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« Guacamole Treatment [by Erroneous Anonymous] | Main | Grizzly: spirit may persist after death »

June 01, 2016


I love MM's version of all of the songs you mention but I never tire of hearing her sing "That Old Black Magic" in Bus Stop. She's just slightly off-key. Some of us can't help but sing that way; she's doing it on purpose and that isn't easy and requires a lot of control. Stacey

Thank you, David, for this terrific, thoughtful piece on MM as chanteuse. Here's an interesting little footnote. See if you can find the trailer for There's No Business Like Show Business (a dreadful movie except for MM and a few moments of Ethel Merman). In the film itself, while MM is singing After You Get What You Want to a nightclub filled with dirty old men, the camera turns away from her for a moment to focus on the club's staff enjoying her performance. But in the trailer, what we see in those few second is Monroe herself shaking one of the night club tables as if she's on the verge of an orgasm. Guess the moment was too much for 20th-century Fox but they forgot to take it out of the trailer.

PS. I agree with Stacey about That Old Black Magic--it's funny and heartbreaking, and I love "I"m Through with Love"--a high point of Some Like It Hot.

I love it that Marilyn Monroe and Walt Whitman, two fellow Gems, were born on the same day (almost: Marilyn June 1, Walt May 31): MM an inversion of WW -- the American yin and yang. . . David

"Flicks" is like playing movies without a Net.

great post, great comments, great topic...brilliant as always David...

David, if all your analyses range from "brilliant to more brilliant to most brilliant" (and they do), this one is a close encounter of the third kind. Really really nice.

So agree with this. MM's singing vastly underestimated. The breathy wobbliness breaks your heart, and it also makes you feel she
might suddenly fall into a sob.

So agree with this. MM's singing vastly underestimated. Her breathy wobbly vibrato breaks your heart, also making you feel she might at any moment fall into a sob. Caroline

Aw shucks, as of a moment ago the link to the clip for After you Get What You Want is blocked by Fox on copyright grounds -- and so I never even got to get what I wanted. Good thing MM is perennial in our collective imagination. Thanks, David.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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