×

Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days

A thorough and unsympathetic look at Marilyn Monroe's last days on a movie set, "Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days" winningly opens and closes the book on the star's final chapter without the usual theatrics associated with the loss of a young talent.

With:
Narrator: James Coburn. Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Cyd Charisse, Wally Cox, Phil Silvers, Tom Tyron, Alexandra Heilweil, Robert Christopher Morley, John McGiver, Grady Sutton, Eloise Hardt.

A thorough and unsympathetic look at Marilyn Monroe’s last days on a movie set, “Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days” winningly opens and closes the book on the star’s final chapter without the usual theatrics associated with the loss of a young talent. Anecdotes from the cast and crew that worked on “Something’s Got to Give,” intended to be her big return to 20th Century Fox in 1962, are almost universally filtered through a sense of their professional loss, how Monroe’s cocktails of sleeping pills ‘n’ champagne and broken affairs constantly put the production in peril. History has been overly kind to Monroe, and “The Final Days” displays her physical beauty as much as it gets into the heads of those around her in Hollywood.

Biggest treat is the 37-minute version of “Something,” cobbled-together from 500 minutes of film. (Pic was a remake of the 1940 romantic comedy “My Favorite Wife” that starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne.) Dean Martin stars as the father of two who gets a judge to declare his wife (Monroe) legally dead after she has been missing for five years, lost at sea in a yachting accident.

That action granted, he marries Cyd Charisse — and Monroe walks back into their life after being rescued from a deserted island by a submarine crew. Scene involving Charisse and Steve Allen, as her psychiatrist, discussing sex are the funniest; most famous are Monroe’s oft-seen skinny-dipping segment, now extended to reveal more dorsal nudity than in previous airings.

“The Final Days” traces the evolution of “Something’s Got to Give,” from Fox brass getting the idea for the remake up through its days over budget and over schedule. Intriguingly, “Something” was being shot simultaneously with “Cleopatra,” and collectively the two were nearly bankrupting the studio (though eyes were only occasionally cast toward “Something’s” troubles).

There is a bounty of rare footage and luminous stories about Monroe, who would have turned 75 years old today. It’s not a damning portrait, but one associate after another chips away at her iconic stature with talk of her flaws, most commonly her tardiness. It’s hard to tell if she was loved or tolerated, and theories concerning her ways with powerful men exposes her mental and emotional constitution in a way that hasn’t been discussed that much before.

Popular on Variety

Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days

AMC, Fri., June 1; 8 p.m.

Production: Filmed in various locations by Prometheus Entertainment in association with Van Ness Films, Foxstar Prods., Fox Television Studios and American Movie Classics. Executive producers, Kevin Burns, David Sehring; supervising producer, Michael Stevens, producer and director, Patti Ivins; writer, Monica Bider; editor, Tori Rodman. 2 HOURS.
Something's Got to Give: The Restoration
Produced by Henry Weinstein; director, George Cukor; writers, Nunally Johnson, Walter Bernstein, based on a screenplay by Bella and Sam Spewack.

Crew: Something's Got to Give: The Restoration
Director of photography, Franz Planer; editor, Tori Rodman; music, Johnny Mercer.

Cast: Narrator: James Coburn. Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Cyd Charisse, Wally Cox, Phil Silvers, Tom Tyron, Alexandra Heilweil, Robert Christopher Morley, John McGiver, Grady Sutton, Eloise Hardt.

More TV

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content