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A great film that also happens to feature a young Marilyn
on September 4, 2003
Hometown Story (1951) features Marilyn Monroe in one of her earliest roles, and while Marilyn probably fuels most of the sells for this item, the movie itself is actually quite good in its own right. Jeffrey Lynn plays Blake Washburn, a newly un-elected state senator who returns home with quite an electoral chip on his shoulder. He's not above punching a guy for joking about the election, and even his old friends are likely to be met with a cold shoulder. Washburn takes over his uncle's newspaper, but all he cares about is starting an editorial crusade that will help him win his Senate seat back. Slim Haskins (a young Alan Hale, Jr. of Gilligan's Island fame), his best friend and lead reporter, grows increasingly frustrated at Washburn's politicized agenda, and even Washburn's long-suffering fiancé Janice (Marjorie Reynolds) cannot get through to him, even when she threatens to call the whole thing off. Undaunted, Washburn rakes big business up and down the coals of his editorial pages, even after one local businessman, John McFarland (Donald Crisp), gives him an Economics 101 lecture on the importance of big business and its products in everyday life.
Then Washburn's little sister Katie (Melinda Plowman) enters an old mine to retrieve her new puppy and becomes the victim of a terrible cave-in. The wealthy Mr. McFarland comes to Katie's aid in a very big way, as does big business itself through a number of its mechanical and life-saving products. Hometown Story carries an important message, and it delivers this message in a quite moving and certainly entertaining manner. As for Marilyn Monroe, she plays Washburn's secretary Iris; it is by no means a large part, but she does appear in several scenes. Her acting skills are not very polished at this stage of her career, but she certainly accomplishes her main task of making tight sweaters look absolutely amazing. Alan Hale's character has the hots for Iris, and I cannot help but get a kick out of watching "the Skipper" trying to put the moves on Marilyn Monroe.