FOREVER MARILYN [1959 / 1953 / 1955 / 1953 / 2012] [4 Film Collection] [Blu-ray] [UK Release]
The Ultimate Collection of Marilyn Monroe Films!
Marilyn Monroe forever stands alone as Hollywood's quintessential icon of sex appeal and timeless allure. Her breathy voice, voluptuous figure and wide-ranging talents catapulted her to superstardom, where she remains as legendary today as ever. Immortalised here in this must-own collection are four of her best and most popular films, presented on these 4 stunning Blu-ray discs and the perfect format to showcase Marilyn Monroe's flawless beauty and captivating performances as they are meant to be seen.
SOME LIKE IT HOT  When Chicago musicians Joe [Tony Curtis] and Jerry [Jack Lemmon] accidentally witness a gangland shooting they quickly board a southbound train to Florida, disguised as Josephine and Daphne, the two newest and homeliest members of an all-girl jazz band. Their cover is perfect… until a lovelorn singer Sugar Kane Kowalczyk [Marilyn Monroe] falls for "Josephine." An ancient playboy Osgood Fielding III [Joe E. Brown] falls for "Daphne," and a mob boss Spats Colombo [George Raft] refuses to fall for their hoax!
FILM FACT: ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT’ Awards and Nominations: 1959 National Board of Review, USA: Win: NBR Award for Top Ten Films. 1959 Venice Film Festival: Nominated: Golden Lion Award for Billy Wilder. 1960 Academy Awards: Win: Best Costume Design, Black-and-White for Orry-Kelly. Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Jack Lemmon. Nominated: Best Director for Billy Wilder. Nominated: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. Nominated: Best Cinematography in Black-and-White for Charles Lang. Nominated: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in Black-and-White for Edward G. Boyle and Ted Haworth. 1960 Golden Globes: Win: Best Motion Picture in a Comedy. Win: Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical for Marilyn Monroe. Win: Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for Jack Lemmon. 1960 BAFTA Film Awards: Win: Best Foreign Actor for Jack Lemmon [USA]. Nominated: Best Film from any Source for Billy Wilder [USA]. 1960 Bambi Awards: Nominated: Best International Actor for Tony Curtis. 1960 Directors Guild of America: Nominated: DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Billy Wilder. 2006 Laurel Awards: Nominated: Golden Laurel Award for Top Comedy. Nominated: Golden Laurel Award for Top Female Comedy Performance for Marilyn Monroe. Nominated: Golden Laurel Award for Top Male Comedy Performance for Jack Lemmon. 1960 Writers Guild of America: Win: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Written American Comedy for Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond. 2000 PGA Awards: Win: PGA Hall of Fame of Motion Pictures for Billy Wilder. 2009 Jules Verne Awards: Win: Jules Verne Légendaire Award for Billy Wilder.
Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Nehemiah Persoff, Joan Shawlee, Dave Barry, Billy Gray, Barbara Drew, George E. Stone, Mike Mazurki, Harry Wilson, Edward G. Robinson Jr., Beverly Wills, Tom Kennedy (uncredited) and Al Breneman (uncredited)
Director: Billy Wilder
Producers: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond and Doane Harrison
Screenplay: Billy Wilder (screenplay), I.A.L. Diamond (screenplay), Michael Logan (suggested by a story) and Robert Thoeren (suggested by a story)
Composer: Adolph Deutsch (background score)
Cinematography: Charles Bryant Lang Jr., A.S.C. (Directors of Photography)
SOME LIKE IT HOT MUSIC TRACK LIST
RUNNING WILD (1922) (uncredited) (Music by A.H. Gibbs) (Lyrics by Joe Grey and Leo Wood) [Played during the opening credits] [Played by the girls on the train and Performed by Marilyn Monroe] [Performed also a Capella by Tony Curtis] [Gene Cipriano played tenor sax for Tony Curtis, Al Hendrickson played ukulele for Marilyn Monroe]
