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Everlasting Star Community > The experts' lounge > Marilyn's movies
I thought I'd start a thread on chemistry - who do you think Marilyn had the most amount of chemistry with and the least amount of chemistry in her movies, in your opinion? I was thinking about this from the 'Co-stars' thread and that it would be a good idea as to go into detail.

Most amount of chemistry: Jack Lemmon

In a lot of their scenes together in Some Like It Hot (especially at the start), they're always smiling together. I realise that is probably down to direction as well, but to me, their smiles are very very natural; like the end of the scene where she sings Runnin' Wild - Marilyn's giggly smile and Jack's wide smile to each other always manages to make me smile too every single time. I can just sense that they loved working together. Marilyn seems to be having a great time working with Jack, despite the personal troubles she was having at the time.

It's not also just the smiles that bring about the marvellous chemistry. For me, their general scenes together, like the scenes in the ocean and the cute night-time drinks party, are incredibly adorable as if they had known each other a long long while. And this fun showed behind the scenes as well as there are a large number of photos of them laughing together. I bet working with Jack was a breath of fresh air for Marilyn; I read somewhere that she had been a big fan of his work (and had an impressive knowledge of his previous roles) and was overwhelmed to be working with him. I guess she needed someone to really make her happy at work as we know she was unhappy at home with Arthur Miller and disagreed with Billy Wilder and bad tensions with Tony Curtis.

She also had great chemistry with:
Jane Russell, Joseph Cotton, Richard Widmark, David Wayne, Cary Grant.

Least amount of chemistry: Yves Montand

Although I generally don't like Let's Make Love that much (still love Marilyn on her own in it though!), I think Marilyn's work with Yves was not a great standard at all. She seems 'lost' in scenes with him. That could be down to direction but she seems awkward around him, which is pretty bad as almost all of her scenes include him. I know their real-life romance played on her mind and that could have affected her chemistry with him on-screen, especially with the thought that he never planned on leaving his wife. I realise a lot of fans thought he was a jerk to Marilyn, but it's unfortunate this couldn't have been covered up for the movie.

I kind of get really tensed up whenever she kisses him in the film. I almost don't want her to because of what was happening in real life. I'm not blaming their lack of chemistry entirely on their romance, obviously the whole movie wasn't up to scratch either.

Other unfortunate lack of chemistry:
Robert Mitchum, Lauren Bacall, Donald O'Connor, Laurance Olivier.
Great topic!

I agree, she had terrific chemistry with Jack Lemmon. I thought the scene in SLIH where she climbed into his bunk was absolutely hilarious. I think she actually had very good chemistry with Tony Curtis too, despite whateveer problems they had off the set.

Marilyn and Jane Russell were also amazing together. I think she also had great chemistry with the actor in The 7 Year Itch (forgot his name), Clark Gable, Eli Wallach, Montgomery Clift, that female actress in The Misfits (forgot her name too, but I love that movie, I know making it was tortuous but I still think it was great). She was also hilarious with Cary Grant. I think she would have been terrific with Dean Martin from the documentary I saw about SGTG, I wish they had finished that movie.

Though her part was very small, I think she was terrific with that actor in THe Asphalt Jungle.

For lack of chemistry, I agree, Yves Montand, but I think that movie just derailed and his character was kind of a buffoon. I also agree about Olivier. I will add that actor in There's No Business Like Show Business to that - I forgot his name too, but he irritated me so much.
I agree that Marilyn and Jack Lemmon had the greatest chemistry.

I also think she had great chemistry with:
Jane Russell, Betty Grable, Richard Widmark, Cary Grant, David Wayne, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, Joseph Cotton, Eli Wallach, Tom Ewell, Thelma Ritter and the brief time they were on screen together, Dean Martin, and I agree with Melissa about Tony Curtis.

I think she had bad chemistry with:
Yves Montand, Donald O'Conner, Lawrence Olivier, Don Murray (sort of, I'm on the fence about him. Sometimes it seems like they had good chemistry, but other times it feels like they just didn't click at all), Lauren Bacall, and Robert Mitchum.

I think Marilyn had the greatest chemistry whenever she performed with animals and children, like in "We're Not Married", "Don't Bother To Knock", or "Something's Got To Give". That's when she seemed her most comfortable and happy on screen to me.
Scottish Sugar
Ok so I know there's only been a couple of replies so far, but I can't believe no-one has mentioned Rory Calhoun yet! I thought he and Marilyn were ELECTRIC in 'River Of No Return"... could you imagine just how good looking their kids would have been?! lol. Maybe he's never mentioned in terms of on screen chemistry because the film itself isn't that highly rated among fans. But definitely I would put Rory Calhoun up there with the rest of them smile1.gif

I have to say Jane Russell. Marilyn and Jane had amazing chemistry in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" I don't think ANYBODY could doubt that and I just think it's such a shame that they never got to work together again as they made a great pairing. But then, maybe that's what makes GPB even MORE special, the fact that it was a one off with a magical pairing like Monroe and Russell.

