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tv   Reframed Marilyn Monroe  CNN  January 23, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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replacement of rotten entertainment programing by news and talk and information programing on all three networks very slowly. >> will it be rotten? >> well, so far most of the news-oriented programs, magazines, news, information on the networks have been surprisingly, at least to me, have been surprisingly good. come on, everybody, let's give the girl a great big welcome. >> by the time marilyn was shooting "there is no business like show business," she was a huge star. >> she is this beautiful, larger than life icon. ♪ after you get what you want, you don't want it ♪
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>> "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. ♪ i know you ♪ >> but there was something missing. >> she doesn't want to be stuck at fox making stereotype movies. >> i could have sworn you were a dramatic actress. >> you think that's impossible. >> what i'd like to do is be a good actress. >> when you want that, you're not necessarily going to find it in hollywood. >> there is no business like show business opens to great fanfare. but marilyn is nowhere to be seen. >> marilyn monroe didn't show up for her own movie premiere. her mind and her life were already somewhere else.
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she is incognito. as zelda zonk. zelda zonk was a beautiful woman in a black bobbed wig, sneaking away from l.a. to start a new life in new york. >> she didn't tell anybody anything. nobody knew. >> marlyn walked out as a declaration of independence. >> she wanted control of her own destiny. >> she was saying 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
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real art was being made. >> she wanted more control over her career. she wanted to be able to choose her own projects, her own directors, and just play different roles. >> weeks after fleeing hollywood, a small crowd is invited to an upper eastside to meet the new marilyn monroe. >> everybody was having a good time, drinks. over hors d'oeuvres. 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.
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snappy, snappy, snappy. snappy. >> marlyn announces she's setting up her own film company. marilyn monroe productions. >> setting up a production 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 really decide i'm going to step out on my own is really astounding to think about. >> at that time, that was almost unprecedented. a very feminist act but also a very powerful act. >> 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.
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>> 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 stop being marilyn monroe, but to expand everybody's ideas of 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.
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>> back in hollywood, the news reaches fox studio boss darrell zanuck. >> he hadn't shown her much professional courtesy, and so she left him to find out about it in the papers the next day. >> basically, 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
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to western connecticut where photographer milton greene, his wife and her friend and houseguest marilyn monroe will be waiting for us. >> edward r. murrow was far and away the most respected journalist in america. if you went 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 kind of a real power move on her part to show zanuck here i am being interviewed. i'm still here and i'm not backing down. >> she was a fighter in a really big way. >> what's the big reason for this corporation? >> merely to contribute to help 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
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doing musicals or comedy. in fact, i rather enjoy it but i would like to do also dramatic arts, too. >> marilyn refuses to return to fox unless zanuck gives her the control she wants. instead, he threatens legal action. >> by this point, the antipathy between marilyn and darryl zanuck was real and ran very deep. it was really a battle of the wills, and it was kind of a battle to 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. plus, patients get 20% off their treatment plan.
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this is new york, the largest single concentration of theater, operas, music halls and estimate 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 is friend and photographer sam shaw. >> our first time we met marilyn, i must have been about 16 years old. >> we had this wonderful day at the met. she was so enthusiastic to learn about art and literature. in new york, she could be herself a little more. >> yeah, it gave her more freedom and that was something she required being a free spirit.
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>> 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 they're really tight friends. there's a famous story that ella fitzgerald was wanting to play a the macambo club, but the owner
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of the macambo didn't want ella. it was a mostly white's only club. but when it did have black performers they had to be spectacularly beautiful. but the owner didn't care about ella's talent if she wasn't hot and sveldt. >> 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, he 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 el will fitzgerald when she did not have to and when it was unpopular, this speaks to her principles. >> ella did say marilyn monroe was ahead of her time and she didn't even know it.
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>> 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, with charean or 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. and so from her point of view, just go direct to the audience. who needs zanuck? >> and marlin knows exactly how to fight back. >> the photo shoot that marilyn do for "red book magazine" was a really pivotal moment for her. >> the choice of "redbook" was definitely a symbolic one. "redbook" was geared at women
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and had been running some serious journalism. >> this was the exact opposite of the posed heavily made-up 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 a kind of every woman. >> it has that vulnerable everyday kind of girl look, working girl on a subway with her cameraman. >> the fact marilyn really never really did ride the subway, but the important thing is she saw herself as a woman who 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
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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's studio. >> how would these people behave? what would motive me to behave that way? >> lee strasburg used the method, and the method said you had 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.
