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The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe (2022)

ginnyfan

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There's also a new Netflix documentary coming out next week, with some new unearthed, never before heard audio tapes of someone who knew her.
 

ClassyCo

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There's also a new Netflix documentary coming out next week, with some new unearthed, never before heard audio tapes of someone who knew her.
Don't think I was aware of this documentary before now.
 

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I watched about half of the Netflix documentary, but turned it off. Maybe I'll finish it, but I found it rather dull. Maybe someone not well versed in Marilyn's life would find it informative, but it all seemed like a rehash of a rehash to me. Despite having some audio recording of Marilyn herself, and some (surreptitiously recorded?) phone conversations with people who knew her, none of the details are new or insightful.

It also seemed to be heading toward some sordid revelations about her death, which preemptively bored me. Of all the conspiracy theories, none have ever struck me as less plausible than those surrounding Marilyn's death; I don't know why people need to overcomplicate this. I mean, if Doris Day had died of a drug overdose in 1962 that would have been suspicious, but Marilyn was an emotional calamity and a drug addict. It would have been more surprising if she hadn't overdosed.
 

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I watched about half of the Netflix documentary, but turned it off. Maybe I'll finish it, but I found it rather dull. Maybe someone not well versed in Marilyn's life would find it informative, but it all seemed like a rehash of a rehash to me. Despite having some audio recording of Marilyn herself, and some (surreptitiously recorded?) phone conversations with people who knew her, none of the details are new or insightful.

It also seemed to be heading toward some sordid revelations about her death, which preemptively bored me. Of all the conspiracy theories, none have ever struck me as less plausible than those surrounding Marilyn's death; I don't know why people need to overcomplicate this. I mean, if Doris Day had died of a drug overdose in 1962 that would have been suspicious, but Marilyn was an emotional calamity and a drug addict. It would have been more surprising if she hadn't overdosed.
I'm going to checkout the documentary at see what it's all about.
 

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I watched about half of the Netflix documentary, but turned it off. Maybe I'll finish it, but I found it rather dull. Maybe someone not well versed in Marilyn's life would find it informative, but it all seemed like a rehash of a rehash to me. Despite having some audio recording of Marilyn herself, and some (surreptitiously recorded?) phone conversations with people who knew her, none of the details are new or insightful.

It also seemed to be heading toward some sordid revelations about her death, which preemptively bored me. Of all the conspiracy theories, none have ever struck me as less plausible than those surrounding Marilyn's death; I don't know why people need to overcomplicate this. I mean, if Doris Day had died of a drug overdose in 1962 that would have been suspicious, but Marilyn was an emotional calamity and a drug addict. It would have been more surprising if she hadn't overdosed.

Something strange seemed to have gone on there. Her housekeeper asked rhetorically how long she was going to have to keep covering up this situation. Mafia relatives have claimed responsibility for it, timing it to coincide with Bobby's presence there, the CIA (who'd supposedly ordered the alleged hit) nixing the use of the murder to embarrass the Kennedys because of how that scandal might expose the agency's relationship to the mob and the star...

Blahblahblah ---- who knows?

But EMTs who were there that night swear that they were called much earlier than is known, that she died in the ambulance or the hospital, and that -- for some reason -- her body was returned to her house to be "found" a little later.

Supposedly, Bobby ordered Peter Lawford and private eye Fred Otash to case the joint, find her diary and take it.

So much drama -- how could it not be true??

I'm going to checkout the documentary at see what it's all about.

Have you considered starting a thread on it?
 

ClassyCo

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I don't know why people need to overcomplicate this. I mean, if Doris Day had died of a drug overdose in 1962 that would have been suspicious, but Marilyn was an emotional calamity and a drug addict. It would have been more surprising if she hadn't overdosed.
You know, on the surface, I suppose there isn't anything to complicate necessarily. Marilyn's habit of mixing champagne with sleeping pills was well-known in Hollywood, and her overdosing shouldn't have struck anyone by surprise. But yet something still doesn't seem right about the whole thing. But maybe that's just my conspiracy ear ringing.​
 

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But yet something still doesn't seem right about the whole thing. But maybe that's just my conspiracy ear ringing.

I've read quite a few biographies on Marilyn and had already leaned towards the straightforward answer of an accidental overdose, but Donald Spoto's biography became the "last word" on Marilyn for me. (Although, oddly, I disliked his bio on Crawford.) The book has an afterword that convincingly debunks the various conspiracies, tracing their source to mostly shady characters and disreputable shysters.

Beyond that, I find the fascination with her death -- rather than her life and career -- morbid.
 
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ClassyCo

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I've read quite a few biographies on Marilyn and had already leaned towards the straightforward answer of an accidental overdose, but Donald Spoto's biography became the "last word" on Marilyn for me. (Although, oddly, I disliked his bio on Crawford.) The book has an afterword that convincingly debunks the various conspiracies, tracing their source to mostly shady characters and disreputable shysters.

Beyond that, I find the fascination with her death -- rather than her life and career -- morbid.
It's been a while since I've skimmed over Spoto's biography of Marilyn, but I've got it on my book shelf so I might need to dust it off and give it a gander. Perhaps my fuzzy memory is clouding a bit of my judgment.

There is a -- sometimes -- unhealthy infatuation people have with Monroe's death. I -- at least at one time -- was certainly one of those people. I watched all the documentaries, read the books, and combed the internet to find literally anything that was the slightest bit "new" concerning the preciseness of her demise.

But, yet, that infatuation has dwindled with time. When I do look into Marilyn's life now -- which isn't all that often -- it's almost always from a professional or personal angle. I find it interesting how she wanted desperately to be taken seriously as a film actress, but how she also still craved to be a popular star; therefore omitting the awareness that those two desires aren't always realistically synonymous. It's also interesting to browse her romantic life and how she sought to better herself personally when she relocated to New York in the mid-1950s and took up friendships with bohemians and intellectuals, and even marrying a critically lauded playwright in Arthur Miller.​
 

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Life isn't exhaustingly dramatic enough for you? :oops:

Well, no, I don't want them to murder me...!

I've read quite a few biographies on Marilyn and had already leaned towards the straightforward answer of an accidental overdose, but Donald Spoto's biography became the "last word" on Marilyn for me. (Although, oddly, I disliked his bio on Crawford.) The book has an afterword that convincingly debunks the various conspiracies, tracing their source to mostly shady characters and disreputable shysters.

Beyond that, I find the fascination with her death -- rather than her life and career -- morbid.

After one of JFK's girlfriends, Mary Pinchot Meyer, was killed in a DC park, ostensibly by a homeless guy, a year after the president's assassination, the conspiracy folks began carping that her death was a "hit".. The authorities dismissed those theories as invalid or even ridiculous.

Before he died, her husband, Cord Meyer, a CIA agent, proclaimed that his wife had been killed "by the same bastards who killed President Kennedy!" (and he should know, as professional spook, E Howard Hunt, admitted on tape before his own demise that Meyer was in Dallas and part of the plot --- and that Hunt, himself was paymaster yet "a benchwarmer").

In fact, Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post (a friend of JFK's and someone who dismissed the murder theory about Mrs Meyer) caught creepy CIA operative James Jesus Angleton trying to break into Meyer's apartment; Angleton just silently sulked away. Was he after her diary?, because Bradlee sure was.

Other actress girlfriends of JFK became paranoid, gave magazine interviews stating they'd burned their diaries, and then arranged to move to Europe.

So perhaps some intel/mob cabal was knocking off mistresses for some reason -- over provocative pillow talk? Who knows?? But it certainly doesn't have to make sense to us.

I've never found the debunkers much more convincing than the conspiracy loons.





That said, Town & Country published this new article today, which says nothing although someone has made a little documentary:



  • Town and Country
    Town and Country

    How Did Marilyn Monroe Really Die?​

    Adam Rathe -
    1651184764539.png

    It’s been 37 years since journalist Anthony Summers published his book Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, but the story he told about the unknown sides of the movie star’s life didn’t end there.

    Director Emma Cooper’s new documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes revisits Summers’ reporting and gives viewers the opportunity to hear recordings of his interviews—with everyone from Monroe’s housekeeper to the family of her shrink, a private eye, and friends and colleagues like John Huston and Billy Wilder—in an effort to uncover what Monroe’s life truly looked like before she died at the age of 36 and how her final hours were spent.
    Marilyn Monroe with Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy as seen in the new documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, now on Netflix.
    © Courtesy NetflixMarilyn Monroe with Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy as seen in the new documentary The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes, now on Netflix.
    Here, Cooper tells T&C what she learned from making the film, and what she found most shocking about digging into the dark side of Monroe’s stardom.




    What about Tony Summers’ book, which came out in 1985, made it feel like something to base a documentary on today?​

    I read Tony’s book and I knew there were things in there that people didn’t know. So, I went to spend some time with him, going through all the book and going to the Academy archives in Hollywood, where they had decided to keep a record of all his tapes for historical posterity. I was lucky that the tapes had just been digitized and were there before I decided there was a film here.
    I came to this project without any opinion or that much knowledge about Marilyn Monroe. I never thought I’d be somebody who’d spend three years making a film about her. Only two weeks ago I got a tattoo of her on my arm, but three years ago there wasn’t that much interest. That was helpful to me, because I got to go in without any baggage so I was able to be very subjective and I could ask simple questions, about who was around her or the conspiracy theories because I honestly didn’t know much. Me and our producer Eloise Vanstone spent nearly a year listening to tapes, getting into the primary sources that we had. You don’t normally have that much kind of evidence; we were listening to the last people who knew her. A way forward became clear, but only after about two years. I didn’t go into this knowing what the final arc of the film was going to be.
    Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday at President Kennedy’s 44th birthday celebration in 1962.
    © Courtesy NetflixMarilyn Monroe singing "Happy Birthday" at President Kennedy’s 44th birthday celebration in 1962
  • .

