Marilyn Monroe And The Wild Life
Wrapped in blue jeans instead of marabou, Marilyn Monroe was camping in Jasper National Park with the rest of those who were working on River Of The Sun. No matter how Marilyn is costumed, she doesn’t look as though she belonged in the north woods. As a matter of fact, although she’d surely look more natural in southern California, she doesn’t seem to notice where she is, just now.
For Marilyn Monroe is the most married girl you’ve ever seen!
For months, everybody has been reading about Marilyn’s romance with Joe DiMaggio. Would she marry him? Wouldn’t she?
Here’s the answer to that. This is a girl in a dream. True, she’s wrapped. up in her career. So wrapped up that when a visitor arrived on the location scene, he found her pacing back and forth between takes muttering lines. She looked up, caught his eye, said, “When did you get back?” and kept right on pacing and rehearsing.
Later she sat down with him to talk it over. “There may be a surprise. for you on the train tonight,” he told her, repeating the rumor he had heard that Joe DiMaggio planned to check in a day early.
The dreamy look left her eyes.
“Not honest,” he covered himself. “It’s just what I heard.”
“Maybe you heard something I didn’t,” she said, anxiously.
“No, I don’t think so. After all, you talk to him every day, don’t you?”
“Every day,” she agreed, “when he can get a call through.” Then she added as an afterthought, “If for no other reason, we’ll probably get married to cut down on the long distance telephone expense.”
Marilyn grinned as though she had a secret all her own. That secret may be that she and Joe are already married. Nobody could swear to that, although Louella Parsons may confirm it one day in an exclusive scoop. It is safe to say, though, that no girl’s heart ever belonged as thoroughly to any man as Marilyn’s does to Joe. If they have some complications, they have already been settled, spiritually and mentally.
“What’s to be so nervous about?” he asked her as they discussed Joe’s arrival. “Everybody has been telling me how relaxed you are.”
“I’d be relaxed,” she flashed, “if Joe were here.”
An assistant director on the set of River Of No Return called her, and she walked toward the camera with that deliberate, slouchy gait that has became so famous. If she had been Betty Grable or Jane Russell, somebody would have whistled. But they wouldn’t whistle at Marilyn. The easygoing fun and harmless wolf passes accorded a glamorous star aren’t tossed her way. Because, clearly, she is deeply in love and would resent any of the rough fun that passes for nothing when a star has been married a long time. Then it’s a mark of respect. Now, Marilyn behaves like a bride, and the studio crew treats her like one.
This was a scene in which Rory Calhoun and Marilyn were caught on a raft running wild down the churning Athabasca River. Bob Mitchum is supposed to toss them a rope, r’ar back on his steed and pull them to shore. When Marilyn walked past Bob, for just a moment he started to register some overt, masculine appreciation. He didn’t. He never even dropped a lazy eyelid in her direction, and Mitch usually does that with every female in the cast.
It took an hour to go through the scene. On one occasion, Marilyn slipped into the river. Casually, Bob pulled her out. It was a little thing, but big enough to make headlines in the next day’s newspapers.
That night, back at the location lodging, Marilyn chatted for a few minutes after dinner.
“Coming over to the tavern, tonight?” someone asked.
“No, thanks,” she replied. “I’ve got some work to do.”
Now, almost every other member of the cast was there that night, and to be friendly, Marilyn would normally have dropped in. Everybody knew she was waiting to hear from Joe. It isn’t that Marilyn isn’t a trouper, or couldn’t be—it’s just that building a career which will make up for all that flamboyant, early publicity is the important thing with her, just now. The career—and Joe.
At five o’clock the next morning, the camp was up and roaring in order to catch the private train which had to leave at 6:30 to reach the location scene in time for early shooting. Everyone was aboard on time, but Marilyn. She showed up almost fifteen minutes later. If her fellow workers wanted to complain, they didn’t. There were no wisecracks. Apparently, everyone knows that Marilyn is living in a world of her own.
At times, she snaps out of it, though, and does extra favors for people—as she did for the engineer and the Canadian Pacific Railway people who wanted her to pose with their train. She made like a switchman, a brakeman and a conductor.
There’s something new with Marilyn. Instead of her short haircut, she showed up with golden strands hanging twenty inches down her back. The visitor exclaimed in amazement, “Where did you get that hair?”
“Makeup department, of course,” she replied. “They put it on for me, every day, because I have to wear my hair with a bun in the back and there’s not enough of it. Now I like it long, so at the end of the day I just let it down and parade around as if it were my own. When I get some time off between pictures I’m going to sit around and grow my own.”
She looked at him gravely to see if he understood that she was kidding. Much of what this girl tosses off, ad lib, is considered dumb or accidental by some listeners, razor blade wit, by others.
Marilyn doesn’t appear to be overly enthusiastic about the rugged life in the north woods. After all, she has just settled down in a magnificent little apartment on Doheny Drive in Beverly Hills, and it has all the comforts that she never has known before. She’s hardly the type whose idea of fun is getting up for a before-dawn breakfast ride, but she did fool the boys when they asked her to pose with a horse. The horse took one look at her and plainly fell in love. They nuzzled each other for fifteen minutes, to the delight of all cameras present.
In a way, Marilyn is a little pathetic. She’s so darned pretty and sexy-looking that everyone expects her to be stupid in the bargain. She isn’t. She obviously follows every direction and suggestion made by her coach, Natasha. For two days I watched for director Otto Preminger to blow his top. He is a shrewd, always fair, but sometimes extremely sarcastic veteran. On some takes it was obvious that he wasn’t getting things his way. But he patiently did the scenes until he was satisfied. It’s problematical whether the finished version belongs to him or to Natasha, to whom Marilyn is so intensely loyal.
That’s the word—loyal. That’s the way Marilyn Monroe is to Joe DiMaggio, too. She is like the bride waiting for her new husband to come home, behaving as though no matter what his excuse for being late, it’s all right with her. But in this case, “the bride” is always working late, and she isn’t going to let anyone whisper to Joe one legitimate word of real or imaginary misbehavior on her part. She’s loyal and in love, and she doesn’t care who knows it.
—BY RICHARD MOORE
It is a quote. MODERN SCREEN MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 1953