Watching the New Netflix Documentary About Marilyn Monroe Manages to Squeeze Anyone's Heart

Watching the New Netflix Documentary About Marilyn Monroe Manages to Squeeze Anyone’s Heart

The year which marks the sixtieth anniversary of the death of Marilyn Monroe, netflix begins to pave the way for what will be one of its most notable premieres of 2022: Blond, the biography of the actress with Ana de Armas. And he does it with The Marilyn Monroe Mystery: Unreleased Tapes, a documentary that looks back on the career of the great cinema icon, focusing especially on his last days through the investigation of a journalist and his interviews with relatives of the actress, elucidating the conspiracy theories on his death .

However, despite being a frustrating documentary considering the magnificent material it provides and the botched execution of its direction, there’s a sequence that manages to strip anyone’s innards out. It is a scene that reveals the painful game of appearances that the actress practiced before the attentive gaze of the world shortly before her death.

Still from ‘The Marilyn Monroe Mystery: The Unreleased Tapes’ (courtesy Netflix)

The Marilyn Monroe Mystery: Unreleased Tapes is a documentary of a little over an hour and a half that takes up the meticulous investigation that Anthony Summers, the British writer and reporter, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, led around the death of Marilyn Monroe. An investigation that began in 1982 when the Los Angeles district attorney reopened the case of his death to clarify whether it was an accident, suicide or murder, adding fuel to the fire of conspiracy theories. Summers interviewed no less than a thousand people, including friends, acquaintances, colleagues and relatives of the actress, accumulating some 650 tapes which had not been made public until now. The documentary uses the author’s account and statements from these interviews to review Marilyn’s rise, her relationship with the Kennedy brothers, and delve into the oddities surrounding her death.

And although it is a curious documentary, it is ultimately not very revealing because it does not finish providing the clarification that it promises at the beginning, serving as one more exposure to the theories that have always persecuted the case. However, during the first half of the story devoted to Marilyn’s profile, her success but also her lack of affection, manages to squeeze us inside with the image of a woman who knew how to hide her suffering whenever the cameras were on.

The moment in question comes back to the images that the press recorded of Marilyn in 1961 leaving a site. To see her smile and speak to the press, surrounded by dozens of journalists, cameramen and photographers, one would have thought that she was leaving a hotel or a restaurant. But no. They were waiting for her outside the Payne Whitney psychiatric clinic in New York, where she had been locked up for four days.

What the documentary does not add is that according to the book Marilyn Monroe: biography of Donald Spoto, he did so on the advice of his psychiatrist Marianne Kris, who later claimed that he was wrong to recommend the center since the actress would have been placed in a ward with people suffering from serious mental health problems , being locked in a cell padded From there, after asking her ex-husband Joe DiMaggio for help, she went to Columbia University Medical Center, where she spent another 23 days.

According to the same book, Monroe suffered from depression for several months following a host of personal situations, such as the end of her marriage to Arthur Miller, the abortions she had undergone, and surgery she had undergone. to cure her. endometriosis, added to pill problems.

For all that, this sequel to The Marilyn Monroe Mystery: Unreleased Tapes break someone’s heart Because we see a woman, as famous as she is, who had just spent four days in a mental institution, who was suffering from her own personal traumas, and who was going to another institution to seek help. And there she was, smiling at the cameras waiting outside, turning on the star button and saying to the mics “I feel wonderful.”

A month later, on August 4, 1962, he died of an overdose of barbiturates.

Image of "The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Untold Tapes".  Credit courtesy of Netflix © 2022
Image from ‘The Marilyn Monroe Mystery: The Unreleased Tapes’. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

I didn’t have a problem with Monroe, but Monroe had a problem with Monroe.” We hear Billy Wilder say on one of the recordings, the director of Whit skirts and be crazy (1958). And it is that at that time, four years after the death of Marilyn, rumors were already circulating about the addiction of the actress, with stories that spoke of late arrivals on the set and of difficulties in memorizing her sentences .

John Huston, the director of Marilyn’s last film, rebel lives (1960), adds after seeing that it was no longer the “cool girl” whom I had known for a long time. “He was always late, sometimes all morning. Sometimes it was good and sometimes non compos mentis. Narcotics were the problem. sentenced.

Thus, although the documentary chooses to follow conspiratorial paths, seeing this woman composing in front of the cameras while living an inner nightmare lets see how far the pressure of the spotlight as a living icon has taken her to life as a star. And it is seeing her at that moment, knowing her story and hearing some of her sentences said in lives, that manages to shake us internally.

Happiness, does anyone come to know it? Marilyn once wondered, dressing the balance sheet of this last stage of her life with more sadness.

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