Was "Some Like It Hot" bad for Marilyn's carrer? If so, why?? (I think u said something about that before, but I can't remember when, and I'm very interested in this story...)
I think the film was bad for her because its huge box office success made it evidently clear that the audience only wanted to see Marilyn Monroe in one role: that of the ditzy, sexy blonde.
In 1955, she tried to escape from Hollywood. She joined the Actors Studio in NY, set up Marilyn Monroe Productions with friend and photographer Milton Greene, and began a battle of wills with 20th Century Fox, her employer. She didn’t want to be treated as some kind of studio product anymore, she wanted to be a proper actress. And she demanded the freedom to choose her own roles. She had a real keen eye actually: many of the films she lobbied to do became successful later, like GUYS AND DOLLS. Time and again she found good “properties”, but whenever she took them to the studio bosses, they denied her and offered her lesser fare instead.
So in 1955 she attempted to break free—a daring, sudden move that took everyone by surprise, most of all 20th Century Fox. After a sabbatical, she did BUS STOP and THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, working hard to give the best performances she possibly could. (Many critics believed she would win an Academy Award for BUS STOP, but Hollywood hadn’t forgotten her one-woman rebellion, and she wasn’t even nominated.) Both films did alright at the box office, but they weren’t really films that befitted a star of her calibre. Some three years after her escape, she started to realize she needed a hit, so when SOME LIKE IT HOT came along, she grabbed her chance. But it was a step backwards, in my opinion, because the film didn’t require her to act, it just required her to play Marilyn Monroe again.
I also think, and I hate to say it, that she’s pretty bad in the film. She’s struggling. She looks weary and lost, an odd sight in such a frivolous, bawdy movie. When you look at her previous film, THE PRINCE AND THE SHOWGIRL, it’s as if ten years have passed. She acts really well in THE MISFITS, the film that came after SOME LIKE IT HOT, but being a serious drama, that one of course didn’t do that well.
By the time she did SOMETHING’S GOT TO GIVE, her last, unfinished film, another lightweight comedy, she had more or less given up her dream of becoming a dramatic actress. At the same time, she couldn’t muster up the energy to do comedy roles anymore, and throughout production she was ill, physically ill, feverish, which I’m sure was psychosomatic. Worse, the director and producer wouldn’t listen to her suggestions and were generally inconsiderate towards her, which made her feel like a studio product all over again. She basically was at the exact same point as when she escaped Hollywood, except older and sadder, and less hopeful.
Production of SGTG quickly fell behind schedule, she was fired, re-hired, became ill again, things became messy, and then she died. It seems to me part of her was subconsciously sabotaging the production, and her own career. I’m convinced she would have quit acting eventually.
So to put it dramatically: I think she died as an actress a few years before she died as a person, and SOME LIKE IT HOT was when it happened.