Customer Reviews


30 Reviews
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (6)
3 star:
 (5)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Week with Marilyn
I really enjoyed reading Mr. Clark's book while he worked on the set of the "Prince and the Showgirl", with its stars, Sir Lawrence Olivier and the memorable Marilyn Monroe. It was interesting to find the many problems and personal situations that sprang up during its production / filming. What I found of interest was the very private and emotional side of Miss Monroe,...
Published on 20 Nov 2003

versus
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The diaries are good, but forget the rest
If you're reading this you've probably seen and enjoyed the recent film, My Week With Marilyn, as I did, so there's no need to tell you what it's all about. But is it worth investing in the book?
Well, yes and no.
If you're a movie fan who likes to read about how famous films were made, then you'll probably enjoy the first part, The Prince, The Showgirl and Me,...
Published on 16 Jan 2012 by Bookwoman


Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The stars in their courses, 26 Dec 2011
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Paperback)
The book in this edition is in two parts. The first, originally published in 1995 under the title "The Prince, the Showgirl and Me", is a transcript of the diaries Clark kept of the 24 weeks in 1956. It begins with the day on which he tried to get a job on the production crew of `The Prince and the Showgirl', of which Sir Laurence Olivier was director and producer and in which he will also star with Marilyn Monroe (MM). It ends with the savage relief all round when the filming was finally done. In the middle of the diaries there is an entry reading "I haven't written for a whole week" (nine days, actually) and that of course is his "Week with Marilyn" (nine days, actually) which were so heady that Clark only jotted down notes, which he wrote up many years later (passages of dialogue are certainly longer, more crafted and therefore less believable than they were in the diaries) and published in 2000 (two years before his death).

Colin Clark was only 23 during the events he narrates in his diary - but a pretty shrewd judge of men and women, with a gift of humorous description, and at the same time with a young man's susceptibility to being star-struck. He had the enormous self-confidence and savoir-faire that I suppose came from having been to Eton, not to mention being the son of Sir Kenneth Clark who provided the initial connection with Olivier. The determination with which Clark, completely inexperienced in anything to do with film-production, secures the job of 3rd Assistant Director (`the lowest of the low' and known as `gofer' because anyone can tell him to `go for this' or `go for that') is impressive. And he gets responsibility quite soon - finding houses for MM and her staff to stay in, hiring the servants in these houses, organizing police protection for MM, etc.

His writing hits off everything perfectly: the technical aspects of a production - the swarm of people involved in making a film, the rituals and the pressures of it, the stroppy "closed shop" unions; but above all the characters: MM, spoilt, little-girlish, terrified of Olivier, utterly dependent on her Svengali-type drama coach Paula Strasberg who constantly stands between her and Olivier, insecure, frightened, vulnerable, completely "unprofessional" amid professional actors and technicians, muffing her lines, and permanently unpunctual (work was supposed to start at 6.45 a.m. every day, and she lodged some eight miles from the Pinewood Studios) and yet an irresistible star; Olivier with his surface charm, but insensitive, irascible, first condescending and then understandably teeth-gnashing towards his co-star, which is probably the reason why his acting in the film was so stiff; Sybil Thorndike's genuine warmth and kindness; the members of MM's competitively possessive entourage; Arthur Miller, MM's self-satisfied and brand-new (third) husband, already out of love with her on this, their "honeymoon" ("another insensitive male in her life is the last thing she needs"); Roger Smith, MM's bodyguard, the stolid and utterly reliable policeman referred to simply as "Plod", and perhaps the only completely sane person in the book.

Fascinating as all his comments and portrayals are, I found the Clark of the diaries at least as interesting as the people he writes about. He is acutely observant and perceptive; compassionate (not just about MM, but about Olivier, too); picks up all the nuances of the interaction of his characters; is frank about his brief fling with a wardrobe girl who has "not a brain in that pretty little head" and of whom he quickly tires, as well as about a homosexual encounter. And now I am impatient to read his autobiography, "Younger Brother, Younger Son". (P.S. See my Amazon review of this, 5 January 2012)

The accuracy and reliability of the second part of the book has been seriously impugned (see Tim Mobile's Amazon review of 16 November 2011), but it's still a rattling good read. Arthur Miller had flown off to Paris; MM was lonely, and turned to the star-struck young man who could not believe his luck, but (chastely) rose to the occasion. The account of the fifth of those nine days is especially hilarious. Then MM plunges back into her depression; and one must doubt whether he really did deliver those long avuncular passages of therapeutic advice to her.