Liebesträume (uncredited) (Composed by Franz Liszt) [Performed on the organ at Mozzarella's Funeral Parlour]
SUGAR BLUES (1920) (uncredited) (Music by Clyde McCoy) [Performed by Matty Malneck & His Orchestra; George 'Red' Callender, bass; Gene Cipriano, tenor sax for Tony Curtis; Jack Dumont, reeds; Al Hendrickson, ukulele for Marilyn Monroe; Barney Kessel, electric guitar; Shelly Manne, drums; Dave Pell, tenor sax , saxophone coach for Tony Curtis; Art Pepper, alto sax; Leroy Vinnegar, bass; John Williams, piano]
DOWN AMONG THE SHELTERING PALMS (1914) (uncredited) (Music by Abe Olman) (Lyrics by James Brockman and Leo Wood) [Performed by Society Syncopators]
RANDOLPH STREET RAG (1958) (uncredited) (Music by Adolph Deutsch)
I WANNA BE LOVED BY YOU (1928) (uncredited) (Music by Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby) (Lyrics by by Bert Kalmar) [Performed by Marilyn Monroe]
PARK AVENUE FANTASY (Stairway to the Stars) (1935) (uncredited) (Music by Matty Malneck and Frank Signorelli)
I’M THRU WITH LOVE (1931) (uncredited) (Music by Matty Malneck and Fud Livingston) (Lyrics by Gus Kahn) [Performed by Marilyn Monroe]
SWEET GEORGIA BROWN (1925) (uncredited) (Music by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard) [Played in the back room of the funeral parlour]
BY THE BEAUTIFUL SEA (1914) (uncredited) (Music by Harry Carroll) (Lyrics by Harold Atteridge) [Performed by Society Syncopators]
SOME LIKE IT HOT (1958) (uncredited) (Music by Matty Malneck and I.A.L. Diamond) [Performed by Matty Malneck & His Orchestra; George 'Red' Callender, bass; Gene Cipriano, tenor sax for Tony Curtis; Jack Dumont, reeds; Al Hendrickson, ukulele for Marilyn Monroe; Barney Kessel, electric guitar; Shelly Manne, drums; Dave Pell, tenor sax , saxophone coach for Tony Curtis; Art Pepper, alto sax; Leroy Vinnegar, bass; John Williams, piano]
LA CUMPARSITA (1916) (uncredited) (Music by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez)
SWEET SUE, JUST YOU (1928) (uncredited) (Music by Victor Young) [In the score after "I Wanna Be Loved By You"]
FOR HE’S A JOLLY GOOD FELLOW (uncredited) (Traditional) [Sung by all at the gangsters' meeting]
SUGAR BLUES – RUNNIN’ WILD (uncredited) (Written by A.H. Gibbs and Clyde McCoy) [Performed by Matty Malneck & His Orchestra; George 'Red' Callender, bass; Gene Cipriano, tenor sax for Tony Curtis; Jack Dumont, reeds; Al Hendrickson, ukulele for Marilyn Monroe; Barney Kessel, electric guitar; Shelly Manne, drums; Dave Pell, tenor sax , saxophone coach for Tony Curtis; Art Pepper, alto sax; Leroy Vinnegar, bass; John Williams, piano]
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GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES  Featuring Marilyn Monroe's legendary rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," this fun musical comedy is a knockout on Blu-ray. Marilyn and Jane Russell star as two showgirls who set sail on a luxury liner bound for France. Hijinks on the high seas ensue as Lorelei Lee [Marilyn Monroe] and Dorothy Shaw [Jane Russell] discovers they're being tailed by a private detective hired by the father of Lorelei Lee's landlocked boyfriend Gus Esmond Jr. [Tommy Noonan]. By the time the ship reaches Paris, a missing diamond tiara lands the girls in hot water, but by following their hearts, they'll get out of trouble and on to the altar.
FILM FACT: ‘GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES' Awards and Nominations: 1954 Writers Guild of America: Nominated: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Written American Musical for Charles Lederer. As a result of ‘GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES' success, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell were given the chance to put their hand and foot prints in cement outside the Grauman's Chinese Theatre; a spectacle that got a lot of publicity for both actresses.
