The Making of 'Mary Poppins
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“You cannot capture a man’s entire life in two hours. All you can hope is to leave the impression of one”.
Marilyn and Me (1991)
Susan Griffiths has made a career out of impersonating Marilyn Monroe, from personal appearances, commercials, film and television work. Though her best known work remains her appearance at Jack Rabbit Slims in Pulp Fiction, her most substantial role was in this biopic, based on the ‘memoirs’ of another person who has made a career out of Marilyn Monroe, but in a much less reputable fashion.
Upon hearing of Monroe’s death, former husband Robert Slatzer turns up to claim her body. Robert WHO, I hear you ask. Unbeknownst to all and sundry (including, I dare say, Monroe herself), Marilyn met Robert on July 11th 1946 and was so enamoured by him that they immediately became lovers. Over the next several years Marilyn would turn to Bobby whenever she needed help. When Marilyn is kicked out of home, Bobby lets her move in with him. When Marilyn’s career is going nowhere, Bobby takes on odd jobs to pay the bills. When Marilyn is pressured by the studio to marry Joe DiMaggio, Bobby reluctantly agrees to marry her instead. That Bobby sure is a nice guy!
Though there is no documentation to prove that any of this actually occurred, we are repeatedly assured by the film-noir narration that all of this is true. Yet despite its sleazy foundations, this biopic never quite stoops to the level of Goodbye Norma Jean. Lifting it above the mire is a top-notch impersonation by Miss Griffiths, though even this eventually grows tiresome.
as Marilyn Monroe
as Robert Slatzer
as Henry Hathaway
as Darryl F. Zanuck
While filming scenes at Niagara Falls, [Monroe] was asked by a twenty-five-year-old visitor from Ohio named Robert Slatzer to pose with him for snapshots. For such impromptu photos and importuned autographs, no public figure was ever more generous and cooperative with admirers and strangers than Marilyn, nor was any more exploited before or since her death…In 1972, with Marilyn conveniently unable to contradict him, Slatzer approached journalist Will Fowler with a short, incomplete article in which Slatzer speculated that Marilyn Monroe’s death was part of a political conspiracy... "Too bad you weren't married to Monroe,” Fowler said, unimpressed with Slatzer’s proposal. “That would really make a great book." Soon after, Slatzer contacted Fowler again, saying he had forgot to mention that he had indeed been married to Marilyn. “Slatzer made a career of being a pretender,” according to Fowler, “selling gullible talk show producers who don’t do their research very well with the deception that he was married to Marilyn. He was never married to her. He met the star only once, in Niagara Falls… He never met Marilyn before or since.”... Among the most persistent but injudicious of his assertions is his absurd claim that he spent the weekend of October 3 to 6, 1952, with Marilyn Monroe in Tijuana, Mexico, where they were married on October 4… Quite apart from the fact that Marilyn was in Los Angeles that entire weekend, Slatzer could never produce a written record of the union or its dissolution.
Marilyn Monroe: The Biography, Donald Spoto
Biopic's scene recreations from Ladies of the Chorus (00:06) and Niagara (01:35) are included in the clip below.