Moviola: This Year's Blonde (1980)

The title of this biopic dismissively refers to the disposability of young Hollywood starlets. Such was the attitude of Johnny Hyde, an agent who tosses aside a Swedish contract player for the latest cutie to catch his eye. Yet this blonde would not be so easy to forget.

 

For her part, Marilyn Monroe is equally adept at dispensing with partners. When we first meet her poolside, she is coupled with studio executive Joseph Schenck. Spotting bigger fish across the water in the form of Jack L. Warner, she feigns a sprained ankle to reel him in, but nets Johnny Hyde instead. That true romance would spring from such a cynical start should come as a surprise, were not the material so overly familiar.

 

Herein lies the main problem with This Year’s Blonde. Unlike the search for Scarlett O’Hara and the love-affair between John Gilbert and Greta Garbo, this biopic retells an oft-told tale with little distinction. Though the mentally-ill mother, troubled childhood and plastic surgery are all ticked off, their exposition is so clumsily handled that at times Lloyd Bridges resembles a long-suffering passenger from his other 1980 film, Flying High! Though Constance Forslund appears to grow into her role throughout the film’s running time, her performance as Monroe remains one of the poorer depictions.

 

Similarly, though This Year’s Blonde was the first of the Moviloa trilogy to air, it is the weakest of the three biopics.

cast, Constance Forslund, Marilyn Monroe, john huston, harry cohn
Constance Forslund
Constance Forslund

as Marilyn Monroe

William Frankfather
William Frankfather

as John Huston

Vic Tayback
Vic Tayback

as Harry Cohn

Michael Lerner
Michael Lerner

as Jack L. Warner

1/3
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“There are legends and there are stories. There is the real truth if you want to dig for it. And there are always several authenticated versions of one incident”

Stan Margulies (producer)

 

Hyde left his wife after he met Marilyn, not before as the biopic depicts.

Monroe’s first agent’s name was Harry Lipton, not Dick Silver.

Though Hyde is portrayed by 6ft tall Lloyd Bridges he was, at 5’3, actually two inches shorter than Monroe.

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Biopic's scene recreation from The Asphalt Jungle is included in the clip below (00:40).

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