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Everlasting Star Community > The experts' lounge > Marilyn's movies
Bobby
Although only a secondary character in Irving Berlin's extravagant family film, Marilyn puts in a commendable performance as singing starlet Vicky Hoffman. Musical veterans such as Ethel Merman and Donald O'Connor co-star in this glittering celebration of all things show business. The story follows a travelling Vaudeville family of entertainers who face some tough decisions as some members of the clan start to get itchy feet.

The first couple of times I watched this, I was struggling. I found myself forwarding through all the Marilyn-less scenes. I can't bear Ethel Merman's voice (sorry!) and I just didn't really care about the Donahues; I wanted Marilyn! I loved the AYGWYW number but Heatwave I thought was horrific from start to finish; the lyrics, the costumes, the dancing. Just horrible. It's just about the only MM movie song I don't like. And is it me or is Johnnie Ray terrible? His is acting is sound but I wasn't impressed by his voice and his over-dramatic and totally unflattering showmanship was ridiculous. What did you think?
magda24
For me this movie could exist only as as a set of Marilyn dancing&singing numbers. I totally didn't care for the whole story and it's the only movie Marilyn made after 1952 which I saw only once (not counting musical numbers). I think she's beautiful as always, sings and dances as well as usual but the whole movie is a disaster (IMO)!But I know that Marilyn agreed to play in this movie only because she had been promised Seven Year Itch so I guess she's justified!
dwane
outside of marilyn's parts i found this movie extremely boring and annoying. if you like musicals this one is for you but as for me i can't stand to watch it. i think that if they put marilyn in more scenes it would have been a lot more popular.

i liked all her musical numbers and although a lot of people do not like the "heat wave" number i thought it was really good.

ethel merman is so annoying.
Alanma
I do love 'Lazy', though better heard on CD.

Speaking as a musician, I have always admired the varied styles of musical arrangement of 'Alexander's Ragtime Band'. The arranger and orchestra should have had an award for it!
Nothing to do with Marilyn, but when I was a music student, our Professor always pointed to what wonders had been performed with 'Lullaby of Broadway' in the 'Gold-diggers of 1933'.
Those of you who like old films should try prewar musicals just for the music!
Tara
I love Marilyn's singing but that's about it. She isn't given much else to do. It is really all about the music, the plot and characters are forgettable. I've probably watched this least of all her films as a star.
lorileime
Here's my two cents. I agree tha the movie is just too boring from start to finish. The story line never grabs my attention. As for Marilyn, maybe it has to do with the other actors she played against in this movie, I find her acting to be very melodramatic and stiff. Sorry darling! Her disinterest in this part comes through loud and clear and totally transparently on screen. She definitely didn't want to do this movie and it shows. As far as the musical numbers, many of them are fine. I'm not happy with AYGWYW. I thought the correography was totally uncomplimentary to Marilyn's ability. I am very happy that she was able to get Jack Cole to come over for the Heat Wave number. I love that number, I just hate the fact that they used the worst of the two vocal renditions Marilyn recorded for the final print. She is off pitch throughout that number but the alternate take that is available on CD is fantastic. It should have been used in the film instead. One thing I like about that number is that it's actually very sexually full of inuendo for the time and probably pushed a few buttons back then. Lazy is another good scene. Marilyn being kittenish is always a favorite of mine. Overall, I probably wouldn't watch this movie again from start to finish. That goodness for fastforward!
Katri^
I don't really know what to think about this. I like the film, and it seems like I'm the only one here biggrin.gif

The songs are really nice, especially Heat wave! It has been my favorite ever since I heard it for the first time. She does the number perfectly, because someone else might make the coreography look silly in some parts. : ) But that doesn't happen with MM. I like the other songs too, though I have to agree with you, that Ethel Merman is annoying! Her voice is... Well, I can't bare it either.