Cast: Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Taylor Holmes, Norma Varden, George Winslow, Steven Geray, David Ahdar (uncredited), Alex Akimoff (uncredited), Aladdin (uncredited), Kip Behar (uncredited), Harry Carey Jr. (uncredited), George Chakiris (uncredited), John Close (uncredited), Chuck Hicks (uncredited), Alvy Moore (uncredited), Steve Reeves (uncredited), James H. Russell (uncredited), John Weidemann (uncredited), James Young (uncredited), Marni Nixon (Playback vocalist for Marilyn Monroe) (uncredited) and Don Wilson (Trailer Narrator voice) (uncredited)
Director: Howard Hawks
Producer: Sol C. Siegel
Screenplay: Charles Lederer (screenplay), Anita Loos (based on the musical comedy) and Joseph Fields (based on the musical comedy)
Composers: Hal Schaefer (uncredited), Herbert W. Spencer (uncredited), Leigh Harline (uncredited) and Lionel Newman (uncredited)
Cinematography: Harry J. Wild, A.S.C. (Directors of Photography)
GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES MUSIC TRACK LIST
WHEN LOVE GOES WRONG (1953) (Music and Lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Adamson) [Performed by Marilyn Monroe (uncredited) and Jane Russell (dubbed by Eileen Wilson (uncredited) with Parisians]
ANYONE HERE FOR LOVE? (1953) (Music and Lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Adamson) [Performed by Jane Russell (uncredited) and the Olympic Team]
A LITTLE GIRL FROM LITTLE ROCK (1949) (uncredited) (1949) (Music by Jule Styne) (Lyrics by Leo Robin) (Special Lyrics by Ken Darby and Eliot Daniel) [Sung in a pre-title sequence as "Two Little Girls from Little Rock" by Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell (dubbed by Eileen Wilson (uncredited)) with Chorus] [Also played in the score and sung at the wedding]
Liebestraum nach dem Balle, Intermezzo Op.356 (uncredited) (Written by Alphons Czibulka) [It is heard in the dining room scene when Dorothy and Lorelei come in to dinner. The band actually messes-up the song because they are too busy looking at the girls]
DIAMOND’S ARE GIRLS BEST FRIEND (1949) (uncredited) (Music by Jule Styne) (Lyrics by Leo Robin) [Played during the opening credits and often in the score] [Performed by Marilyn Monroe with Chorus] [Also performed by Jane Russell] [Also sung at the wedding] [Sung by a chorus at the end]
BYE BYE BABY (1949) (uncredited) (Music by Jule Styne) (Lyrics by Leo Robin) [Performed by Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe with Passengers]
BRIDAL CHORUS (Here Comes the Bride) (1850) (uncredited) From "Lohengrin" (Music by Richard Wagner) [Played at the wedding]
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THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH  Featuring one of the most iconic images in cinema history, this classic Billy Wilder comedy will seduce you on Blu-ray. Marilyn Monroe lights up the screen as a voluptuous actress known only as “The Girl,” who moves into the apartment above a married man named Richard Sherman [Tom Ewell]. While Richard's wife and son are away for the summer, his marriage vows are put to the ultimate test by The Girl's sexy charm and unwitting flirtations. Will the smitten Richard Sherman stay faithful or will he succumb to “the seven year itch”?
FILM FACT: ‘THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH’ Awards and Nominations: 1956 Golden Globes: Win: Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for Tom Ewell. 1956 BAFTA Film Awards: Nominated: Best Foreign Actress for Marilyn Monroe [USA]. 1956 Directors Guild of America: Nominated: DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Billy Wilder. 1956 Writers Guild of America: Nominated: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Written American Comedy for Billy Wilder and George Axelrod. The titular phrase, which refers to declining interest in a monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage, has been used by psychologists.
Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes, Sonny Tufts, Robert Strauss, Oscar Homolka, Marguerite Chapman, Victor Moore, Donald MacBride, Roxanne, Carolyn Jones, Tom Nolan (uncredited), Doro Merande (uncredited) and Kathleen Freeman (uncredited)
Director: Billy Wilder
Producers: Billy Wilder, Charles K. Feldman and Doane Harrison
Screenplay: Billy Wilder (screenplay) and George Axelrod (screenplay) (based upon an original play: "The Seven Year Itch")
Composer: Alfred Newman
Cinematography: Milton R. Krasner, A.S.C (Directors of Photography)
THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH MUSIC TRACK LIST
Piano Concerto #2 (Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff) [Played on a record and often in the score]
Chopsticks (1877) (uncredited) (Music by Euphemia Allen) [Performed by Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell]
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HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE  One of the first movies filmed in glorious Cinemascope, this funny and sexy romantic comedy looks like a million dollars on Blu-ray. Marilyn Monroe [Pola Debevoise], Lauren Bacall [Schatze Page] and Betty Grable [Loco Dempsey] star as three gorgeous models who concoct a wild scheme to marry rich men. The girls rent a lavish Manhattan penthouse to lure wealthy bachelors, but things go uproariously awry when they actually end up falling in love! They soon discover the road to romance is filled with hilarious twists as their new suitors reveal surprises none of them saw coming.
FILM FACT: ‘HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE’ Awards and Nominations: 1954 Academy Awards®: Best Costume Design in Color for Charles Le Maire and Travilla. 1954 Writers Guild of America: Nominated: WGA Award (Screen) for Best Written American Comedy for Nunnally Johnson. 1955 BAFTA Film Awards: Nominated: Best Film from any Source [USA]. ‘HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE’ was the first film ever to be filmed in the new CinemaScope wide-screen process, although it was the second CinemaScope film released by 20th Century Fox after the biblical epic film ‘The Robe’ (1953). ‘HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE’ was also the first 1950s Technicolour and CinemaScope film ever to be shown on prime-time network television in America, though panned-and-scanned, when it was presented as the first film on NBC Saturday Night at the Movies on 23rd September, 1961.
Cast: Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, Alex D'Arcy, Fred Clark, William Powell, Robert Adler (uncredited), Merry Anders (uncredited), Charlotte Austin (uncredited), Benny Burt (uncredited), Harry Carter (uncredited), Van Des Autels (uncredited), Tom Greenway (uncredited), Ruth Hall (uncredited), Harry James (uncredited), Jane Liddell (uncredited), Thomas Martin (uncredited), Beryl McCutcheon (uncredited), Alfred Newman (Orchestra Conductor in Prologue) (uncredited), Hermine Sterler (uncredited), James Stone (uncredited), Lida Thomas (uncredited), Tyra Vaughn (uncredited) and Eric Wilton (uncredited)
Director: Jean Negulesco
Producer: Nunnally Johnson
Screenplay: Nunnally Johnson (screenplay), Dale Eunson (play), Dale Eunson (play) and Katherine Albert (play)
Composer: Cyril J. Mockridge (uncredited)
Cinematography: Joseph MacDonald, A.S.C. (Directors of Photography)
HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE MUSIC TRACK LIST
THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX SYMPHONY ORECHESTRA “STREET SCENE” (Composed and Conducted by Alfred Newman) [Performed by The Twentieth Century-Fox Symphony Orchestra in the prologue]
NEW YORK (1953) (uncredited) (Music by Lionel Newman) (Lyrics by Ken Darby) [Sung by chorus during the opening credits and played in the score] [Conducted by Alfred Newman onscreen at the end] [Performed by The Twentieth Century-Fox Symphony Orchestra]
HOW ABOUT YOU? (1941) (uncredited) (Music by Burton Lane) [Background music played in the restaurant]
I’VE GOT A FEELIN’ YOU’RE FOOLIN’ (1935) (uncredited) (Music by Nacio Herb Brown) [Background music when Schatze, Pola and Loco are in the women's lounge]
HOME ON THE RANGE (1904) (uncredited) (Music by Daniel E. Kelley) [In the film score during Schatze's dream]
DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS (1942) (uncredited) (Music by Don Swander) [In the film score during Schatze's dream]
Ach, du Lieber Augustine (ca 1768) (uncredited) (Traditional) [In the film score during Loco's dream]
SWEET AND LOVELY (1931) (uncredited) (Music by Gus Arnheim, Harry Tobias and Neil Moret) [In the film score during the fashion showing]
YOU’LL NEVER KNOW (1943) (uncredited) (Music by Harry Warren) [Played on the radio at the lodge and often throughout the picture]
I KNOW WHY (and So Do You) (1941) (uncredited) (Music by Harry Warren) [Played on the piano before the wedding]
BRIDAL CHORUS From "Lohengrin" (1850) (uncredited) (Music by Richard Wagner) [Played as Schatze is walking down the aisle]
LOVELY LADY (uncredited) (Music by Jimmy McHugh) [In the score during the fashion showing]
STREET SCENE (Written by Alfred Newman) [Was also the opening theme in "The Dark Corner" (1946)]
