Plot: What’s it about?
I think most fans of Marilyn Monroe have heard stories and rumors about her final picture, but there wasn’t much to go on, until now. In this documentary called Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days, American Movie Classics and Fox have created an in depth look at Marilyn’s final project, as well as her status at the time. The film was called Something’s Got To Give and featured Marilyn, Dean Martin, Cyd Charisse, and others and was to be directed by George Cukor, making it a star studded project, to say the least. But Marilyn was unable to perform up to her usual standards and she was fired, to be later rehired and soon after, she was dead. This documentary details that doomed production, as well as Marilyn’s final days via interviews, never before seen footage, and even a reconstructed edition of Something’s Got To Give. As narrated by James Coburn, this feature length documentary is a well made effort that tells one of the most tragic stories in show business, the final days of Marilyn Monroe.
I want to mention at the start here, this disc is not being sold alone as of this review, but only as part of The Diamond Collection box. As such, you’ll need to pick up that set to own this disc, but I think a review is still needed, for those who are interested. This documentary is a must see release for fans of Marilyn, as it seems to focus on the truth, rather than the usual studio promotional hype or what not. It can be hard to see her in such bad form, but this is a piece that needs to be seen, as it tells part of Marilyn’s story, though a darker section to be sure. The focus is on her final film, Something’s Got To Give and of course, it was never completed and proved to be the last project she was involved with. I was worried how comprehensive this piece could be, but it paints a broad picture and reveals a lot, much more than expected. The reconstruction of the existing film is a wonder to see, while the interviews and assorted other footage is also packed with information on Marilyn’s final motion picture. As I said before, this disc is sold only as part of The Diamond Collection box, but it is a real bonus item and fans of Marilyn will not want to allow this one to escape a place in their collections.
Video: How does it look?
Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days is presented in a full frame transfer, which preserves the feature’s intended aspect ratio. This looks very good, but since some of the materials were in less than reference condition, some places look better than others. The new interviews look excellent however, it’s the dated film clips and dailies that look rough. But that’s to be expected to an extent and in the end, I think the materials look as good as possible. This was created to be shown on television also, which explains the full frame aspect ratio, in case you’d wondered.
Audio: How does it sound?
This sounds good also, the included stereo track is more than sufficient. The interviews have a rich tone, with no lapses in clarity or volume to report. The film clips come across well also, no real complaints to lodge in this case. James Coburn’s narration is smooth and always prominent, while the musical score is light and effective at all times. This is not an audio intensive feature however, so don’t expect much more than the basics, which is all that’s needed. This disc also includes English subtitles, in case you’ll need those.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a brief MovieTone newsreel, which focuses on Cinemascope and makes a nice inclusion here.