I am sipping coffee and watching Marilyn Monroe in “River of No Return.” I’ve been up about an hour. I watched a documentary about Marilyn around 4:30 a.m. when I was wide awake. It’s a documentary I have seen before, and I empathized more upon watching it again. At one point in her career she really wanted to be a credible actress, so she enrolled in The Actor’s Studio. This is after she had already been in films, so I think it shows that she wanted to be acknowledged for her talent, not her appearance. I am keeping that in mind while I watch this film, which was directed by one of my favorite directors, Otto Preminger, and also stars Robert Mitchum, who’s pretty damn cool. I am noticing she is acting. She is not overdoing the sexy voice, she isn’t playing the not-too-sharp-blonde, because she is acting. And I don’t know about her other films, like “How to Marry a Millionaire,” or “Seven Year Itch,” because other than seeing them once, I haven’t revisited them to see the level of her performance. But, in this, she is acting. And she is doing it well. She is beautiful. Not because she is Marilyn, but because she is doing what she loves and doing it well in this film, and she isn’t acting out the sex object. I think she would have aged beautifully, and it breaks my heart that we can’t see that.
She is like the archetype of the Western Culture Media Messiah. Now is the perfect time for the Lauryn Hill quote: “just as Christ was a superstar, they hail you, they nail you, no matter who you are.” Marilyn was too smart, and I think that had a lot to do with her untimely death. But numerous less charismatic versions have populated the headlines…Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, and certainly not lesser but equally chewn up and spit out by the machine, Joan Crawford. I’m not thinking of all the names I would like, but I know you are coming up with a few as you read this.
The scene where Marilyn fights with Robert Mitchum is total bullshit, however, as she struggles against him and is suddenly tamed by his kiss. If that were me, I’d feign interest and then bite him. WTF? Like that really happens. If a situation like that were to take place, I wouldn’t waste time with little bitch slaps. Which brings me to a simple fact that I feel is necessary to pass onto other women if they don’t already know of it. If you are a woman and you are being attacked, don’t yell “HELP” or “RAPE,” as those have been proven unfortunately to not be as effective as yelling “FIRE.” So, if you are in peril, yell “FIRE” like your life depends on it.
Wow. Okay, Marilyn does a fine job, but this movie casts Native Americans in that really ridiculous and dehumanizing way. Like a bunch of savages, the Native Americans are just “bad,” and the stylized symphonic drums of the “red man” are like one of Marilyn’s formulaic slaps to Robert Mitchum’s torso-insulting at best. Way to go, Hollywood. C’mon, Otto, I thought you were better than that. Well, its time to take a nap. I could go into a soliloquy on the guilt and anxiety I experience from napping, or even feeling tired. I am not going to indulge that, however, because I am too groggy, and feel avoidant. Sweet dreams.