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The best of Marilyn Monroe's films from Some Like It Hot to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

 (Let's Make Love)
(Let's Make Love)

Good news for the avid Marilyn Monroe fans, the iconic star’s final film script, Something's Got To Give, will be put up for sale this month as part of Julien’s Auctions in Beverley Hills, California. The sale will feature other personal items including movie costumes, makeup used by Monroe and items from her personal wardrobe, along with a racy Playboy magazine poster from Hugh Hefner's collection featuring the late legend on the cover.

Also on offer and significantly more macabre is a burial space in the crypt near Monroe’s resting place at Westwood Village Memorial Park, giving the chance for the truly ardent fan to carry their staunch devotion into the next life.

Monroe, once described as a "platinum sex-explosion” by her friend, the author Truman Capote, lived a tumultuous life that was cut tragically short at the age of 36 and her story has fascinated the public ever since. The most recent tribute, Andrew Dominik’s 2022 film Blonde, which starred Ana de Armas, was met with fierce criticism, with many accusing Dominik of debasing Monroe.

One British newspaper called it “dull trauma porn with no idea what it’s trying to say”, while the Standard said De Armas, “captures Monroe’s sexiness and vulnerability, yet she is given frustratingly little opportunity to evoke the woman’s intelligence and humour.”

At the time Dominik said: “America was where it was worst. They hated the movie. They were angry about the film. They were outraged by the film, but a lot of people saw it, so, I was kind of surprised by it.

“Criticism only hurts if you agree with it,” he added. “And I didn’t really agree with any of it. I think the film is great.”

Monroe made 29 films over the course of her 14-year career, one of which she received a Golden Globe for.

Here we select some of our favourite Monroe moments in film.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) - Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Arguably Monroe’s most famous role, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a musical comedy about a showgirl (Monroe) who is engaged to a wealthy gentleman. His father doesn’t approve of the match and so when the showgirl and her friend Dorothy go on a cruise, he hires a private detective to track their antics. In this stylish sequence, Monroe embodies everything she became famous for: she’s glamorous, aloof and oozes charisma and sex appeal. Madonna remade the scene in her 1984 music video for Material Girl.

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) - Modelling scene

Badabing, badaboom. Monroe is so much more than her figure, but that doesn’t make the moments when she flaunts it any the less iconic. In this romantic comedy, Monroe and her two friends are on a mission to bag a millionaire. They move to New York, hobnob with the city’s social elite, get in some tangles, and ponder about love. Pure fun.

Some Like It Hot (1959) - Sugar Kane

Saxophone player Joe and his friend witness a Mafia murder in Chicago and so decide to make a swift exit from the city. They disguise themselves as women and join an all-female jazz band to go under the radar, which is when they meet Monroe’s character Sugar. If this sounds bonkers enough, just wait: Joe starts to fall for Sugar, and so dresses up as a millionaire too, while his friend starts being pursued by an actual millionaire, who thinks he’s a woman. Monroe is fabulous as this incredibly smart airhead.

The Seven Year Itch (1955) - A delicious breeze

This is one of the most famous scenes in film of all time, if not the most famous. It’s also become Monroe’s most iconic outfit. So why did it make such an impact? Partly it was Monroe’s character’s response in the film. When her skirt blows up, she’s far from embarrassed, saying: “Isn’t it delicious?” Then, it was everything else: the scene took 14 takes in New York and then was reshot in California; Monroe wore two pairs of pants to make sure everything was secured; the dress was sold in 2011 for $4.6 million. Apparently, her husband Joe DiMaggio was less than impressed by the exhibitionist moment, and the rest of the film was essentially a Fifties man’s private fantasy: it’s New York in a heatwave and his wife and son have been sent off to Maine. He meets a gorgeous blonde model who has moved in upstairs...

The Prince and the Showgirl (1957) - Waltzing with Laurence Olivier

There are few better ways to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching Monroe and Laurence Olivier prance around as an American performer and a royal in England in 1911. The film itself is also fun: there’s a romance, a potential coup, and Monroe, naturally, finds herself in the middle of everything.

Although everything was fabulous on screen, production was reportedly a nightmare. Monroe didn’t get on with the rest of the cast and English actress Jean Kent even went so far as to say that Monroe, “never arrived on time, never said a line the same way twice, seemed completely unable to hit her marks on the set and couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything at all without consulting her acting coach, Paula Strasberg.” Kent even claimed that costar Richard Wattis turned to drink. Is it true?

Apparently even Olivier and Monroe did not enjoy an easy relationship. In fact, he allegedly asked her to “try and be sexy”, and referred to her as a “bitch”. Oh dear.