Becoming Carole Lombard: Stardom, Comedy and Legacy

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“When Carole Lombard talks, her conversation, often brilliant, is punctuated by screeches, laughs, growls, gesticulations, and the expletives of a sailor’s parrot,” Noel F. Busch wrote in a 1938 cover story for LIFE magazine, headlined ‘A Loud Cheer for the Screwball Girl.’ The actress he described was seemingly not unlike the madcap heroines she often played. At thirty, she had appeared in a diverse range of films over thirteen years, and exerted a degree of control in her career unusual for a star in the studio era. However, more than eighty years later, Lombard is still perceived as a kooky comedienne, her life’s arc defined by subsequent events including her marriage to Clark Gable, and her untimely death in 1942. Continue reading

Marilyn and Me: The Starlet and the Spy

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Ji-min Lee is a Korean novelist and screenwriter. Her first novel published in English is set in the aftermath of the Korean War. “This book was inspired by two photographs,” Lee explains. “One was of a female interpreter at work, standing between a UN soldier and a North Korean POW.” The other, printed in the end-pages, was of Marilyn Monroe performing in Korea for the American military. “I had the same question when I saw those two pictures,” Lee continues. “Where did all the beautiful and hopeful young women go?” Continue reading

Sal Jones Gives Christine (and Marilyn) the Last Laugh

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London-based artist Sal Jones, whose paintings were featured in the recent exhibition, Dear Christine: A Tribute to Christine Keeler, has painted another portrait, ‘The Last Laugh,’ based on a candid photo taken by the pool at Cliveden during that fateful summer of 1961. Continue reading

A Birthday Wish for Marilyn

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Today marks what would be Marilyn Monroe’s 94th birthday. It’s also ten years since I started my sister blog, ES Updates (affiliated to Everlasting Star, the longest-running online forum about Monroe.) Whereas on this website I cover a range of subjects in mostly long-form pieces, ES Updates is dedicated solely to Marilyn with shorter, more frequent posts relating to all aspects of her life and legacy. So if you’re looking for ways to celebrate her birthday, please head over to ES Updates and subscribe to the daily email bulletin; and for a deeper dive, read my novel, The Mmm Girl. (The photo shown above was taken by László Willinger in 1950 to promote one of Marilyn’s first important roles in All About Eve, which turns 70 this year.)

Soledad 4: Madonna’s ‘Madame X,’ and More

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The fourth issue of SOLEDAD Arts Journal is out now on Amazon, for $7.71 (US) or £6.28 (UK.) And at 186 pages, it’s a content-heavy issue, with a cover story on filmmaker Cosmotropia de Xam. Inside she revisits locations and compares them with other movies made there. These include several areas of Spain, and the Polish city of Lodz, where David Lynch filmed Inland Empire (2006.) There’s also an interview with actress Rachel Audrey, who has appeared in five Cosmotropia projects.

Arizona duo Grumpy Bear, interviewed by editor Jeremy Richey, have released a five-track Soledad EP with a cinematic theme, free to readers on Bandcamp (contact Jeremy at mooninthegutter@gmail.com for the code.) Jeremy has also written a fascinating review of Henry Jaglom’s A Safe Place (1971), starring Tuesday Weld. Elsewhere, LaShane Arnett writes about her love affair with Psychedelic Furs, and Rachael Dunnett and Peter Jilmstead talk about Fragments of Fear, their podcast for fans of Italian horror and ‘giallo’ films.

Marcelline Block’s interview with artist Miles Ladin during his Masquerade exhibit is also featured, and Chris O’Neill talks with singer Gabbie Bam Bam about her influences. Filmmaker John Levy shares still photos from This Wild Wild Wound. Poetry and short fiction make a strong showing, with contributions from regulars Les Bohem, Robert Monell and Emily Clare Bryant, plus newcomers Neddal Ayad and Ruth La Sure, who combines writing and photography to striking effect.

And finally, you can read my review of Madonna’s Madame X – it’s fully illustrated over eighteen pages, and leaves no stone unturned!