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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 starlets as 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 last movie for fox is about 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
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was an actress. >> i think it's terrific. very nice. >> it's wonderful. i think 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 somehow 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. no one can be sure which marilyn monroe they're going to see. well, more you. so thank you. we hope you like your work. get $1,500 lease cash toward a 2022 es 350. ♪
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>> here she was in the middle of evolving and experiencing this new life and now she's on the arm of her soon to be 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 really summer for marilyn. she spent almost all of it on long island, and she finally got to do all of those summer activities that she never had the chance to do before. >> this one particular photograph where she's on a boat, and there's a man that we can just see from the back. nobody really knows who it is, but the general consensus was it could have been arthur miller. >> they were meeting because of shared people in new york. hanging out and having fun.
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he of course was married at the time, and marilyn knows how it could look for this major film star to be with a man who was 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 marilyn's relationship with arthur miller becomes public knowledge. >> marilyn monroe was someone who was 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
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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, up and those were milton and amy greene, 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 had dragged on for a year, and marilyn was nearly out of funds. in fact, the lawyers said they could have gone bust without
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making 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. which was unheard of in 1955. >> fox offers marilyn a new contract, which 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
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because they knew that if they allowed her to do the roles that she wanted to do, that she would occasionally do roles for them, and they could keep getting those profits. >> the magnitude of marilyn's victory is huge. she gets to return to hollywood in a really triumphant way. >> tell me, marilyn, is it true that you submitted a list of directors that you would work with? we only know the rumors we're hearing, 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 joshua logan, and she gets to really become involved with creating the character that
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she's going to play in this film. >> marilyn had got to portray a role that she really wanted to do, something that would stretch her as an actress. but now she had to prove that she actually had what it takes. >> she really was going to be on trial in front of everybody as an actress. or could i have a different game plan? i wanted to help protect myself. my doctor recommended eliquis. eliquis is proven to treat and help prevent another dvt or pe blood clot. almost 98 percent of patients on eliquis didn't experience another. and eliquis has significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. eliquis is fda-approved and has both. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily
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finally, marilyn has the serious acting role she's been fighting for. >> in "bus stop" marilyn plays this kind of down at heel singer. she has an ozarks accent, which she perfected. >> i got this job as a waitress, and i got to work in the drug store. >> 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. it's less voyeuristic. >> and look, you can see by this just how straight my direction is. just where i started. this is where i am now and look where i'm going. >> where? >> hollywood and vine. >> looks like a dumb blonde and talks like a dumb blonde, but inside is this roiling person
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who is really full, not just the stereotype. >> he called me an ignorant hillbilly. how do you like that? >> i don't mean ignorant, but you do come from the ozarks. >> 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 wanna-be marilyn, a failed starlet. and they're 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.
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♪ ♪ that old black magic has me in its spell ♪ >> she did the hardest thing to do. she choice to play it 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 to have it be adorable and funny. >> i should stay away. >> it's very complex what she's doing. 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
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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 laurence olivier in england. she loved the idea of working with laurence olivier. he brought with him a level of gravitas, and i think by agreeing to be in a movie with
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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." arthur 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 by the u.s. government to appear before the house of un-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? >> you now or have you ever been a member of the communist party? >> she anxiously waits even as he refuses to name names.
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>> 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
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hearing that announcement. >> it's hard to not see it as somewhat cynical given the pressures that he was under at the time and marilyn's status as america's sweetheart. 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 her manhattan apartment. >> have you been engaged long? >> no, just 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
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and arthur are married. >> she wore my wedding veil, and what i did, my veil was white. so i dumped it in tea. and 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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la roche posay double repair face moisturizer. she's here said the headline, and everyone knew they meant the american film star with the famous shape and the wiggly walk. ♪ ♪ >> marilyn arrives in england to produce and star in her production company's first film. >> "the prince and the show girl" was going to finally demonstrate everything she had been fighting for for a decade. that she was going to get all of that credibility that she wanted. who was more credible than sir laurence olivier?
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>> 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 laurence and myself in a movie. [ laughter ] >> he had theater respectability and the reputation of late actor. she was a household name. they were opposites who were going to get together to make a whole. >> in the romantic comedy, marilyn plays an american show girl opposite olivier's european prince. olivier also directs. >> it's just my stage name and marine. 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.
