on 18 August 2012
FOREVER MARILYN [1953 - 1959]  [4 Film Collection] [Blu-ray] Marilyn Monroe forever stands alone as Hollywood's quintessential icon of sex appeal and timeless allure. Her breathy voice, voluptuous figure and wide-ranging talents catapulted her to superstardom, where she remains as legendary today as ever. Immortalised here in this must-own collection are four of her best and most popular films, presented on these 4 stunning Blu-ray discs and the perfect format to showcase Marilyn Monroe's flawless beauty and captivating performances as they are meant to be seen.
Some Like It Hot  After witnessing a Mafia murder, slick saxophone player Joe [Tony Curtis] and his long-suffering buddy, Jerry [Jack Lemmon], improvise a quick plan to escape from Chicago with their lives. Disguising themselves as women, they join an all-female jazz band and hop a train bound for sunny Florida. While Joe pretends to be a millionaire to win the band's sexy singer, Sugar [Marilyn Monroe], Jerry finds himself pursued by a real millionaire [Joe E. Brown] as things heat up and the mobsters close in.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  Lorelei Lee [Marilyn Monroe] is a beautiful showgirl engaged to be married to the wealthy Gus Esmond [Tommy Noonan], much to the disapproval of Gus's rich father, Esmond Sr., who thinks that Lorelei is just after his money. When Lorelei goes on a cruise accompanied only by her best friend, Dorothy Shaw [Jane Russell], Esmond Sr. hires Ernie Malone [Elliott Reid], a private detective, to follow her and report any questionable behaviour that would disqualify her from the marriage.
The Seven Year Itch  In the midst of a summer heat wave, New Yorker Richard Sherman [Tom Ewell] ships his wife, Helen [Evelyn Keyes], and their son off to Maine for vacation. Left alone to work back in Manhattan, Richard encounters a gorgeous blonde model [Marilyn Monroe] who has moved into the apartment upstairs, and becomes immediately infatuated. While pondering infidelity, Richard Sherman dreams of his beautiful new neighbour, but will his fantasies about her become a reality?
How to Marry a Millionaire  Schatze Page [Lauren Bacall], and Betty Grable [Loco Dempsey] and Pola Debevoise [Marilyn Monroe] are three women on a mission: They all want to marry a millionaire. To accomplish this task, they move into a fancy New York City apartment and begin courting the city's elite. They have no problem meeting rich men, but unfortunately most of them turn out to be creeps or cons. Eventually they must decide: Is a life of luxury more important to them than finding true love?
FILM FACT: ‘Some Like It Hot' was awarded an Academy Award® for Best Costume Design in Black-and-White for Orry George Kelly. Nominated: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Jack Lemmon. Nominated: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in Black-and-White for Ted Haworth and Edward G. Boyle. Nominated: Best Cinematography in Black-and-White. Nominated: Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
FILM FACT: As a result of ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' success, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell were given the chance to put their hand and foot prints in cement outside the Grauman's Chinese Theatre; a spectacle that got a lot of publicity for both actresses.
FILM FACT: Because of the success of `The Seven Year Itch' Tom Ewell won a Golden Globe® Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. Billy Wilder was nominated for a Directors Guild of America Award.
FILM FACT: `How to Marry a Millionaire' had the following 1954 Academy Awards®: Best Costume Design in Color for Charles LeMaire and William Travilla. 1954 Writers Guild of America: Best Written American Comedy and Nunnally Johnson. 1955 BAFTA® Awards: Best Film (USA).