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Image Resolution: 1080p (Black-and-White and Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1; 1.37:1 and 2.55:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,
English: 1.0 DTS-HD Master Mono Audio
French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Português: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Czech: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Hungarian: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Polish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono Audio
Thai: 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio
French: 5.1 DTS-HD Audio
Italian: 5.1 DTS-HD Audio
German: 5.1 DTS-HD Audio
Russian: 5.1 DTS-HD Audio
Spanish [Castilian]: 5.1 DTS-HD
English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Cantonese, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish and Turkish
Running Time: 116 minutes, 87 minutes, 100 minutes and 91 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 4
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: ‘FOREVER MARILYN’ is the first collection of 4 Blu-ray films celebrating the inimitable, luminous talent of the incomparable Marilyn Monroe, has been released by 20th Century Fox. Marilyn Monroe fans have waited a long time to enjoy the iconic blonde's delectable body of work especially In 1080p high definition, and this four-disc set, which features four films new to Blu-ray, includes some classic performances, all with beautifully restored video and audio.
One of the most legendary stars in the annals of Hollywood, the voluptuous Marilyn Monroe dazzled audiences with her tasteful mix of sex appeal, innocence, and vulnerability, and though many don't appreciate her unique talent, there's no disputing her magnetism. Few film stars connect with the camera more intimately than Marilyn Monroe, who projects palpable electricity without seeming artificial. Sadly, most of her films are only memorable because she appeared in them, but with a kittenish smile, flip of the head, playful giggle, or wide-eyed glance she raises their stature immeasurably, making us want to return to them again and again, if only to revel in her hypnotic presence. Sex symbols come and go, with most forgotten before they make their mark, but Marilyn endures because sex is only a by-product of her image. Warmth, accessibility, humour, and the priceless ability not to take one ’s self too seriously all contribute to a full-bodied and yes, the adjective is intentional, persona that transcends our basest instincts.
20th Century Fox has been seen fit to lavish more care and attention on Marilyn Monroe's Blu-ray debut, because Marilyn Monroe is still as popular as ever. But most important I hope 20th Century Fox will continue to release a steady stream of Marilyn Monroe films in high-definition like we have with this 4 Film Collection? But from a packaging standpoint, this 4 Film Collection Box Set looks really good and especially in beautifully printed solid housed cardboard box set that contains the Four Blu-ray discs in their individual Blu-ray cases. Here we have one of the most beloved and influential personalities in cinema history, and 20th Century Fox, as the studio did while she was a contract player, treated her like a commodity instead of one of its most prized assets.
At this moment in time, this particular Box Set has only 4 films. Just like the first inferior DVD collection of Marilyn Monroe films, that I was so glad to get rid of, and especially this grouping of 4 Classic Hollywood Film includes ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT,’ ‘GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES,’ ‘HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE’ and ‘THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH’ is without doubt a stunning Blu-ray presentation.
The best Blu-ray debut of this bunch of four films has got to be in my opinion would have to be ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT’ is a 1959 American black and white romantic comedy film set in 1929, directed and produced by Billy Wilder, starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. The supporting cast includes George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Joan Shawlee, and Nehemiah Persoff. The screenplay by Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond is based on a screenplay by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan and adapted from the French film ‘Fanfare of Love.’ The film is about two musicians who dress in drag in order to escape from mafia gangsters whom they witnessed commit a crime inspired by the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT’ opened to critical and commercial success and is today considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. The film was produced without approval from the Motion Picture Production Code because it plays with the idea of homosexuality and features cross dressing. The MPP code had been gradually weakening in its scope during the early 1950s, due to greater social tolerance for previously taboo topics in film, but it was still officially enforced until the mid-1960s. The overwhelming success of ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT’ is considered one of the final nail in the coffin for the ridiculous and Victorian Hays Code.
