JERICHO, NY, March 26, 2001 — Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s birth, AMERICAN MOVIE CLASSICS (AMC) presents a feature-length documentary chronicling the tragic last months in the life of Hollywood’s definitive sex symbol. The documentary offers the premiere of the edited, 37-minute reconstruction of her final film, “Something’s Got to Give.” MARILYN MONROE: THE FINAL DAYS airs Friday, June 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Narrated by James Coburn, MARILYN MONROE: THE FINAL DAYS includes rare and never-before-seen film footage and production stills as well as candid moments of Monroe on the set, and in costume, hair and make-up tests. One restored scene reveals a playful and sexy Monroe during the filming of her infamous nude swim scene, the first ever by a major American actress.
The original documentary, MARILYN MONROE: THE FINAL DAYS, candidly discloses the intimate details surrounding the production of Monroe’s final film, including her battle with 20th Century Fox and director George Cukor over the creative direction of “Something’s Got to Give.” Monroe’s personal physician, Dr. Hyman Engelberg, speaks publicly for the first time in nearly 40 years about Monroe’s emotional instability, chemical dependency, and generally poor health during the period of filming. Also featured are interviews with co-star Cyd Charisse, “Something’s Got to Give” producer Henry Weinstein and screenwriter Walter Bernstein.
On April 23, 1962 Marilyn Monroe was slated to go before the cameras in the breezy remake of the Cary Grant/Irene Dunne screwball comedy, “My Favorite Wife,” now titled “Something’s Got to Give.” The film featured Monroe as a woman who, after being stranded on a desert island for five years, returns home only to find herself declared legally dead, and her husband (played by Dean Martin) remarried to another woman (Cyd Charisse). The studio was already embroiled in financial crises over the skyrocketing budget of “Cleopatra” and costly delays for script rewrites on “Something’s Got to Give” when it received another blow – Monroe was too sick to work.
Although Monroe reported to work for the first time a week later, her illnesses continued to plague her and led to her absence from the set 17 of 30 days. The production quickly crumbled without its star.
On June 8, 1962 the studio fired Monroe. In response to rumors around the studio that the sex symbol’s career was now over, Monroe helped ignite a firestorm of positive personal publicity. Freelance photographer George Barris was granted unprecedented access to her for a series of revealing photo sessions. Photographs from these famed sessions are also included in the documentary.
Monroe’s publicity campaign against the studio was successful. On August 1, 1963, she signed a $1-million dollar two-picture contract with Fox and plans were made to resume production on “Something’s Got to Give.” The actress had every reason to celebrate. But tragically on August 5, Marilyn Monroe died of an apparent drug overdose, bringing the final chapter of the film – and her life – to a close