Before disappearing into the blog-hole last week, I was posting about George Cukor which lead us to the unfinished 'Somethings Got To Give', Marilyn Monroe's last film. It's tempting to say that the abandonment of the movie, which Cukor was directing and Dean Martin and Cyd Charisse were co-starring in, most likely lead to her final tailspin and ultimate demise. But in reality the drugs and depression are what killed her--and are also what lead to the film being cancelled. She was perpetually canceling shoot days citing various illnesses and the studio began to grow dubious about just what was really keeping her from coming to work. Her pill/alcohol issues were by now an open secret within the community and she was probably fooling nobody with the 'sinus infection' stuff.
The dailies of the movie stayed locked in the Fox vaults gathering cinemascope-mold for thirty years before some enterprising Fox executive commissioned some enterprising editor to edit what they had together for a program of some sort on Marilyn and I've posted the result above. I'd always gotten the impression that they only shot for a few weeks before throwing in the towel but as the above video will show there was a lot of movie in the can--just not a lot with Marilyn. Cukor gamely shot around her, accommodating her absences by shooting out much of the dull Martin/Charisse material, but there came a point at which they simply needed Marilyn who continued to no-show on a regular basis.
From what we can see from the cut version of the existing material, cinema history lost nothing when the film was prematurely dumped. The forced material, the slow pace, Martin's obviously bored performance (although in truth he made television history with a show that was all about his boredom) all contribute to the general air of ennui. But it is Marilyn who is the weakest link. Cukor himself described her as "acting as if she was underwater", a most apt description. She's oddly detached and charmless and its unlikely the film would have revived her beginning-to-sag career. Still, the cut version is of archeological significance and has the added benefit of only running thirty-five minutes. One other note: the exterior set of Dino's house is an exact replica of Cukor's longtime Hollywood Hills abode--not a location but an actual recreation on a soundstage. It's the most interesting part of the movie.
Subscribe in a reader