The film ‘GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES’ is a Howard Hawks' sparkling adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, featuring Marilyn Monroe as quintessential dumb blonde and philosophical gold-digger Lorelei Lee. It's the role that both made Marilyn a megastar and would sadly typecast her in future endeavours, but it proves her worth as a leading lady and musical dynamo. From the sexy opening number "Two Little Girls from Little Rock" to the dazzlingly elegant and impeccably staged "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," this tuneful romantic romp is a tailor-made showcase for Marilyn Monroe's comic and musical abilities. Whether trading wisecracks with co-star Jane Russell, cooing over bumbling billionaire Tommy Noonan, or asking awkward assistance from moppet George Winslow, Marilyn Monroe is charming, funny, and disarmingly alluring.
The brilliant ‘THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH’ also spotlights Marilyn Monroe's talents as a light comedienne, but this adaptation of George Axelrod's examination of the aging male libido never quite realises its potential. Most notable for the iconic shot of Monroe's white dress billowing in the breeze as the star stands over a subway grating, this Billy Wilder directed comedy was regarded as risqué in 1955, but seems rather tame today. Tom Ewell plays a middle-aged Manhattan husband who fantasizes about the nubile sexpot upstairs while his wife and son are away on summer vacation. Marilyn Monroe plays the object of his vivid daydreams who winds up teaching him a thing or two about true love. Once again Marilyn Monroe's fresh-faced vivacity and sincerity save the day and temper Tom Ewell's broad portrayal.
‘HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE’ scenario was a breezy, painless primer on snagging a wealthy husband, as a trio of down-to-earth beauties such as Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe masquerade as members of the sophisticated elite to meet eligible men. Betty Grable, the long-reigning queen of 20th Century Fox, passed the torch to Monroe following this picture, along with her standing as the studio's top curvaceous blonde. In a clever twist on her dumb blonde image, Marilyn Monroe plays a blind-as-a-bat bombshell bookworm who fears spectacles will ruin her appeal to the opposite sex. This cute comedy also falls short of expectations, but the bright personalities of its stars manage to salvage the film.
Of course, the rarefied realm is where Marilyn Monroe resides, and her status as a Hollywood icon of beauty, sex, stardom, turbulence, and tragedy will never waver. These films exhibit the many facets of her fascinating personality and showcase her often underrated talents in a variety of settings, genres, and guises. But like the mediocre film in which she so often starred in, Marilyn Monroe rises above any treatment that the studios did to the wonderful woman, and all we see is her inimitable brilliance, unadorned and unfiltered. And in the end, that's all we really want anyway and this starlet will shine forever.
Blu-ray Image Quality – The packaging and film selection of ‘FOREVER MARILYN’ is without doubt quite stunning and the image transfers do not let us down. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has done a stunning superior job honouring Marilyn Monroe with excellent restorations across the board that make these 50+ year-old films look like they were produced yesterday. I know all these films intimately, and I can say without question they have never looked better on home video. The biggest revelation is of the oldest film, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES’ and from the instant Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell emerge from behind the curtains in their sparkling red sequin gowns in the film's opening shot, you get to view a totally exceptional image quality and is totally instantly jaw-droopingly spectacular image. From bold primaries to delicate pastels, colours are spectacularly rich and vibrant, yet never seem artificially pushed. Accents, such as red fingernails and lipstick, as well as Marilyn Monroe's blonde hair and the shock of yellow on Jayne Russell's poolside attire, burst forth, while deep blacks and solid whites enhance the impact of various costumes. Flesh tones look surprisingly natural for a Technicolor film, with Monroe's creamy complexion and Jane Russell's bronze skin appearing fresh and well-modulated. Brilliant contrast and clarity, sensational razor sharp close-ups, and pleasingly crisp background elements combine with just the faintest touch of grain to create an almost perfect picture. The song “Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend” is a videophile's dream come true. No specks, marks, or age-related imperfections of any kind mar the image, and no digital enhancements or anomalies disrupt the integrity of this fantastic rendering. 'The Seven Year Itch' is also amazingly crisp and vibrant, though the use of single-strip colour lends hues a paler, less intense appearance. Still, detail in both background elements and close-ups are superb, and not a nick or scratch of any sort sullies the antiseptically clean print. 