There are parts that shouldn't have been ever filmed, but not very many. : ) The movie gets quite boring, but then Marilyn comes and saves the whole thing. TNBLSB wouldn't have been really anything without Marilyn. smile1.gif
princesshapnick
When I first saw this film, I kind of liked it. But sometimes, I fast forwarded a few scenes to when Marilyn came on. I can usually last a few scenes without Marilyn, but if it's a really long scene without Marilyn, I will definitely fast forward. But I loved all of her musical numbers, particularly Heatwave and After You Get What You Want (You Don't Want It). Even though she was so glamorous in this movie, it's just one of those films that may stay on my shelf for a while until the next viewing...
Alanma
Loreleime is right about the choreography of 'When you get what you want'.
It is unspeakably bad, and wholly unnecessary anyway. The moves are wholly out of keeping, awkward and have no flow. The costume is just as jarring on the eye.
That song should be sung as a smoochy solo to one selected stooge in the audience.
'Heat Wave' is an embarrassment too.
I wonder if the Studio set Marilyn up for a fall?
But Marilyn rises above it.
dwane
they should make a version of TNBLS for the marilyn fans with ONLY her scenes so we wouldn't have to fast forward, lol.
mmmMarilyn
hahahah Dwane that is a genius idea---It was almost painful for me to sit through this fully the first time, I was like WHERE IS MARILYN!?!?!?! COME ON!
And when she did appear she lit up the screen as usual, but I agree with Alan--the choreography is just...vulgar in a way, I mean...such weird dance moves, although I do like the songs--her costumes were I think some of the most scandalous she ever wore--that "After you get what you want" costume, slit up to there, flesh toned, with the weird sparkly things on her bosoms and with that huge head thing---and the little black undies under that huge skirt paired with basically a bra for the "Heatwave" number--WOW!
But ok, it is about "show business" after all, and she's supposed to look flashy but for me, overall not a great movie, she's the best thing in it and does, as Alan said, rise above it.
Katri^
I have to agree with you about After you get what you want (you don't want it). I've never liked that song, and the coreography must be one of the worst ever made. It should have been much more simple. There's too much in it, the costume and the moves are just too weird to me.
lorelei
I like "Lazy" perfomance.
I like this movie for it's good songs and bright colours.
Elsie Marina
This isn't my favourite Marilyn film but I don't think it is as bad as some people make it out to be biggrin.gif
californiadude
I actually really like Marilyn's character, Vickie, in this movie. I love the fact that she is career driven, and she doesn't need a man to be happy and successful. I just love how she is more concerned with her career, and the scene where it comes down to him or her job, she picks the job. I just find her character to be ahead of her time.

Anyone else think this?
Elsie Marina
I thought that too biggrin.gif
Alanma
QUOTE(californiadude @ Jul 8 2008, 12:32 PM) *
I actually really like Marilyn's character, Vickie, in this movie. I love the fact that she is career driven, and she doesn't need a man to be happy and successful. I just love how she is more concerned with her career, and the scene where it comes down to him or her job, she picks the job. I just find her character to be ahead of her time.

Anyone else think this?


Rather like Marilyn herself!
Tiina
Okay... I hate this movie yuk.gif I have never watched the whole thing even though I've tried a couple of times! It's just too much for me to bear lol. The Donahues... ugh! laugh.gif I always fast forward scenes to when Marilyn comes on, because her musical numbers are great, I have to admit, and she looks absolutely gorgeous!
However I don't think anyone would remember this movie at all if it didn't have Marilyn in it.
Vicoria Hoffman 1975
I like her musical numbers although they are a bit OTT. The rest of the film it seems like she just says her lines and thats it, she cant be bothered! I noticed the way she mentions having no family and being on her own since she was fifteen. Also when she tells her manager she has known what she was doing since she was six years old. Its like a thinly disguised biography.

I read somewhere that Mitzi Gaynor had 'snubbed' her during the making of the movie but not exactly what went on. Was it true?
princesshapnick
I actually watched this film from start to finish yesterday. I made myself sit through everything with absolutely no use of the remote control. And at the end of it, I actually really liked it. (Please don't shoot me! And take your jaw off the ground!)