Secondly I would say Mr Jack Lemmon. What can I say about Marilyn and Jacks scenes together in SLIH? other than the fact that it's pure movie perfection. I've been lucky enough to see SLIH in the cinema twice now and both times, it's Marilyn and Jacks scenes together that get the biggest laughs, esp the night time party scene on the train.
You made an interesting point about the "smile" scene Becky, I used to think it was a genuine smile too, but look at the SLIH trailer, they play that scene of Marilyn smiling (right at the very beginning)

And if you notice, 2 seconds later, her facial expression is completely back to normal, so it was definitely an "acted" smile. I'm not remotely taking away from Marilyn and Jacks chemistry together, it's blatantly obvious from all accounts that they loved working with one another and had a great working relationship marilynbybrandon_190.gif I love the fact that Jack has never once said a cruel or unkind word about Marilyn, when in truth, it probably WAS a nightmare working with her at that point in her life.

Worst chemistry?? Ummmmmm I'm not digging Marilyn and Donald O'Connor as a couple lol. Adore Donald O'Connor, he's one of my favourite Old Hollywood stars, but the chemistry between he and Marilyn just isn't there.
Good points, people! thumbup1.gif

I can see what you mean about the end of the smile, but again, that could simply be down to the direction - she was obviously still in character as Sugar so maybe Sugar didn't want Sweet Sue to see their (adorably beautiful, if I may so!) smiles to each other! It may have given the game away that Daphne covered up for her.

But yeah. Marilyn and Jack = pure perfection in a very perfect movie.
Can't get any better than that! coolio.gif

I'm surprised I didn't mention Tony Curtis - despite their bitterness behind the scenes (apparently Tony thought Marilyn favoured Jack over him - can you blame her?! I wouldn't let Jack out of my sight if I were Marilyn back then - lmao!), they did have very good chemistry, there is certainly no denying it. It doesn't come across as strongly as Marilyn's friendship with Jack, but it's there. biggrin.gif

I like to think Marilyn was close to Jack in real life - I love how she went to the premiere/sneak preview (one of the two!) of The Apartment. mf_w00t1.gif
There wasn't much, if any, chemistry between Marilyn and Frankie Vaughan in LML either.
Odd really, he was very much a 'heartthrob' to the public for all his career.
Scottish Sugar
QUOTE(princesshapnick @ Feb 2 2010, 08:17 PM) *
I like to think Marilyn was close to Jack in real life - I love how she went to the premiere/sneak preview (one of the two!) of The Apartment. mf_w00t1.gif

I'm assuming there are no pictures that exsist of the 2 of them at the premiere? *well.. obtainable pics* I never knew that, see.. I love learning new things jumpymm.gif

I too, think that there was a lack of chemistry between Yves Montand and Marilyn, but could that have been more to do with the characters they were playing and the lines they were delivering? I adore LML, it's one of my favorites but the whole thing is very 'long' and 'drawn out'.. it almost has a "sleepy" quality about it.. am I making sense? lol.. probably not..
Of course, it could have something to do with that old myth "if you've no chemistry together ON screen, then you certainly have chemistry together OFF screen" and we all know that was certainly true in Marilyn and Yves case.

I don't know, I'm simply babbling now rolleyes1.gif marilynbybrandon_190.gif
Maneki Neko
Most amount of chemistry: Jane Russell, Clark Gable, Jack Lemmon, David Wayne, Tom Ewell, Montgomery Clift, Dean Martin and Cary Grant.

Least amount of chemistry: Laurence Olivier, Donald O'Connor and Frankie Vaughan.

Groucho Marx
Jane Russell
Tom Ewell
Sybil Thorndike
Jack Lemmon
Montgomery Clift
Clark Gable
Thelma Ritter

Adele Jergens
Louis Calhern
Cary Grant
Richard Widmark
Donna Corcoran
Joseph Cotten
Tommy Noonan
George Winslow
Charles Coburn
Tommy Rettig
Eileen Heckart
Hope Lange
Arthur O'Connell
Tony Curtis
Eli Wallach

George Sanders
Keith Andes
Barbara Stanwyck
Ginger Rogers
Anne Bancroft
Lurene Tuttle
Charles Laughton
David Wayne
Lauren Bacall
Betty Grable
Don Murray
Jeremy Spenser
Richard Wattis
Dean Martin

William Lundigan
Jean Peters
Robert Mitchum
Donald O'Connor
Laurence Olivier
Frankie Vaughan

Rand Brooks
MacDonald Carey
Casey Adams
Alex D'Arcy
Yves Montand
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