'How to Marry a Millionaire' looks brilliant as well, although it's obvious not quite as much care went into their renovation. Grain is slightly more pronounced and clarity seems a hair under the bar of the other two films. The transfers are still stellar, outclassing many other classic movie offerings, but they fall just short of the standard Fox set with the Marilyn Monroe films described above. In short, if you're a Marilyn Monroe fanatic, these delectable transfers will thrill you beyond belief. They exceeded my expectations and fuel my desire for more Marilyn Monroe Blu-ray discs in the future. I'm no psychic, but I'm sure somewhere, Marilyn Monroe is smiling.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – All four films feature a brand new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, and the results are quite good. Though surround activity is practically non-existent, some nice stereo bleed across the front channels widens the sound field somewhat. Nuances and accents are more apparent and pronounced than ever before, and subtle atmospherics, such as the ocean current in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' add vital and heretofore unheard aural texture to the films. The instrumental music scores, thanks to a wide dynamic scale, possess marvellous presence and tonal depth, while the songs from all the musicals sound bright, clear, and bold. Monroe's honey-toned vocals caress the listener, and you won't miss a word of her breathy dialogue. Conversations are nicely prioritized and bass is well integrated into the whole, adding gentle weight without overpowering the mix. Distortion is never an issue, and any age-related defects, such as hiss, pops, and crackles, have been meticulously erased, leaving clean, crystal clear tracks that are a joy to listen to. Fox has treated the audio of these films with just as much care as the video, which makes for a complete and completely wonderful cinematic experience.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Because there is such a vast amount of Special Features and Extras, I will only be listing the title of each special feature and extras and if you want to know more details and information, then it is best to check out individual web sites via Google detailing what each special feature and extras contains.
SOME LIKE IT HOT:
Audio Commentary features an interview with Tony Curtis, Archived Interview with Jack Lemmon and Audio Commentary by Paul Diamond (son of I.A.L. Diamond) and Screenwriters Lowell Gannz and Baboo Mandel: This is a patchwork track comprised of commentary by I.A.L. Diamond's son, Paul Diamond, along with screenwriting duo Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, who are here simply because they were greatly inspired by the film and occasional spliced interjections from archival interviews with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. It's worth listening to, but I would have liked it if Billy Wilder could've recorded an audio commentary track before he passed away.
Special Feature: The Making of ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT’  [480i] [1.37.1] [25:45] A decent retrospective documentary that features interviews with Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and others.
Special Feature: The Legacy of ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT’  [480i] [1.37.1] [20:22] Another decent retrospective documentary features and examines the lasting impact of the film, and includes interview footage shot at a 1984 screening in San Diego.
Special Feature: “Nostalgic Look Back” Documentary  [480i] [1.37.1] [31:13] Here Leonard Maltin sits down with Tony Curtis to discuss the making of the film ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT.’
Special Feature: Memories from the Sweet Sues Documentary  [480i] [1.37.1] [12:03] Several of the "Society Syncopaters" get together to reminisce on being involved with the film ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT.’
Special Feature: Virtual Hall of Memories  [480i] [1.37.1] [21:04] Essentially, this is a lengthy stills and clips gallery, organized as "paintings" hanging on the walls of a terribly outdated-looking CGI hallway.
Theatrical Trailer  [1080p] [1.66.1] [21:04] This is the original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘SOME LIKE IT HOT.’
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GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES:
Special Feature: Movietone News  [480i] [1.37.1] [00:50] This is a quick vintage newsreel of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell signing their names in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [1.37.1] [2:32] This is the Original Theatrical Trailer for the film ‘GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES.’ This is really shockingly of totally bad quality.
More Marilyn Monroe Theatrical Trailers: Includes ‘How to Marry a Millionaire,’ ‘River of No Return,’ ‘The Seven Year Itch’ and ‘There's No Business Like Show Business.’
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THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH:
Audio Commentary by Author Kevin Lally: This a totally brilliant audio commentary from Billy Wilder’s biographer Kevin Lally, who charts the creation of the film, the casting, and the movie's tit-for-tat run-ins with the ratings board.