I thought Mitzi Gaynor was quite a good dancer, along with Donald O'Connor. I actually found myself laughing at Ethel Merman. Because I thought she had some witty lines and a few of my favourite scenes include her talking badly about Vicky! ("The girl who steals everybody's material wants to talk to you!")

But obviously, Marilyn shined above every single person in the film. And to be honest, I can see myself watching the whole of the film again. Yeah, the story is forgettable but I'm beginning to like most of the musical numbers. I ended up singing some of the songs after I watched it yesterday! How my Ethel Merman-type singing annoyed my family something bad. coolio.gif
ziggy
^Glad you liked it.

What can I say that hasn't been said. It's a dreadful bore. Overtly tacky, packed with clichés. The jokes are unfunny, the musical numbers lack imagination, there's not a hint of irony or attitude. It's badly acted, badly directed, and above all, badly scripted. The predictability of the plot is beyond frustrating. Marilyn is stiff and the Heat Wave number is just plain vulgar, not provocative and controversial in the vein of her brightest moments.

She sings beautifully, though, and both AYGWYW and Lazy grab your attention in the middle of all the painful blur. There's cruel irony about the fact that the two films where her singing blossomed, River and Business, were also the worst she made once she'd become a star.
Bobby
QUOTE(ziggy @ Jul 31 2008, 10:29 PM) *
There's cruel irony about the fact that the two films where her singing blossomed, River and Business, were also the worst she made once she'd become a star.

It's funny, I never picked up on that but you're absoltuely right. Very good point.
lorileime
QUOTE(ziggy @ Jul 31 2008, 04:29 PM) *
^Glad you liked it.

What can I say that hasn't been said. It's a dreadful bore. Overtly tacky, packed with clichés. The jokes are unfunny, the musical numbers lack imagination, there's not a hint of irony or attitude. It's badly acted, badly directed, and above all, badly scripted. The predictability of the plot is beyond frustrating. Marilyn is stiff and the Heat Wave number is just plain vulgar, not provocative and controversial in the vein of her brightest moments.

She sings beautifully, though, and both AYGWYW and Lazy grab your attention in the middle of all the painful blur. There's cruel irony about the fact that the two films where her singing blossomed, River and Business, were also the worst she made once she'd become a star.

But do you REALLY feel?
ziggy
^Do I really feel what? I really do feel this way about the movie, if that's what you're asking.
princesshapnick
I've noticed a film mistake that isn't mentioned on IMDb. I'm very proud!

This is the mistake:
It was the scene after Vicky had performed her Heatwave number. Tim walks her to her doorstep and says goodnight so she closes the door on him. Realising he was carrying one of Vicky's breadsticks, he knocks on her door. But just before Marilyn (as Vicky) opens the door, if you look in the window directly to the left of the door, you can see Marilyn's arm, indicating that she is touching the door handle. And she waits in that position for a few seconds and then finally opens the door to Tim. Just a minor mistake, I know but hey. Look out for it if or when you watch this film again!
lorileime
QUOTE(princesshapnick @ Oct 17 2008, 06:27 AM) *
I've noticed a film mistake that isn't mentioned on IMDb. I'm very proud!

This is the mistake:
It was the scene after Vicky had performed her Heatwave number. Tim walks her to her doorstep and says goodnight so she closes the door on him. Realising he was carrying one of Vicky's breadsticks, he knocks on her door. But just before Marilyn (as Vicky) opens the door, if you look in the window directly to the left of the door, you can see Marilyn's arm, indicating that she is touching the door handle. And she waits in that position for a few seconds and then finally opens the door to Tim. Just a minor mistake, I know but hey. Look out for it if or when you watch this film again!

Strangely I had noticed that before but don't count it as a mistake. At least, it's not an acting mistake. If anything, it's a directing mistake and a lighting mistake. But you're right, it shouldn't have been filmed that way. Most people would miss it, but when you watch a movie over and over, like we do, those things start to become obvious. Good call.
Paju
I don't think it's that bad. It's not a significant movie, and yes the plot is predictable, not Marilyn's best performance etc. But if you take it as what it is, a tribute to Irving Berlin's music - a light musical comedy, then I say it's not such a horrible way to pass your time. It's colorful, entertaining and helps you forget about your everyday problems for a while. I watch it sometimes and enjoy it. But I'm not saying it's the greatest movie ever made.
waif55
QUOTE(Alanma @ May 30 2008, 11:42 AM) *
Loreleime is right about the choreography of 'When you get what you want'.
It is unspeakably bad, and wholly unnecessary anyway. The moves are wholly out of keeping, awkward and have no flow. The costume is just as jarring on the eye.
That song should be sung as a smoochy solo to one selected stooge in the audience.
'Heat Wave' is an embarrassment too.
I wonder if the Studio set Marilyn up for a fall?
But Marilyn rises above it.



I love MM's singing in TNBLSB but Jack Cole should have been shot for that choreography! What she does in "After You Get..." is absurd and truly vulgar. "Heat Wave" is slightly better because she has some room to move, but our girl was no dancer, and Cole didn't help her out in this one. It's her worst performance. In "River of No Return" at least she looks ravishing, but here, she's close to cheap and nothnig special. But again, heer voice was great, and the last time she'd use her "low" voice for singing---she went rather babyish for "Some Like It Hot" and "Let's Make Love"
SugarKane78
QUOTE(Tiina @ Jul 10 2008, 09:57 PM) *
Okay... I hate this movie yuk.gif I have never watched the whole thing even though I've tried a couple of times! It's just too much for me to bear lol. The Donahues... ugh! laugh.gif I always fast forward scenes to when Marilyn comes on, because her musical numbers are great, I have to admit, and she looks absolutely gorgeous!
However I don't think anyone would remember this movie at all if it didn't have Marilyn in it.



Me too! I just watched this move and hated it. I fast forwarded through every scene that MM was not in...Her dance numbers were bearable because she looks beautiful, but I just feel like the film was a huge waste of her talent.
Scottish Sugar
I've never understood the complete hatred for this film! lol I actually really like it. But then, fluffy 40's and 50's musicals are my absolute favourite genre of film.


Good points:

* "A Man Chases A Girl, Until She Catches Him" musical number is one of my favourite moments in movie history EVER! (Funnily enough, my other favourite moment is another Donald O'Connor musical number, "Make Em Laugh" from 'Singin' In The Rain.'
* Marilyn! I think she gives a great preformance and she makes the musical numbers her own.
* The ending!... man, I always cry at the end when Tim comes back from the "dead"
* The over the top, colourful, larger than life musical numbers, LOVE the final version of "There's No Business Like Show Business"
* The overall fluffiness of it all! It's just an awesome film you can stick on, on a saturday afternoon and just get lost in it.. I love it smile1.gif
* Donald O'Connor's "Scottish dance" in "Alexander's Ragtime Band", is SO adorable!
* Marilyn's dress before the "A Man Chases A Girl, Until She Catches Him" number

Bad Points:

*I think Marilyn's charatcer Vicky Parker is her least likeable
* Donald O'Connor is one of my favourite male stars of Old Hollywood, he is simply magic to watch, but I don't think he and Marilyn made a very believable couple
* It wasn't until fairly recently did I even realise how bad the routine for "After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It" is.. it didn't even occur to me it was because of Marilyn's lack of dance training. It's so glaringly obvious now when I watch it, I wish they'd done a better job of it, as it's a great musical number and her dress is gorgeous.
*Johnny Ray's mouth movements when he's singing "If You Believe" WTF?! lol
princesshapnick
^Interesting points, Lorraine. And a good idea to do. I think I'll do the same! mf_w00t1.gif

Good points of There's No Business Like Show Business:
- Marilyn looks stunning and her singing voice is shown to great effect in 'Lazy' and 'Heatwave'.
- Most of the songs are pretty catchy, including MM's, of course.
- I love the film's gloriously colourful sets/locations and the general feel-good aspect of it - though a bit too long for my liking. Not a criticism though.
- Ethel Merman, though frightfully annoying, makes me laugh in this film!

Bad points of There's No Business Like Show Business:
- The guy who plays Steve Donahue annoys me very, very much. Sorry, but he does. unsure.gif
- The pretty bad dancing to 'After You Get What You Want' - I don't think it was down to Marilyn's dancing abilities, just down to the awful choreography.
- I found Mitzi Gaynor to be awkward-looking in this film, though I have to admit, I haven't seen any other film that she was in. I just feel a sense of rivalry between her and MM. It might be just me there but I dunno. She had some cute outfits in this film though.
- The plotline of the film is very weak, in my opinion.
audreyfan1
Lorraine and Becky, you both make a lot of really great points.

I have to agree with you both. I think that really, the only reason this film has any merit at all is because of Marilyn's performance in it. The plot is weak, I don't think Marilyn and Donald O'Connor have good on-screen chemistry at all, the film is a bit too long and even for a musical there are too many songs, I think the film wouldn't have suffered at all if 1 or 2 of the songs were cut (although none of Marilyn's of course!).

I think there are just too many main characters in this movie too. The Donahues are such a large family and the film did a good job of making sure no one Donahue overshadowed any of the others, but I also think that that's what makes it feel like the number of characters in the film is a bit overwhelming.

But, despite its negative aspects, this is one of those films that always makes me happy when I watch it. It's so colourful and light. And I get the sense that all of the actors had a fun time making it. It's surefire cure for the blues! biggrin.gif
Robby
I just re watched this movie after a lóng time.

What can I say what hasn't been said before. The plot of the movie is mediocre at best, the characters are pretty forgettable, and except for After You Get What You Want and Heat Wave, I find the musical numbers quite dull and lengthy. Later on in the movie I just started to skip them. I only watched this movie for the Marilyn scenes. It's my least favorite Marilyn movie (not counting the films where she had just a bit part). I know Ethel Merman was a musical legend, but sometimes I found her voice quite annoying. Same goes for Johnnie Ray.
bruno
According to me, the worst of MM movies :
boring, fake, affected, very narcissic, and of bad taste (backgrounds, costumes, choregraphies...). Acting is also terrible.
It sounds for me like a huge indigestible hollywood cake.

But aside from this, MM voice is at her peak.
Bad point though : it might be that for contract reasons, it is not hers, but Dolores Gray's,
which I have been surprised to read, and I am checking the source with the author of the information.
sugarkane20
In the movie that is her voice but in the soundtrack its not
Scottish Sugar
QUOTE(sugarkane20 @ Oct 5 2010, 04:27 AM) *
In the movie that is her voice but in the soundtrack its not


Really? that's suprising to me because I listen to the soundtrack all the time and never once did I think the voice wasn't Marilyn's. Sure enough the vocals on Heat Wave are slightly different, but still, I could swear it's Marilyn.

Do you have a source? bye1.gif

xx
sugarkane20
I never heard the soundtrack. I read this off imdb.com trivia section its says, Marilyns voice on the Decca soundtrack album for "Theres no business for show business" was replaced by singer Dolores Gray becauses monroe's voice was under contract to another record company that would not release the rights for use on the album. I read this somewhere else also but i cant remeber.

In my opinion i consider this movie marilyn's worst acting. I wish marilyn and mitzi had more screen time i loved her in "South Pacific"
Scottish Sugar
I wouldn't believe everything you read on IMDb, its the same as Wikipedia, it can be edited by just about anyone.

Now unless they re-released the soundtrack with marilyns vocals? That's the only way I can see that being true, because trust me, the soundtrack I have is 100 and 10million% marilyn smile1.gif
lorileime
Yes, there are two different soundtracks to this movie. One with MM and one with Dolores Grey. I have both of them. The original LP has Grey's voice and that was the official release version of the soundtrack made by the recording studio. The reason is as mentioned above. MM's voice was owned by Columbia Records at the time from a long standing contract she made while with them. I guess they did that when she recorded the songs for Ladies of the Chorus. They later, much, much later, maybe even after MM died, released the original recordings through MGM (I think) because the original contract had expired. And, the studio released two different versions of the song Heat Wave. The movie version is a bad version. MM missed a lot in her tonality in that version. I think the story was that MGM had come up with a certain dance routine with one of their choreographers and MM wasn't pleased at all with the production of the Heat Wave number. I think that made her just want to get the whole thing over and done with and she didn't give it her all when she recorded the song. But, somehow she was able to convice the studio and Jack Cole to come over to MGM and redo that number with her. Better choreography, better everything. So, I think she re-recorded the song but it was too late to have it synced into the movie. So, years later there are two versions of MM singing that song. The better one is often listed as Heat Wave (Alternate Version) and she sounds much, much better on it. She hits all the notes perfectly. A lot this is theory, but I can tell you for sure that there are two different versions of that song and I know that she did get Cole to come over and redo that number.
CYRILPARIS
from Dressing Marilyn, by Andrew Hansford
marilyn144
BLU-RAY
MarilynIloveU
Blu-Ray for this? It wouldn't see the light of day on blu-ray or even DVD if it wasn't for Marilyn.

Saying that, I haven't seen the film. Ethel Merman's voice is horrific, I can't listen to that, not even for Marilyn. Does that make me a bad fan?

What would be a good idea is if someone could post at what points to skip to on the DVD.
Mark7
"Now Showing - There's No Business Like Show Business" short clip showing the advertising sign outside a movie theatre in 1954

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTsPaXOVYXg


Click to view attachment

meganmarilyn
Never heard this. Marilyn collapsed three times in one day during shooting on June 24, 1954. Most likely during her song/dance numbers. Her doctor said it was from nervous exhaustion.
meganmarilyn
This is neat!

The original versions of Irving Berlin's songs "After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It", "Heat Wave", "Lazy", and "You'd Be Suprised". Amazing how Marilyn made those songs her own.

"After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It" (1920)
- by Van & Schenck. The song soared to #2 in record sales in 1920.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sUe28J921U

"Heat Wave" (1933)
- by Ethel Waters. This was a popular song written for the 1933 musical "As Thousands Cheer."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5PpCCfhBhY

"Lazy" (1924)
- by Al Johlson.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgI0tJNCIOo

"You'd Be Surprised" (1919)
- by Eddie Cantor. (I love this version compared to MM's)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NZ1nf2YGEs
meganmarilyn
QUOTE(lorileime @ May 30 2008, 06:13 AM) *
As far as the musical numbers, many of them are fine. I'm not happy with AYGWYW. I thought the correography was totally uncomplimentary to Marilyn's ability.


I myself loved her dance movements in this number. The way she used her legs and the expression of her hands. And her interactions with the customers at their tables. My fav part is when she goes..."baby!" towards the end. That is MM at her best. Don't understand what about the correography is uncomplimentary.

She filmed this scene on her birthday.
meganmarilyn
Marilyn's rehearsal record of "After You Get What You Want, You Don't Want It." (found on youtube)

So beautiful to hear her voice without the movie's instrumental music behind it. Only music is very light in the background. The audio was so bad with hiss, I used an audio editor to clean, and it sounds good now.

This is very rare, probably the only demo we know, of one of her musical numbers.

- It will start playing the song. You can download where it says on bottom right.
(1954) After You Get What You Want (Rehearsal Record)..mp3

- Here it is with a cool echo effect. Just like Marilyn is singing on stage.
(1954) After You Get What You Want (Rehearsal Record) ECHO
JC 96816
marilynbybrandon_190.gif Thanks Megan...
bruno
Yes, thanks a lot, this is very interesting !
CYRILPARIS
With the daughter of Nunnally Johnson at the right, Christie Lucero
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