The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
As a tribute to the 90th anniversary of the birth of the legendary Marilyn Monroe on June 1, the Packard Campus Theater kicks off the month with three of Monroe’s earliest films that brought her notice before she became a superstar. They start with the Marx Brother’s Love Happy, in which she has a seductive walk-on part; followed by her brilliant comic turn with Cary Grant in Monkey Business; to her role as a beautiful young mistress in the film noir The Asphalt Jungle.
Titles are subject to change. Some features will be preceded by short subjects.
Wednesday, June 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Love Happy (United Artists, 1949)
Marilyn Monroe had one of her earliest screen appearances in this, the Marx Brothers’s 15th and final film. In a brief scene, the then-unknown starlet asks detective Grunion (Groucho Marx) for help, saying seductively, “Some men are following me.” Though her screen time lasted only a minute, Monroe was upgraded to co-star billing with the comedy team when Love Happy was re-released in the mid-1950s. Originally conceived as a solo vehicle for Harpo Marx, the studio insisted it had to be a Marx Brothers picture after recent re-issues of their earlier films had done great business at the box-office. David Miller helmed the re-written script in which the Brothers help young Broadway hopefuls while also thwarting diamond thieves. Also in the cast are Chico Marx, Ilona Massey, Vera-Ellen, Raymond Burr and Eric Blore. 85 minutes.
Friday, June 3 (7:30 p.m.)
Monkey Business (20th Century-Fox, 1952)
Cary Grant and director Howard Hawks paired up for their fifth and final film –a screwball comedy that is somewhat reminiscent of their 1938 classic, Bringing up Baby. Grant plays absent-minded chemist Dr. Barnaby Fulton whose lab chimp accidentally concocts an elixir of youth. Shenanigans ensue after the professor and, later his wife (Ginger Rogers), take a dose of the potion. Marilyn Monroe is particularly effective in a small role. Writer/director Peter Bogdanovich wrote in a 2012 review: “Especially memorable are the sequences featuring Grant with Marilyn Monroe in her first really successful comedy performance as aging professor Charles Coburn’s ultra-nubile secretary.” 97 minutes.
Saturday, June 4 (7:30 p.m.)
The Asphalt Jungle (MGM, 1950)
John Huston’s brilliant crime drama, The Asphalt Jungle, contains the recipe for a meticulously planned robbery, but the cast of criminal characters features one too many bad apples. Sam Jaffe, as the twisted mastermind, uses cash from corrupt attorney Emmerich (Louis Calhern) to assemble a group of skilled thugs to pull off a jewel heist. All goes as planned — until an alert night watchman and a corrupt cop enter the picture. Marilyn Monroe has a memorable bit part as Emmerich’s “niece.” The film also stars Sterling Hayden, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore and John McIntyre. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2008. 112 minutes.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.