Cast: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, George E. Stone, Edward G. Robinson Jr., Jane Russell, Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Taylor Holmes, Norma Varden, George Winslow, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes, Oscar Homolka, Donald MacBride, Victor Moore, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall, Anne Buydens, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, Alex D'Arcy, Fred Clark and William Powell
Directors: Billy Wilder, Howard Hawks and Jean Negulesco
Producers: Billy Wilder, Sol C. Siegel, Charles K. Feldman and Nunnally Johnson
Screenplay: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond, Charles Lederer, George Axelrod and Nunnally Johnson
Composers: Adolph Deutsch, Eliot Daniel, Hoagy Carmichael, Jule Styne, Lionel Newman, Alfreo Newman, Milton R. Krasner and Cyril J. Mockridge
Cinematography: Charles Lang, Robert Taylor and Joseph MacDonald
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor and Black-and-White]
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1; 1.37:1 and 2.55:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, French: Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono, Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono, Czech: Dolby Digital Mono, Hungarian: Dolby Digital Mono, Polish: Dolby Digital Mono, Thai: 2.0 Dolby Digital, French: 5.1 DTS-HD, Italian: 5.1 DTS-HD, German: 5.1 DTS-HD, Russian: 5.1 DTS-HD and Catalan: 5.1 DTS-HD
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Cantonese, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Swedish and Turkish
Running Time: 116 minutes, 87 minutes, 100 minutes and 91 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 4
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: It seem to take forever, but at long last 'FOREVER MARILYN,' the first collection of 4 Blu-ray films celebrating the inimitable, luminous talent of the incomparable Marilyn Monroe, has been released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Marilyn Monroe fans have waited a long time to enjoy the iconic blonde's delectable body of work especially In 1080p high definition, and this four-disc set, which features four films new to Blu-ray, includes some classic performances, all with beautifully restored video and audio.
One of the most legendary stars in the annals of Hollywood, the voluptuous Marilyn Monroe dazzled audiences with her tasteful mix of sex appeal, innocence, and vulnerability, and though many don't appreciate her unique talent, there's no disputing her magnetism. Few film stars connect with the camera more intimately than Marilyn Monroe, who projects palpable electricity without seeming artificial. Sadly, most of her films are only memorable because she appeared in them, but with a kittenish smile, flip of the head, playful giggle, or wide-eyed glance she raises their stature immeasurably, making us want to return to them again and again, if only to revel in her hypnotic presence. Sex symbols come and go, with most forgotten before they make their mark, but Marilyn endures because sex is only a by-product of her image. Warmth, accessibility, humour, and the priceless ability not to take one’s self too seriously all contribute to a full-bodied and yes, the adjective is intentional, persona that transcends our basest instincts.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has been seen fit to lavish more care and attention on Marilyn Monroe's Blu-ray debut, because Marilyn Monroe is still as popular as ever. But most important I hope 20th Century Fox will continue to release a steady stream of Marilyn Monroe films in high-definition like we have with this 4 Film Collection? But from a packaging standpoint, this 4 Film Collection Box Set looks really good and especially in beautifully printed solid housed cardboard box set that contains the Four Blu-ray discs in their individual Blu-ray cases. Here we have one of the most beloved and influential personalities in cinema history, and 20th Century Fox, as the studio did while she was a contract player, treated her like a commodity instead of one of its most prized assets.
At this moment in time, this particular Box Set has only 4 films. Just like the first inferior NTSC DVD collection of Marilyn Monroe films, that I was so glad to get rid of, and especially this grouping of 4 Classic Hollywood Film includes `Some Like It Hot' 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' 'How to Marry a Millionaire' and 'The Seven Year Itch' is without doubt a stunning presentation.
The best Blu-ray debut of this bunch in my opinion would have to be 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.' Howard Hawks' sparkling adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, featuring Monroe as quintessential dumb blonde and philosophical gold-digger Lorelei Lee. It's the role that both made Marilyn a megastar and would sadly typecast her in future endeavours, but it proves her worth as a leading lady and musical dynamo. From the sexy opening number "Two Little Girls from Little Rock" to the dazzlingly elegant and impeccably staged "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," this tuneful romantic romp is a tailor-made showcase for Marilyn Monroe's comic and musical abilities. Whether trading wisecracks with co-star Jane Russell, cooing over bumbling billionaire Tommy Noonan, or asking awkward assistance from moppet George Winslow, Marilyn Monroe is charming, funny, and disarmingly alluring.
