My review of Dr Andrew Norman’s Making Sense of Marilyn, a concise biography and psychological portrait, is published at Immortal Marilyn.
“She was the biggest star in the world; she had a lot of attention on her, a lot of pressure… there is a scene, when she comes to the door, she says, ‘It’s me, Sugar.’ It took forty-seven shots to make this scene. The film is about that moment, the crisis she had. It’s funny because it’s stupid not to be able to say ‘It’s me, Sugar’… It’s tragic too.” Continue reading
The latest edition of Art Decades quarterly is now available from Amazon stores worldwide (and for £11.14 in the UK.) At the heart of this issue is a tribute to cult cinema, with a profile of ‘sexploitation’ king Joe Sarno; an unpublished interview with Jess Franco, the Spanish filmmaker famed for his erotic horror flicks; and a roundtable discussion with the authors of a new book, It Came From the Video Aisle, including a special focus on director Charles Band, best-known for his horror comedies.
Elsewhere, there’s a short story from Les Bohem, set in the post-hippie California of the 1970s; a spotlight on Denver’s ‘totally rad’ nostalgia shop, Fifty-Two 80s; and extracts from Singin’ In French, a new anthology co-edited by Marcelline Block. For me, the highlight was ‘Suzie’s Zoo’, a very moving piece from Kelley Richey in which she explores childhood memories through film. She also contributes three photo-stories which celebrate nature, beauty and the coming of spring.
And finally from me, a review of Elizabeth Winder’s Marilyn in Manhattan, one of my favourite books of 2017; and an interview with Cy Forrest, author of The Punished, a ‘dystopian noir’ which alternates between the inhabitants of a ghost village during World War II and the corporate sexism of the 1980s.
On a crisp Friday morning in the first week of January, I joined a handful of people at the Duke of York’s in Brighton – England’s oldest independent cinema – for a screening of How to Marry a Millionaire. It’s part of a regular series of classic movies aimed at an older audience, with tea and biscuits served beforehand, and a fifteen-minute interval – although I think it’s fair to say they could use some promotion. (Classic movie fans, please note: Millionaire is showing at Picturehouse cinemas across the UK throughout January, and looking further ahead, There’s No Business Like Show Business is scheduled for June.) Continue reading
A Beautiful Young Woman, Billie Holiday, Bright Air Black, Buchi Emecheta, David Vann, Elizabeth Winder, Emma Flint, Emma Reyes, Harriette Arnow, Jake Arnott, Jerry Dantzic, Joan Didion, Julian Lopez, Julie Buntin, Julie Lekstrom Himes, Karl Geary, Kathleen Collins, Little Deaths, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, Marilyn in Manhattan, Marilyn Monroe, Marlena, Medea, Montpelier Parade, Patricia Bosworth, South and West, The Dollmaker, The Fatal Tree, The Girl From the Metropol Hotel, The Master and Margarita, The Men In My Life, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?
Set in 18th century London, The Fatal Tree is a rip-roaring saga laced with harsh truths, recreating the battle between Jack Sheppard, a young thief famed for his daring escapes, and the ruthlessly corrupt ‘Thief-taker General’, Jonathan Wild, from a very different perspective – that of Sheppard’s lover, the prostitute Edgworth Bess. Using historic slang to great effect, Jake Arnott evokes not only the criminal underworld, but also the parallel black and gay subcultures, as they collide with the double standard of high society and the literati. Continue reading
I have written two new reviews for the Immortal Marilyn website. The first, Dead Blondes: You Must Remember Marilyn, covers film historian Karina Longworth’s podcast series from earlier this year, while Artists in Love: Marilyn and Arthur Miller looks back at a 2016 TV documentary for the Sky Arts channel.
My first memory of Diana is visual: that blue suit she wore and the sapphire ring, on the day of her engagement. When she married Charles in 1981 I was nine years old; she was twice my age, but still hardly a woman. Continue reading
Ella Fitzgerald was born a century ago today, on April 25, 1917. Her voice was like sunshine, or a glass of champagne. As a woman, she had great warmth and dignity. She was also a friend to Marilyn Monroe, who had been introduced to her work by jazz pianist and arranger Hal Schaefer in 1953. Continue reading