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My Week with Marilyn Paperback – October 4, 2011

3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Simon Prebble provides a sincere and authoritative tone and also offers an occasional offhand breathy vocal characterization of Monroe...Superb..." - AudioFile Magazine
"The immediacy and charm of Clark's recollections are possibly more illuminating than the millions of words and pictures pumped out to expose or dish the dirt on the Monroe legend." - Sunday Times
"Clark is both a sharp and affectionate diarist...his book has an entertaining narrative bounce." - The Guardian
"Beguiling, touching and compassionate." - Evening Standard
"An extraordinary story." - Spectator

--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

Colin Clark (1932–2002) was a British writer and filmmaker. He was the younger brother of the famous diarist Alan Clark and younger son of Sir Kenneth (“Lord Clark of Civilization”), and was educated at Eton and Oxford. After The Prince and the Showgirl, he became a personal assistant to Laurence Olivier before moving to Granada Television. Subsequently he produced and directed over 100 arts documentary films in America and Britain. His autobiography Younger Brother, Younger Son was published in 1997.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Weinstein Books; Original edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602861498
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602861497
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #595,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book in this edition is in two parts. The first, originally published in 1995 under the title "The Prince, the Showgirl and Me", is a transcript of the diaries Clark kept of the 24 weeks in 1956. It begins with the day on which he tried to get a job on the production crew of `The Prince and the Showgirl', of which Sir Laurence Olivier was director and producer and in which he will also star with Marilyn Monroe (MM). It ends with the savage relief all round when the filming was finally done. In the middle of the diaries there is an entry reading "I haven't written for a whole week" (nine days, actually) and that of course is his "Week with Marilyn" (nine days, actually) which were so heady that Clark only jotted down notes, which he wrote up many years later (passages of dialogue are certainly longer, more crafted and therefore less believable than they were in the diaries) and published in 2000 (two years before his death).

Colin Clark was only 23 during the events he narrates in his diary - but a pretty shrewd judge of men and women, with a gift of humorous description, and at the same time with a young man's susceptibility to being star-struck. He had the enormous self-confidence and savoir-faire that I suppose came from having been to Eton, not to mention being the son of Sir Kenneth Clark who provided the initial connection with Olivier. The determination with which Clark, completely inexperienced in anything to do with film-production, secures the job of 3rd Assistant Director (`the lowest of the low' and known as `gofer' because anyone can tell him to `go for this' or `go for that') is impressive. And he gets responsibility quite soon - finding houses for MM and her staff to stay in, hiring the servants in these houses, organizing police protection for MM, etc.
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Format: Paperback
This book tells an interestng inside perspective of someone who briefly got to know MM on the Prince and the Showgirl set, but the story is about Colin's life during the film not strictly his interaction with Marilyn. The book is essentially a diary and that's how it reads. It's his personal observations of his experience while filming, and not neccesarily facts of MM or the other people involved in the movie. Some of his thoughts are random and unnecessary to the MM/showgirl story, but overall I did enjoy the book and it's a very easy & quick read. I did see the movie, and it was much much better than the book. The movie is more like a story about Marilyn and less like Colin's personal diary.
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Format: Paperback
Like many, I decided to read this book after seeing the well-received movie version, which I enjoyed immensely (BTW, Eddie Redmayne, the young actor who plays Clark, is the spitting image of the author). As some have already stated, this is actually two separate books published several years apart. The first part to have been published is an actual (or purported - some think the whole thing is fictional) on set diary of the making of Olivier's film 'The Prince and the Showgirl'; the later publication is a reconstructed account of a missing nine days from the middle of that diary, during which Clark was apparently too busy to write his entries. In this publication, this second part appears first - but I read the book chronologically (i.e, pages 119-245 first, then went back and read the missing section - p. 1-117 - and then returned to p. 245 on to the end. This makes the book much more coherent and understandable, since the 2nd book thrusts you into the ongoing proceedings with very little context. Whether or not the book is strictly 100% true, it is a fascinating story and a worthwhile 'fun' read. PS I also strongly suggest watching the actual film of 'The Prince and the Showgirl' before reading this - or indeed, seeing the 'My Week With Marilyn' film also, as you will get much more out of both.
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Format: Paperback
... oh my God, what a self important kid dear Colin was! Am I really supposed to believe that this 23-year-old third assistant director actually advised Marilyn about her performance, or that he had the temerity to tell her that she was better than that "ham, Bette Davis?" Or that he had to keep turning Marilyn down because HE was afraid that Tony and Pulitzer Award winner Arthur Miller would be consumed with jealousy and leave her? It could be that he actually wrote those pretentious things back in the late 1950s. Harder to accept that a British lad viewed the Millers as as famous as Grace Kelly and Rainier or JFK and Jacqueline when Jackie Kennedy wasn't even nationally well known (much less internationally famous) until the 1960 election.

Once you get past the stuff about Colin himself, the book is entertaining and informative. Lots of great insights into how movies were made. Marilyn must have been as exasperating and manipulative as she was magical, for she got on Olivier's last nerve, and he lived with and worked with Vivien Leigh (and she was no slouch in the diva department).

It also amused me that, in the end, the book is a lot like the movie it was about in that Marilyn, for all her issues, is enduringly compelling. 50 years after her death, she's still relevant and fascinating. Her life may have been sad but her legacy triumphed.
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