Special Feature: Isolate Film Score Track [5.1 DTS-HAD Master Audio]
Special Feature: The Hayes Code: Picture-in-Picture with Sexual Innuendo Meter: This special feature is a pop-up-video mode that includes Hays Code trivia, a meter that shows how spicy the innuendos are on a scale of one to ten, and occasional video clips of interview snippets.
Special Feature: Marilyn Monroe Interactive Timeline: Use the arrow buttons on your remote to highlight a film, and then press enter to learn about its significance in Marilyn Monroe's career. Most of the entries are text-only, but there are a few video clips too.
Special Feature: Monroe & Wilder: An Intersection of Genius  [1808p] [1.78:1] [25:58] This special feature is the only new supplement in this spate of Marilyn Monroe Blu-ray releases and is a fantastic retrospective that examines the casting, the film's Hays Code envelope pushing, Marilyn Monroe's comic timing, the skirt-blowing scene, and more. Includes interviews with a slate of Marilyn Monroe experts, former co-stars, and even Hugh Hefner.
Special Feature: Fox Movie Channel Presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman  [480i] [1.37.1] [17:22] Producer Tom Rothman similarly guides us through the history of the film.
Special Feature: Deleted Scenes  [480i] [1.37.1] [3:32] Includes two scenes, the alluded-to bathtub sequence and an alternate take of the subway skirt-blowing scene.
Special Feature: Hollywood Backstories: ‘THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH’  [480i] [1.37.1] [24:25] This special feature covers much of the same territory as the previous retrospectives, but a nice inclusion nonetheless.
Special Feature: Publicity  [480i] [1.37.1] [24:25] Includes a Fox Movietone News Reel about the film's sneak preview, the USA trailer, and a Spanish theatrical trailer.
Special Feature: Still Galleries: Includes self-playing advertising and behind-the-scenes galleries.
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HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE:
Special Feature: Movietone News  [480i] [1.37.1] [1:19] This newsreel coverage is of the socialites and showbiz-types attending the film's New York premiere of ‘HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE’ in CinemaScope.
Theatrical Trailers  [480i] [1.37.1] This includes the Original Theatrical Trailers for the film ‘HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE’ and also includes the Italian trailer and the German trailer.
More Marilyn Monroe Theatrical Trailers: Includes the trailers for ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,’ ‘River of No Return,’ ‘The Seven Year Itch’ and ‘There's No Business Like Show Business.’
Finally, ‘FOREVER MARILYN’ Four Film Collection is forever alluring, beguiling, warm, sensual, playful, innocent, funny, sensitive, and heart-breaking, and ‘FOREVER MARILYN’ showcases all those facets with a solid, varied collection of Marilyn Monroe’s icon work in spectacular 1080p image. One cannot argue that it's high time Marilyn Monroe was brought up-to-date with these 20th Century Fox Blu-ray release, and has put its money where it really counts, producing video and audio restorations of the highest calibre and completely befitting one of the greatest stars in Hollywood history. If you haven't yet experienced Marilyn Monroe's magnetism, then by all means do so now. And if you're already a seasoned fan, let me tell you, Marilyn Monroe is even more mesmerizing in high-definition, where her often underrated gifts shine more brightly than ever before. The films themselves run the gamut from excellent to mediocre, yet like truly great stars, Marilyn Monroe meets the demands of the fine ones and rises above any substandard material. Blondes come and go, but there is only one Marilyn Monroe and now once and forever, like the title of this essential collection says, Marilyn Monroe can now live forever. One other thing I must reiterate and that is the Blu-ray title ‘GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES' again like I said above, the biggest revelation is of this oldest film, and from the instant Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell emerge from the curtains in their sparkling red sequin gowns in the film's opening shot, the exceptional image quality is instantly and jaw-droppingly apparent, and if you want to really dazzle your friends and relations, then put this particular Blu-ray on, as they will be totally astonished and stunned by the 1080p images they will view, as they will view what is best about the Blu-ray format and you will believe that this particular film was made in the 21st Century and again 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has done an absolutely stunning job in bringing Marilyn Monroe to a new viewing generation, as well as the older generation fans of the iconic Marilyn Monroe. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Aficionado
Le Cinema Paradiso