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>> marilyn had come into olivier 's territory in every sense. >> there is a big age difference between them, and he quite blatantly does not see her as a creative equal. >> it's gotten quite warm, hasn't it? >> 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 freely. there is no one here. >> but olivier derides her techniques. >> he told her to stop thinking and just to be sexy. it was like he was being a british zanuck. pushed her right back to where she started from. >> i imagined for her it was
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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 own 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 obstructive. she was a pain. she knew exactly what she was doing. it was how she could push back against them. >> one day we waited for a very long time, and sir laurence made her apologize to the whole crew for keeping them waiting so long. >> excuse me. >> but once she was in front of the camera, she was magic. >> i could use the 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.
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in fact, if i had known all this was going to happen, i wouldn't even have been nervous. long life to your grand highness. >> cheerio. >> better luck next time. only not with me, of course. >> when you watch the movie, i think she's much better than he is in it. i think he comes off stilted, and she is always luminous. >> listen, are you sure there is no effect when you drink it that way? >> she up stages him into the heavens. it's one of her lovliest, sweetest, most effective performances, and she steals it from him. >> i think you have had enough. >> i think, too. >> behind the scenes the conflict with olivier is splintering marilyn's relationship with her friend and coproducer milton greene. >> 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.
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>> milton found himself at times siding with olivier, or at least feeling sympathy for olivier. marilyn then started to think well, he must be on olivier'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, sominex brings 100% safe sleep. >> during the '50s into the '60s there is ramping up medication to deal with psychological problems. >> control yourself. >> women were definitely medicated in ways that men were not. >> if you're a woman, you know
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what it means to be needed. >> those women were tormented in a lot of way, 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. >> all of the stories about the prince and the show girl focus on marilyn's difficulties and the difficulty of her very toxic relationship with oliver. clearly her addictions were problem for her and for the set. she wasn't incapacitated. >> people who worked with her spoke about the smart notes she give after watching. saying specific things she wasn't happy with and why. they were a woman who knew her craft. and knew exactly what she wanted and what she needed. >> before she finishes filming,
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marilyn comes face to face with real royalty. >> behind the smiles, she fears the worst. for her production company.
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during the making of prince and the show girl, things were not going well. for the production company. or the partners. when marilyn views the first cut of the film, she thinks it's slow. and tedious. she blames coproducer milten green. >> she decided that she was going to take control of the production. herself. >> she didn't know what to do with milten. she loved him. but she didn't know what to do with him. she was embarrassed. marilyn had one last meeting with him and it was heartbreaking. they were both sobbing. >> it was very disheartening for him. he thought they were going to make wonderful movies together. these two human beings loved movies. >> when the film premiers in new york, milten is nowhere to be seen. >> it was over. we had a life to live.
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>> marilyn was as her story always shows 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 had never done before. >> my father was shooting a lot during the period. when they were the photographs of marilyn on the beach. >> very playful. she abored him. -- adored him. >> she discovers she's pregnant. and she is excited about it. she wanted to be a mom. i think she wanted to love a baby. she wanted to move forward with her life out of just being a poster girl and being a woman
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who chooses to be a mother. chooses a family. >> she loved children. the way she treated us, she would have been a great mother. >> on august 1, 1957, marilyn collapses and is rushed to the hospital. >> she lost her baby. she almost lost her own life. >> she's released from the hospital to battery of reporters and media. >> she was very ill. and yet she somehow had to turn it on for the camera. >> there's something so predatory feeling about paparazzi. she was that famous. that you would expect that attention. it still is really sad it had to be there in her darkest moments.
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>> it is just so heartbreaking. to see someone who really trying to put on a brave face with a 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 meals heels of her less, she 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. she would hit an expiration date. >> in march 1958, an intriguing new project lands on her desk. >> she absolutely knew a good script when she read one.
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and a funny script. she had a sense of what was box office gold and knew she could perform the role. >> some like it hot. remains one of the finest performances. >> anyone can play a dits. to play one that you love -- that to me takes a talent that cannot be taught. she had that in spades. >> there was no one else like her. ♪ ♪ >> the moment you put her in front of the camera, it's like watching magic. >> next, on the final episode of reframed. marilyn monroe. >> she doesn't feel seen or understood by her husband. the person who is supposed to
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know her best. >> in the middle of production she takes off to new york. she had a date with the president. he was having a big birthday party and she was to sing happy birthday. >> i think she was playing with him. but it was certainly brave. >> marilyn said splish splash. this would make interesting pictures. >> sftripping down and being naked. it's pushing the envelope. in california, screen actor marilyn monroe is dead. the 36 year-old film star was found in her bed this morning. >> successful. lonely actress. who led such a spectacular stormy life. the story of marilyn monroe is authentic tragedy. it began in tragedy and ended in tragedy. and in between there was always a tragic -- >> because of the way she died. we tend to look at her entire


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