- Hardcover: 218 pages
- Publisher: St Martins Pr (May 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312143958
- ISBN-13: 978-0312143954
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #952,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Prince, the Showgirl, and Me: Six Months on the Set With Marilyn and Olivier Hardcover – May, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Forty years ago, Colin Clark, the son of art historian Kenneth Clark, accepted a job as a "gofer" on the set of Laurence Olivier's film The Prince and the Showgirl, which was to star Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. By day, Clark satisfied the every whim of director Olivier and other crew members; by night, he chronicled the day's events in his diary, compiling a vivid and witty introduction to the craft and business of filmmaking. Now he is publishing the diary virtually intact. It's a wickedly entertaining little book, a delicious backstage comedy of the clash of two worlds, as well as a candid time capsule of a heedless young Englishman's sexual progress, circa 1956. At center stage are the classically trained Olivier, leading a crew of expert British film professionals, and a sad and volatile Monroe, surrounded by manipulative and sycophantic hangers-on. Clark's thumbnail judgments of the principals are shrewd, sometimes harsh; playwright Arthur Miller, who married the actress just before the film began production, comes across as particularly unpleasant. Full of the sort of stories and observations film insiders tell only each other (Monroe upon Clark's first scrutiny: "She looked absolutely frightful.... Nasty complexion, a lot of facial hair, shapeless figure and, when the glasses came off, a very vague look in her eye"), this diary is a breezy, gossipy, often hilarious read. Photos.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Clark, son of historian Sir Kenneth Clark, spent his days just after college as third assistant director (read gofer) on the set of the 1957 British film The Prince and The Showgirl. What made this film unique, and the reason Clark decided to keep a daily journal, was the unlikely pairing of Marilyn Monroe and Sir Lawrence Olivier in the title roles. Monroe hoped this would give her a more serious image; Olivier hoped to boost his film career. But Monroe was insecure; treated badly by her new husband, Arthur Miller; and often late and on drugs. Olivier, the consummate professional, had no patience. Though the diary is amusing, it sheds little new light on the Monroe legend, and though it gives the reader a bird's-eye view of an interesting place and time, its narrow scope keeps it from being a necessary purchase. For comprehensive film collections.?Rosellen Brewer, Monterey Bay Area Coop. Lib. Sys., Pacific Grove, Cal.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Some of the author's most fascinating observations involve the abominable behavior and temperament of Marilyn Monroe. Far from the vulnerable, sensitive, creature the mythologist consistently describe, Monroe comes off as a vague, confused, manipulative and thoughtless child whose antics turned the entire crew against her to the point that they lined up and threw her gifts in the trash after filming wrapped up. After six months with the supposedly tragically sensitive Monroe, she was roundly despised by everyone involved with filming.
It's these sorts of insights into Monroe's behavior that explain why she was friendless and died alone. She was simply horrid. The author also describes how unsightly she was until the magic of the make up and lighting brought her to life and revealed the otherworldly and beguiling beauty of the woman who was Marilyn Monroe. No wonder she was forgiven so much. There has never been before, nor ever will be again, anyone like her.
The most intriguing aspect to Marilyn Monroe is the mythologizing she has enjoyed at the hands of her worshipers and many biographers. According to this book, the honeymoon between Monroe and Arther Miller was over before it started, Laurence Oliver despised her to the point he had to resort to theater tricks to appear to kiss her rather than the real thing, the crew despised the ground she walked on, and she was condescending to and marginalized everyone she worked with. One of the keenest observations in this book was that Monroe was a "mimophant": an English word for a person who was as highly sensitive as a Mimosa to their own feelings but trounced like an elephant over the feelings of others.
It's very refreshing to read something besides the same old party line on Monroe. This book makes clear that not only was Monroe not controlled by everyone around her (just the opposite) but that she was just as able and willing to use others as they were to use her. She gave as good as she got and was notorious for jettisoning people from her life once they'd served their purpose as discussed in regards to the unraveling of her relationship with Milton Greene during the filming of this movie.
This book is a fascinating read that reports without comment, the foibles of foolish stars and their dreadful egos and temperamental vanities. It's the best I've read on the subject of Marilyn Monroe and is not afraid to call a spade a spade and make observations that don't jibe with the Monroe mythologists.
I highly recommend it as a person who enjoys the unvarnished truth and thinks none the less of the human failings in everyone - including our heroes.
Colin Clark is very witty and honest, even disclosing he had gay sex with someone who worked on this movie (and he was straight), you can't get more honest than that.
Insightful and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny.