beings loved movies. >> when the film premieres in new york, milton is nowhere to be seen.
>> it was over. they had a life to live. >> marilyn was as her story always shows pretty clearly somebody who looked forward rather than back. >> in the summer of 1957, marilyn's only concern is her family. >> she embraced her marriage in a way that she'd never done before. >> my father was shooting a lot during that period. there was photographs of marilyn on the beach. >> very playful. she adored him. >> she discovers that she's pregnant and she is excited about it. >> she wanted to be a mom. she wanted to love a baby. she wanted to move forward with
her life outside of being a poster girl and woman who chooses to be a mother, choosing a family. >> she loved children. the way she treated us, i think she would have been a great mother. >> but on august 1st, 1957, marilyn collapses and is rushed to a manhattan hospital. >> she not only lost her baby, she almost lost her own life. >> she's released to the hospital to a battery of reporters and media. >> she was very, very ill indeed and yet, she somehow had to turn it on for the cameras. >> there is something so predatory feeling about paparazzi. >> she was that famous that you would expect that attention but it's still really sad it had to be there in her darkest moments.
>> it is just so heartbreaking to see someone who really is trying to put on a brave face with this tremendously painful moment that leads her to feel like a failure. because in the 1950s, you were still considered to be not fully fulfilled unless you had a child. >> on the heels of her loss, marilyn faces another struggle. >> they needed money, so it was time for her to return to work. >> taking time out from a high profile career remains risky today and it was even riskier in the '50s. there was always the chance that her popularity was going to pass her by, that she would hit an expiration date. >> in march 1958, an intriguing new project lands on marilyn's desk. >> she absolutely knew a good
script when she read one and particularly a very funny script. she had a sense of box office gold and she knew she could perform that role. >> some like it hot remains one of her finalisest performances. ♪ running wild plus control ♪ >> anyone can play a ditz but to play one that you love, that to me takes a talent that cannot be taught and she had that in spades. ♪ don't love nobody ♪ >> there was no one else like her and the moment you put her in front of the camera, it's like watching magic. ♪ running wild ♪ next, on the final episode of "reframed marilyn monroe". >> she does not feel seen or understood by her husband, the person that's supposed to know
her best. >> in the middle of production marilyn takes off to new york. she had a date with the president. he was having a big birthday and she was to sing "happy birthday". >> i think she was playing with him but it was certainly brave. >> marilyn said, you know, splish splash, this would make interesting pictures. >> stripping down and being absolutely naked is really pushing the envelope. ♪ ♪ nbc monitor news on the hour. in california screen actress marilyn monroe is dead. the 36-year-old film star was found in her bed this morning. >> successful lonely actress that led a spectacular stormy life. >> the story of marilyn monroe is an authentic tragedy, it began in tragedy and ended in tragedy and in between -- >> because of the wama