Tuesday, April 15, 2014


In a letter to his wife, Molly Thatcher, [the director, Elia] Kazan attempts to explain his past affair with Marilyn Monroe:

“I took her to dinner because she seemed like such a touching pathetic waif. She sobbed all through dinner. I wasn’t ‘interested’ in her, that came later. I got to know her and in time introduced her to Arthur Miller, who also was very taken with her. You couldn’t help being touched. She was talented, funny, vulnerable, helpless in awful pain, with no hope and some worth and not a liar, vicious, not catty and with a history of orphanism that was killing to hear. She was like all Charlie Chaplin heroines in one.”
KAZAN, who wrote to Molly in 1955, also revealed of Marilyn: “She is not what she appears to be ... she is not a big sex-pot as advertised.”

Elia Kazan on MM: "She is not what she appears to be ... she is not a big sex-pot as advertised."
The cruel irony/P.S. to this is that Kazan, after years of estrangement with Arthur Miller, would collaborate with him again, mounting one of (I think) the worst moments in American theater history — Miller’s play “After The Fall.”

This was Miller’s confession/denunciation of Monroe as a castrating, self-destructive bitch, from whom he had to escape. That Monroe was two years dead and unable to defend herself appeared of no interest to her ex-husband or her ex-lover.

Miller’s pretense that the “Maggie” of his play was not Monroe — or his version of her — compounded the insult. Marilyn’s good friend, author James Baldwin, walked out of “After the Fall,” so furious was he over Miller’s characterization of her.

(The star, Barbara Loden was costumed, bewigged and given the appropriate Monroe-like gestures, in case anybody didn’t quite get it.)
THOSE who disliked Arthur Miller — and there were many — found some satisfaction in the fact that “After The Fall” was his last success. He would wallow in epilogue and various variations on Marilyn for the rest of his life.

Miller’s inactivity as a writer — except for his tedious screenplay for “The Misfits” — was often blamed on Marilyn. He himself said it. But right after the Miller/Monroe divorce, columnist Max Lerner opined that it was less likely that Monroe had constricted Miller, but that he had sought her out precisely because he had run out of material.
1956: Monroe and Miller ... Happily engaged.
Several weeks before her death, an interviewer faced Marilyn with Lerner’s observation. Did she have a comment? She paused, and then said: “If I answer, will you promise to repeat my quote in its entirety?”

The writer said yes.

Marilyn replied: “No comment.”

This is the only thing Marilyn Monroe ever said criticizing a husband — or anybody else in public life for that matter. She was, as Kazan noted, “not vicious.” And it is an indication of her agony, being blamed for the failures of a man she literally saved; standing with him and risking her own career as he was grilled by The House Un-American Activities Committee, in the matter of his youthful Communist flirtations.
Miller and Kazan left that Marilyn out of “After The Fall.”
1959: Monroe and Miller ... Unhappily Married

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