'The Seven Year Itch' also spotlights Marilyn Monroe's talents as a light comedienne, but this adaptation of George Axelrod's examination of the aging male libido never quite realises its potential. Most notable for the iconic shot of Monroe's white dress billowing in the breeze as the star stands over a subway grating, this Billy Wilder directed comedy was regarded as risqué in 1955, but seems rather tame today. Tom Ewell plays a middle-aged Manhattan husband who fantasizes about the nubile sexpot upstairs while his wife and son are away on summer vacation. Marilyn Monroe plays the object of his vivid daydreams who winds up teaching him a thing or two about true love. Once again Marilyn Monroe's fresh-faced vivacity and sincerity save the day and temper Tom Ewell's broad portrayal.
'How to Marry a Millionaire,' which was the second film, after 'The Robe,' to be shot in the brand new CinemaScope process, is a breezy, painless primer on snagging a wealthy husband, as a trio of down-to-earth beauties such as Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, and Marilyn Monroe masquerade as members of the sophisticated elite to meet eligible men. Betty Grable, the long-reigning queen of Fox, passed the torch to Monroe following this picture, along with her standing as the studio's top curvaceous blonde. In a clever twist on her dumb blonde image, Marilyn Monroe plays a blind-as-a-bat bombshell bookworm who fears spectacles will ruin her appeal to the opposite sex. This cute comedy also falls short of expectations, but the bright personalities of its stars manage to salvage it.
Of course, the rarefied realm is where Marilyn Monroe resides, and her status as a Hollywood icon of beauty, sex, stardom, turbulence, and tragedy will never waver. These films exhibit the many facets of her fascinating personality and showcase her often underrated talents in a variety of settings, genres, and guises. But like the mediocre film in which she so often starred in, Marilyn Monroe rises above any treatment that the studios did to the wonderful woman, and all we see is her inimitable brilliance, unadorned and unfiltered. And in the end, that's all we really want anyway and this starlet will shine forever.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The packaging and film selection of 'FOREVER MARILYN' is without doubt quite stunning and the video transfers do not let us down. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has done a stunning superior job honouring Marilyn Monroe with excellent restorations across the board that make these 50+ year-old films look like they were produced yesterday. I know all these movies intimately, and I can say without question they have never looked better on home video. The biggest revelation is of the oldest film, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' and from the instant Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell emerge from the curtains in their sparkling red sequin gowns in the film's opening shot, the exceptional video quality is instantly and jaw-droppingly apparent. From bold primaries to delicate pastels, colours are spectacularly rich and vibrant, yet never seem artificially pushed. Accents, such as red fingernails and lipstick, as well as Monroe's blonde hair and the shock of yellow on Russell's poolside attire, burst forth, while deep blacks and solid whites enhance the impact of various costumes. Flesh tones look surprisingly natural for a Technicolor film, with Monroe's creamy complexion and Jane Russell's bronze skin appearing fresh and well-modulated. Brilliant contrast and clarity, sensational razor sharp close-ups, and pleasingly crisp background elements combine with just the faintest touch of grain to create an almost perfect picture. 'Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend' is a videophile's dream come true. No specks, marks, or age-related imperfections of any kind mar the image, and no digital enhancements or anomalies disrupt the integrity of this fantastic rendering. 'The Seven Year Itch' is also amazingly crisp and vibrant, though the use of single-strip colour lends hues a paler, less intense appearance. Still, detail in both background elements and close-ups are superb, and not a nick or scratch of any sort sullies the antiseptically clean print. 'How to Marry a Millionaire' looks brilliant as well, although it's obvious not quite as much care went into their renovation. Grain is slightly more pronounced and clarity seems a hair under the bar of the other two films. The transfers are still stellar, outclassing many other classic movie offerings, but they fall just short of the standard Fox set with the Marilyn Monroe films described above. In short, if you're a Marilyn fanatic, these delectable transfers will thrill you beyond belief. They exceeded my expectations and fuel my desire for more Marilyn Monroe Blu-rays in the future. I'm no psychic, but I'm sure somewhere, Marilyn Monroe is smiling.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – All four films feature a brand new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, and the results are quite good. Though surround activity is practically non-existent, some nice stereo bleed across the front channels widens the sound field somewhat. Nuances and accents are more apparent and pronounced than ever before, and subtle atmospherics, such as the ocean current in 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' add vital and heretofore unheard aural texture to the films. The instrumental music scores, thanks to a wide dynamic scale, possess marvellous presence and tonal depth, while the songs from all the musicals sound bright, clear, and bold. Monroe's honey-toned vocals caress the listener, and you won't miss a word of her breathy dialogue. Conversations are nicely prioritized and bass is well integrated into the whole, adding gentle weight without overpowering the mix. Distortion is never an issue, and any age-related defects, such as hiss, pops, and crackles, have been meticulously erased, leaving clean, crystal clear tracks that are a joy to listen to. Fox has treated the audio of these films with just as much care as the video, which makes for a complete and completely wonderful cinematic experience.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras: Because there is such a vast amount of Special Features and Extras, I will only be listing the title of each extra and if you want to know more details and information, then it is best to check out individual web sites detailing what each extra contains.