    The film makes a case for a timeline of her final hours that’s different from the official story. What most surprised you about the claims you documented?​

  • Is there a revelation in the film that you found most shocking?​


  • All of it! It’s very bizarre for this film to be finally going out into the world. Before I started making it, I went to Hollywood and visited Marilyn’s grave. I tried to tell her that I’m standing here as a woman who’s older than she was when she died, and it’s the 2020s and I’m hoping to give her the right voice. That’s the only thing that’s important to me, is that we’ve got the truth, and I believe we have. I want other people to come away from the film feeling they’ve gotten to know her and know the things that happened at the end of her life and why. I only care about Marilyn, who’s been curiously voiceless for years. Part of the reason I never interviewed anyone but Tony is that my main character is Marilyn Monroe. If I’m thinking that there are three elements to the film, they’re Tony, the voices he recorded, and Marilyn. So, I just hope that people hear her in the film.


    For me, there were two things. I always knew that what Tony had evidenced in his book—the timeline we’re able to put together—was a revelation to me, and I thought it would be to other people. I felt that we were evidencing something of great importance in terms of Marilyn’s truth. In working with Tony for so long, he made me realize that the truth in these stories is always somewhere in the middle.
    Time and time again, when I was trying to untangle her final days, the truth always ended up being somewhere in the middle. And that’s one of the most important things in the film—that the timeline of when she was officially found can be proved to be incorrect and people should know that.

  • We hear from her friends, her employees, her doctor’s family, but how do we really know who knows or is telling the truth?​

    All the interviews were done in the 1980s. There are no modern interviews apart from [our interviews with] Tony. Now, all those people are gone and you’re never going to be able to make a film like this again, which is what will make it a historical resource. The making of the film really mirrored the way Tony wrote the book; it took years, and I think that people respond to that methodology. He built relationships with people over time, and they did feel like they were able to speak their truth.
    Marilyn Monroe on the day she married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956.
    © Courtesy NetflixMarilyn Monroe on the day she married playwright Arthur Miller in 1956.

  • What about the way she lived and died feels important to look at today?​

    Marilyn is a wonderful enigma, and her truth is far more relatable than I thought it was going to be. She stopped being a victim for me, she became a very modern woman.
 
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ClassyCo

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I haven't watched this Netflix documentary as of yet, but it's definitely on my watchlist. I figured this was as good a time as any to initiate a discussion about it.

Any thoughts on this documentary so far? I know some other posters have already posted their opinions elsewhere, but the documentary deserves its own thread, I'd say.

1651495098501.png
 

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It’s been 37 years since journalist Anthony Summers published his book Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe, but the story he told about the unknown sides of the movie star’s life didn’t end there.

I did not make the connection between the man in the documentary and that book; if I had, I would have stopped watching even earlier than I did. Even setting aside my skepticism about the conspiracies in the book, it's one of those exploitive, sleazy books from the 70s and 80s that now look gross. The inclusion of the autopsy photo alone puts this in the trash bin with Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon" dreck.
 

Snarky Oracle!

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I did not make the connection between the man in the documentary and that book; if I had, I would have stopped watching even earlier than I did. Even setting aside my skepticism about the conspiracies in the book, it's one of those exploitive, sleazy books from the 70s and 80s that now look gross. The inclusion of the autopsy photo alone puts this in the trash bin with Kenneth Anger's "Hollywood Babylon" dreck.

Anthony Summers? I read "Goddess" circa 1986 -- did you think it was that bad? I'd forgotten about the autopsy photos included.... And speaking of conspiracies, I recently read Ed Haslam's "Dr. Mary's Monkey" and was horrified to see Dr. Sherman's death scene photos included, charred corpse and all (of course, she wasn't famous like Marilyn). Even in death, you're abused in print and on the internet with your naked body assaulted by necrophiliacs -- just another of the many reasons not to become famous. And there are those 911 calls while you're getting murdered that wind up on Youtube forever.

I agree that Anger's stuff is dreck.

 
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Mel O'Drama

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Did this thread get moved, or did I have a stroke?
It got moved. I wasn't aware until just now.

Since a new thread for this specific documentary was requested, the already ongoing discussion about it was moved here to continue and prevent any repetition.

Apologies for any confusion. This thread can easily be merged back in with the original if this is preferred.
 

Snarky Oracle!

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Funny, I've never seen this before: Larry King's program does a 35th death anniversary special (in 1997) about Marilyn with a motley pack of Hollywood geezers, including Milton Berle, George Barris, Robert Wagner, Hope Lange and Mickey Rooney. (I guess it takes Rooney to make Berle seem almost classy).

What a buncha geriatric bozos.... except for Hope Lange, of course.

RJ Wagner asserts that "I was in Europe when (Marilyn) died," and since he's the sole survivor of this show, I'm assuming he killed her and probably everybody else.

 
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