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05 March 2017

Collecting Marilyn

Today's post is a carte blanche for my friend, collector Carla Bosch (a.k.a. Meiter). Carla: "My postcard collection started when my husband gave me a book: Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates. It is an imagined biography about Marilyn Monroe. I was sold. I wanted to know everything about her and started reading books about Marilyn and collecting her postcards. I did not realise there were so many modern postcards. I decided to restrict myself to the original, old postcards. They are, however, rather expensive, so I don't have too many of those. That makes it easier to choose, fortunately." 

"A few years ago, it did bring me into contact with a new friend in the UK: she has a very extensive postcard collection of Marilyn Monroe. Once in a while I buy a few from her (modern cards). When I told her about the list, she sent me pictures of a few of her 'old' Marilyn postcards. There is, I think, a difference between our collections: I always have liked (kitschy) pin up cards of the sixties and seventies, so my cards are mostly pictures of Marilyn in bathing suit or sexy outfit. My friend's cards are more virtuous (yes Tink, they are), though that is rather difficult in the case of sex bomb Marilyn Monroe. "

"Here they are, a combination of my friend's and my original postcards:"

Marilyn Monroe

1. "My absolute pride. I have not seen this card very often. I think it was made to promote River of No Return, but I am not sure. On the back it only says Nr. PU 13. Perhaps it is part of a series P(in) U(p) cards. It does not matter: I think it's beautiful, I like to boast of it and I am very careful with it."

Marilyn Monroe

2. "I think this is the kind of card which many beginning film stars had made. I like those cards; they are not vulgar. They radiate a kind of optimism; maybe it has something to do with the period after the Second World War when everybody was relieved and hopeful. There is a similar postcard, but coloured:"

Marilyn Monroe

3. "Beautiful! The colours make it more radiant. She has a combination of vulnerability and provocative sex appeal. Marilyn was not the only pin up, of course. She was one of many who tried to make it as an actress. She eventually made it in Hollywood, yet always remained a pin up girl. I have one more original pin up card of her:"

Marilyn Monroe

4. "On this card she seems older, with a fuller figure. Wonderful, just like an ordinary woman. Enough about Marilyn's body. She was more than that."

Marilyn Monroe

5. "Even on promotional cards for her films, she did not lose the air of being a pin up. This is a German card for River of No Return in 1954. Her sex bomb charisma probably did contribute to her success in movies, yet she did have talent as a comedic actress: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Some Like It Hot, and The Seven Year Itch are all funny movies which still stand firm today."

Marilyn Monroe

6. "You always had the feeling with Marilyn that she laughed with every fibre of her being. This is such a picture. Strange, when you consider she did not lead a very happy life. She was afraid she would end the way her mother did: in a mental institution. There was definitely a flaw in Marilyn's character, but she tried to laugh it away bravely."

Marilyn Monroe

7. "This is an Italian Rotalfoto card. I have no idea when or where it was taken. I guess in 1953 when Gentlemen Prefer Blondes came out. I like it. With the flowers in front of her. I wonder what it would have looked like if the card was coloured..."

Marilyn Monroe

8. "In this picture Marilyn seems to be a celebrated, happy movie star. I will not say it again: that the opposite was true."

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

9 and 10. "These are German publicity cards for Let's Make Love (1960). Shooting this movie had been rather stressful: the other main character, Yves Montand, did not speak English and had difficulties to understand and pronounce his lines. Marilyn already had a reputation of coming too late on the set and forgetting her text. On top of that Yves and Marilyn became romantically involved while their respective spouses, Simone Signoret and Arthur Miller, were present. Marilyn looks older in this picture. Is it the hair, her laugh, her more composed appearance? But beautiful as ever."

Marilyn Monroe

11. "With Marilyn, you never knew whether she was acting or just being herself. There probably was not much difference between Marilyn, the actress, and Marilyn, the 'original' Norma Jeane Mortenson. I guess it was difficult for her to make a distinction between real life and movies. She always knew when there were cameras present and acted accordingly. Unfortunately, she was always being filmed and photographed and her life became a real-life soap."

Marilyn Monroe

12. "There are numerous modern cards of Marilyn Monroe. Many photographers photographed her (Richard Avedon, Milton Greene, Bernard of Hollywood, Bert Stern....). I cannot choose a favourite photographer, because Marilyn Monroe is photogenic and all cameras love her. Yet, there are also many editors that edit modern cards of her. And I do have a favourite editor: Zoetrope Images. Zoetrope Images publishes cards which all combine this innocent and sex bomb charisma. This card is one of them: Marilyn in We're Not Married (1952).

As you could read: it is difficult to talk/write about Marilyn Monroe and not mention her appearance. She was not fit for a modelling career, because she did not have the right body. She did, however, make it in the world of movies. Her body and appearance certainly helped. But let's not forget she was a talented comedic actress and received a Golden Globe for Best Actress in 1960.

I think it would also be interesting to make a list with actresses and pin up models who resembled Marilyn Monroe. Some thought it a compliment to be compared to Marilyn, others thought it was an insult to be compared to her. Perhaps an idea for the next list?"

Great idea. Thank you so much for this guest post, Carla! And also thanks to Tink for borrowing her postcards for this post!

1 comment:

Bunched Undies said...

Very enjoyable post. It's always fun to look at Marilyn.