Some Like It Hot Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary features an interview with Tony Curtis, Archived Interview with Jack Lemmon and Commentary by Paul Diamond (son of I.A.L. Diamond) and Screenwriters Lowell Gannz & Baboo Mandel
The Making of `Some Like It Hot'
The Legacy of `Some Like It Hot'
Nostalgic Look Back Documentary
Memories from the Sweet Sues Documentary
Virtual Hall of Memories
Original Theatrical Trailer
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Extras:
Movietone News: Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell signing their names in cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Theatrical Trailer [This is really shockingly of totally bad quality]
More Marilyn Monroe Theatrical Trailers
The Seven Year Itch Extras:
Audio Commentary: Commentary by Author Kevin Lally [Billy Wilder Biographer]
Isolate Score Track [5.1 DTS-HAD Master Audio]
The Hayes Code: Picture-in-Picture with Sexual Innuendo Meter
Marilyn Monroe Interactive Timeline
Monroe & Wilder: An Intersection of Genius
Fox Movie Channel Presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman
Hollywood Backstories: The Seven Year Itch
How to Marry A Millionaire Extras:
Movietone News: How to Marry A Millionaire CinemaScope Premiere
More Marilyn Monroe Theatrical Trailers
Finally, Marilyn Monroe is forever alluring, beguiling, warm, sensual, playful, innocent, funny, sensitive, and heart-breaking, and 'Forever Marilyn' showcases all those facets with a solid, varied, seven-disc collection of the icon's work in spectacular 1080p image. One can't argue that it's high time Marilyn Monroe was feted on Blu-ray, and Fox has put its money where it really counts, producing video and audio restorations of the highest calibre and completely befitting one of the greatest stars in Hollywood history. If you haven't yet experienced Marilyn Monroe's magnetism, then by all means do so now. And if you're already a seasoned fan, let me tell you, Marilyn Monroe is even more mesmerizing in high-definition, where her often underrated gifts shine more brightly than ever before. The films themselves run the gamut from excellent to mediocre, yet like truly great stars, Marilyn Monroe meets the demands of the fine ones and rises above any substandard material. Blondes come and go, but there's only one Marilyn Monroe and now once and forever, like the title of this essential collection says, Marilyn Monroe can now live forever. One other thing I must reiterate and that is the Blu-ray title `Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' again like I said above, the biggest revelation is of this oldest film, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' and from the instant Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell emerge from the curtains in their sparkling red sequin gowns in the film's opening shot, the exceptional video quality is instantly and jaw-droppingly apparent, well if you want to really dazzle your friends and relations, then put this particular Blu-ray on, as they will be totally astonished and stunned by the images they will view, as they will view what is best about the Blu-ray format and you will believe that this particular film was made in the 21st Century and again 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has done an absolutely stunning job in bringing Marilyn Monroe to a new viewing generation, as well as the older generation fans of Marilyn Monroe. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso