Violets, Flamingos and Heroes in Autumn


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On New Year’s Eve, I wrote here of my fears over where the world is heading. Little did I know that only a few weeks later we would be facing up to a pandemic. 2020 has been a strange, lonesome year for many of us. Continue reading

All About ‘The Marilyn Report’


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Earlier this summer, my sister blog ES Updates celebrated its 10th birthday. Now I’m looking to the future with a new, fully-independent blog, The Marilyn Report. ES Updates will remain online, but if you’d like to continue hearing all the latest news about MM, please subscribe here. (This lovely photo of Marilyn was taken by Earl Theisen in 1947, shortly after she signed her first contract with Twentieth Century Fox.)

Madonna, Alan Parker and the Battle for Evita


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Sir Alan Parker was born in Matlock, Derbyshire in 1944, and grew up in Islington, North London. His father was a house painter, and his mother a dressmaker. After studying at grammar school he began work in advertising, hoping to meet girls. He loved to write, but other than taking an interest in photography, he had no plans to become a filmmaker. While working for an advertising agency in the 1960, he met David Puttnam and Alan Marshall, who would later produce his films. Continue reading

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