When she was rejected as a replacement actress, Monroe learned her worth and courageously advocated for herself.
“She was finding her power,” said photographer Nancy Lee Andrews. “Being Marilyn is not a tragedy. It is a victory.”
not just another dumb blonde
One of Monroe’s early hits was the musical comedy “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. She played a dumb blonde gold digger named Lorelei, a showgirl traveling to France to marry a wealthy man.
“I can be smart when it’s important. But most men don’t like it,” she says in the film, a line Monroe insists on using.
Despite the lack of female representation, Monroe found power by adding complexity to these simple characters.
Sarah Churchwell, professor of American literature at the University of London, said, “It was instrumental in the development of Marilyn’s career and star personality because Lori is a dumb blonde who is not as dumb as you think.”
Monroe played a role in the notions to propel himself to stardom.
Actress Amber Tamblyn said, “If you’re able to control it, not just joking around, that’s a sign of a genius to me.”
Finding your strength and fighting for your potential
Monroe starred in several major hits in 1953, including “How to Marry a Millionaire”, where she again played a dumb blonde. The film earned Fox $15 million, the equivalent of today’s $150 million.
After being asked to play another pretty one-note lead role in the musical comedy, “The Girl in Pink Tights,” Monroe was fed up. According to biographer Cindy de la Hoz-Cipala, she literally labeled it “trash” and handed it back to the studio’s head, Darryl Zank.
“She was the main attraction,” said actress Mira Sorvino. “I mean, she was the reason people came to the theatre. So, it was crazy that she wasn’t given a more powerful position in terms of pay.”
Monroe refused the role until his pay and conditions improved.
“Anyone who thought Monroe was a perpetual victim walked off the set of ‘Pink Tights.’ Enough said,” said writer and film critic Molly Haskell.
The film was never made, and the studio turned over Monroe’s contract, giving him a salary for future roles.
Monroe’s David vs. Goliath Gamble
In 1954, Monroe filmed the most famous moment of her career: when her dress flies over the mesh of a subway. This scene is featured in “The Seven Year Itch”, which was a huge box office hit.
She was at the peak of her success but was still being typecast. So he left Hollywood.
Breaking her contract with Fox, she moved to New York and launched her own film company, Marilyn Monroe Productions. He also took classes at the Actors Studio. As she said, it was all in an effort to be seen as a “serious actress”.
Within a year, Fox accepted and offered Monroe a new contract—giving him a higher salary, director’s approval, and the freedom to make films through his own production company.
“She got everything she wanted, everything, which was unheard of in 1955,” said Monroe’s friend Amy Green, who was with her when she got the news.
proving his mettle
“Bus Stop” was Monroe’s first film under his new contract. It was an opportunity to showcase his acting skills.
He played the role of a failed musician named Cheri, who aspired to be a big star. Monroe insisted on ghostly makeup because she believed the character would never go out in the sun. He also completed the Ozark accent for the role.
“We can see that Marilyn Monroe’s physicality is being presented differently from earlier films,” said Jeanine Basinger, professor of film studies at Wesleyan University. “It has a different quality. It’s more realistic. It’s less voyeuristic.”
Critics praised Monroe’s performance.
Film critic Christina Newland said, “A lot of people said she really deserved an Academy Award nomination for that role.”
Monroe makes a film with his own production company
Monroe’s next move was to produce the film “The Prince and the Showgirl” with his production company.
Churchwell said, “‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ was finally going to demonstrate everything she had been fighting for a decade, that she was going to have all the credibility she wanted.”
Marilyn plays Elsie, an American showgirl who falls for a European prince, played by Laurence Olivier. There were challenges like Monroe’s lethargy during filming, but she prevailed in front of the camera.
“People who worked with her talked about these smart notes she would give after seeing them [footage], where she said very specific things she wasn’t happy with and why,” said Turner Classic Movies host Alicia Malone. “They were the epitome of a woman who knew her craft and knew exactly what she wanted. And what exactly does he need? ,
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