Forever Marilyn Collection [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray | Box Set
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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. Immortalized here in this must-own collection are seven of her best and most popular films, presented on Blu-Ray - the perfect format to showcase Marilyn's flawless beauty and captivating performances as they're meant to be seen.
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Whatever makes a movie star shine, Marilyn Monroe had it. Take There's No Business Like Show Business (one of seven movies buffed up for the Blu-ray disc compilation Forever Marilyn): Ethel Merman, who could whip up a frenzy on the stage, comes across as stiff and old-fashioned performing some of Irving Berlin's most popular songs--but when Monroe pops up to sing the little-known number "After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It," she lights up the screen. Monroe has something that always feels modern and immediate, which may be why she feels out of place in River of No Return, a humdrum Western with some snappy dialogue but sluggish pacing and clumsy river-rafting effects. (She looks great in those dance-hall-girl outfits, though.) Fortunately, the other five movies in Forever Marilyn are all winners. Monroe plays a gold digger with a heart of gold in both How to Marry a Millionaire (costarring Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (costarring Jane Russell), a pair of fizzy comedies. In Blondes, Monroe's performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in a snug pink dress became one of those career-defining moments, demonstrating the charisma that transcends simple beauty.
But even that image got topped by the moment in The Seven Year Itch when Monroe's white dress gets blown up by a breeze from a subway grate. Monroe's pleasure in the moment fuses innocence and sensuality, cementing her lasting star persona. This was her first movie with the great writer-director Billy Wilder; the second, Some Like It Hot, is ranked by many critics as the greatest comedy ever made. Monroe enters "like Jell-O on springs," marvels Jack Lemmon. Lemmon and Tony Curtis drive the plot as a pair of musicians in drag who are hiding from the mob, but it all revolves around Monroe. Her boozy jazz singer is an adorable mix of sweetness and cynicism and delivers yet another iconic singing performance: her dreamy "boop-boop-be-doop" in "I Want to Be Loved by You" drips with sensuality. Sadly, her character's drinking reflected Monroe's own crumbling personal life. Her final completed film, The Misfits, the last in this set, captures Monroe, Clark Gable, and Montgomery Clift as an adrift divorcée and a couple of down-on-their-luck cowboys struggling to rebuild their lives. The performances, the compelling script by Arthur Miller, and John Huston's powerful direction are potent as it is; knowing about the actors' personal lives gives The Misfits an extra layer of sadness. But even as she's falling apart--or perhaps especially when she's falling apart--Marilyn Monroe is never less than magnetic. --Bret Fetzer
Disc 1: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Disc 2: How to Marry a Millionaire
Disc 3: River of No Return
Disc 4: There's No Business Like Show Business
Disc 5: The Seven Year Itch
Disc 6: Some Like it Hot
Disc 7: The Misfits
Top customer reviews
Con: This set is packaged in slide-in cardboard sleeves, rather than the standard plastic Blu Ray case.
I'll admit, it looks rather attractive in the minimalist approach they took. But for functionality the packaging is an absolute joke. 4 of the 7 discs in my set were dislodged from their "pockets" and sliding all over the place (thankfully none were damaged though). Half your discs coming loose in transit in unacceptable in my eyes. Simply turning the thing upside down can cause some to slip out even when shrinkwrapped. Total failure in design. On top of that, it's completely comprised of paperboard with about the same thickness as a cereal box and the slots are already starting to tear. Corners were dented and creased before it was even in my hands; clearly from basic handling and not being abused.
An obvious solution would have been a 3-disc and 4-disc Viva Elite bluray case with a little thicker of an outer box. That may be an extra $4 production cost but I'd gladly pay for a more suitable case. In the meantime I'm just putting them in standard single-disc cases. For comparison, today I also received The Dark Knight Trilogy bluray set - 5 discs plus a 64-page book housed in a digipak and heavy cardboard box that puts this thing to shame for virtually the same price. For under $30 this is still a deal but I would have been pretty irked if I shelled out the $75 back in July when it was first released.
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