It's still a very good read (four stars, perhaps), though not as superb as the first part (definitely five stars). The enchanting film based on the two books is very true to them, not only in substance but also in tone. And it helps to have seen a video of "The Prince and the Showgirl" before you read the book: though that was not a very good film, you will then have in your mind the scenes when Clark writes about them being shot.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is golden!, 13 Jun 2006
By 
J. Dellow (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Hardcover)
I've always put myself down for being a slow reader: in school I felt stupid, and a novel would take me a couple of months to read! However when I read this book it made me realise for the first time I was wrong - I just need amazing books to be able to read them! On my train journeys, I read this in less than 2 weeks, that's just about a record for me. This book is wonderful. You feel like you're in it, there watching and getting to know Marilyn yourself. I could never wait to see what happened next and the book is so vividly written that I really feel as though I've been there. Read it!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 28 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have read plenty of Monroe books and this was a good addition to the ones I've read before but from a different slant and as well as a good insight into film production, definitely recommend this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great wee read!, 7 Sep 2011
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Hardcover)
This is a very sweet little book, the author comes across as a lovely gentleman who genuinely cared about Marilyn. I read it as the subject matter sounded intriguing, a little unimportant guy on a movie set gets to know the great MM and spends time along with her away from the set, at her request. It sounds surreal. You get a snapshot of MM's life, the pressures, who the major players were in her life, influencing her and manipulating her. There is a movie version of this book coming out this year starring Michelle Williams as MM and I wanted to read this before seeing the movie. I'd recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in MM.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading, 1 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A fascinating glimpse into Marilyn's life and the egos of the 1950s film industry well and credibly written by Colin Clark.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A work of fiction, 20 Nov 2011
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Paperback)
This is a disappointing and ultimately fantastical account of Monroe, no more or less accurate than Truman Capote's 'A Beautiful Child' (which at least is admittedly a work of fiction), though Clark's version of Monroe is certainly less subtle and often more unkind.

You would be forgiven for taking this as a straight work of social history had you read Clark's two accounts 'The Prince, The Showgirl and Me' and 'My Week With Marilyn' separately and some time apart, because in all honesty that is the only way one can get past the discrepancies in tone, character and language between them. Reading them together at once as this republication of the original diary (Prince...) and memoir (My Week...) urges you to do, only serves to highlight how unreal those 'missing' 9 days were.

In the diary Colin is frequently unkind to and critical of Monroe, he derides her appearance, her acting ability, even her taste. He relates to her from a distance and very rarely (if at all) gives any direct quotations or any real insight into her character or her struggles. He is clearly in Sir Laurence Olivier's camp and what little interaction he has with Monroe leaves him cold.

What a difference to the memoir, where not only does he become Monroe's closest confidante and potential lover, but also her defender and a fount of morale boosting support! He literally goes from questioning whether Monroe is even an actress (and endlessly comparing her to Vivien Leigh) to telling her she is better than Olivier. His assessment of her as fake and essentially unappealing (he demonstrates a consistent preference for brunette waifs) changes to a sudden overwhelming recoginition of her as beautiful, desirable woman and one he finds difficult to resist.

This sudden change in attitude (and character) is only as believable as his description of Monroe herself. A woman who up until now has virtually ignored him now feels the need to share her deepest, darkest secrets and fears with him. Clark portrays Monroe as the stereotypical little girl lost, a fragile waif with none of the strength or sparky attitude other fictional (and less so) accounts of her reveal such as Capote's 'A Beautiful Child' or Miller's 'After the Fall' - the dialogue between them just doesn't ring true.

In fact, what is most jarring is the obvious difference in tone between the diary which clearly has the feeling of someone giving a present day account of working with Marilyn Monroe as just another actress (albeit a star) and the memoir which has an odd sense of hindsight, an understanding of her importance and the huge cultural impact she has had. Where the diary gives the honest present-time observations of a somewhat superficial 23 year old, the memoir gives off the feeling of an older, wiser man saying 'This is what I would have said to Marilyn had I known what she was going through or had only 6 years to live'. In this sense Clark simply falls into rescue fantasy trap of so many writers before him, and while it must be a nice fantasy, it is certainly nothing more than a fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational, 13 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Paperback)
Brilliant book. Superbly written and well documented. Easy to read as written as a diary. Can't wait to see the film.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars great, 8 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Week With Marilyn (Paperback)
MM my daughter is crazy about her her room is a shrine to this lady and the book with others takes pride of place in her room
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars My Week with Marilyn, 12 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
My week with Marilyn. Fabulous book, so well written, I thought I was there. It gave us a wonderful insight into people's lives way beyond our touch.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Diaries of the other Clark brother, 8 Nov 2012
I bought this on the back of seeing the film and wasn't disappointed. The behind the scenes tensions are brought to the fore along with the characters and insecurities of Marilyn and Olivier.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

My Week With Marilyn
My Week With Marilyn by Colin Clark (Paperback - 27 Oct 2011)
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews