MONROE V. MARX; A LOVE (HAPPY) STORY
The Marx Brothers 1949 "Love Happy" is generally considered to be not just their worst movie but the worst final movie of any movie comedian ever made. But is it truly beyond critical rehabilitation? Yes. Let's move on to the interesting stuff.
Beyond being an inglorious farewell to the brothers, the film is notable for bringing the world Marilyn Monroe, who has a brief and quite funny scene with Groucho, who later remembered the intense effect she had on everyone on the set. The producer, Lester Cowan, seems to have sensed that there was more value in her than was being taken advantage of in the little scene. So what did he do about it? Write a bigger part for her? Sign her to a long-term contract? No. The justly forgotten Cowan opted for creating a flip-book, featuring Marilyn and Chico. (A flip book is one of those things where you flip pages of photographs and they flutter by making it look like an action is occurring...oh, Christ, I don't need to explain this, do I?) Thus was born the above posted very rare, item: 'FLIP-O-VISION PRESENTS: MR. MISSED HER KISSER. Apparently the stills you'll see in the above video made up the little booklet and tell the riveting story of Chico and Marilyn trying to kiss each other and missing. Terrific! Mostly, the stills are notable for the fact that Marilyn only appears with Groucho in the movie, but apparently Harpo decided to join Chico (who presumably was on call for the flip-book shoot) on the set that day, thus providing us with pics of MM with both Harpo and Chico as well. Or perhaps Groucho alerted them to come to meet the striking young starlet and the flip-book idea was born on the set. It kind of does sound like the sort of thing Chico would think up, doesn't it? (At least the Chico we know in the movies--"hey, I gotta idea, we make-a da flip'a book!" Etc.) Below is a nice clip of Groucho discussing how they hired Marilyn (shot in 1963) as well as her scene from the movie. Monroe's performance is poor in a very interesting way: it's as if she's doing a weak imitation of an actress named Marilyn Monroe, yet doesn't quite have the confidence to pull it off. Not yet, anyway...
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 9:10 AM