Thursday, March 30, 2017

Breaking Down "Secret Life" Part 9/10

This week we take a look at Marilyn's marriage to Arthur and the end of it, as well as Marilyn's pill usage and failed pregnancies. Before continuing, please check out the previous parts of my review so that you’re all caught up! Special thank you to Elisa Jordan for seeking more information for me on Gladys's alleged suicide attempt. Trigger warnings: mental illness, sanitarium, razor blades, suicide attempts

Links are here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

THE MOVIE(1): Marilyn is pacing the room of what is assumed would be a house in Palm Springs. Two men soon enter the room, notifying her that they president is ready to see her. They escort Marilyn down a walkway to JFK’s room, where Marilyn disappears to.

From "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe"

REAL LIFE(1): Okay. Here’s where the controversy starts. The official presidential schedule places JFK at a luncheon at the Lawfords in November of 1961. Supposedly this may have been Marilyn and JFK’s first meeting, however there is no evidence to prove that Marilyn was actually there. So the first confirmed meeting between them was in fact at Bing Crosby’s Palm Springs home in March of 1962. This is substantiated by a reliable Marilyn source: Ralph Roberts. Ralph Roberts was Marilyn’s masseur and close friend. He is one of the small handful of people who knew Marilyn who remain trust worthy today. He says that he received a call from Marilyn the day she was in Palm Springs, and that she had put Jack on the phone to ask Ralph questions about muscles in his back. Ralph had said he had immediately recognized Jack’s distinctive voice. This is the only day/night in history where something may or may not have happened between Marilyn Monroe and JFK. We’ll truly never know, but this is the only possible time. All those photos you see of them are either photoshopped or look alikes. Two photos exist of them together: both in crowded rooms full of people.

THE MOVIE(2): The movie cuts to Marilyn and Pat lounging poolside and having a discussion about JFK. Marilyn says she had an immediate connection with him, saying “I haven’t felt anything like it since I met Joe,” and, “Just between you and me, he’s going to divorce Jackie.” Marilyn then implies that her goal is to marry Jack and become Pat’s “sister.”

REAL LIFE(2): Let’s just establish this to start off: by no reliable account was Marilyn ever jealous of Jackie, wanting to be Jackie, wanting to marry JFK, wanting to become Pat’s sister, or delusional over JFK or Jackie. The fact that this situation continues to be falsely documented in books and magazines today is mind-blowing. Forget everything you hear about Marilyn and Jackie, it isn’t true. It never happened. The general public today is always much more interested in the juicier stories and conspiracies, rather than the cold, hard truth.  As Marilyn once said herself in a handwritten note: “The truth can only be recalled, never invented.” Remember that next time you hear those insane rumors.

From "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe"

THE MOVIE(3):We are now deep into the JFK delusion which we have now covered and determined that none of it actually happened. Marilyn is at home attempting to reach the president, who is unavailable. Marilyn becomes furious, and slams the phone down on the receiver repeatedly. The movie soon cuts to the scene of Marilyn sorting through her mail. She notices a letter from her mother Gladys. However, she notices that it had already been opened. Not only that, but she proceeds to burst into a tangent of delusional accusations such as “They poisoned it,” and, “It had to be Jackie.” Marilyn then races into the kitchen, sets the note on fire with a lighter, and burns it in the sink. She assumes Jackie sent the poison-laced letter to her pretending to be Gladys.

REAL LIFE(3): As we’ve covered previously in this review, it was Marilyn’s mother that was schizophrenic and had outbursts of paranoia, not Marilyn. Saying something such as a letter being laced with poison is something someone with Gladys’s condition is more likely to say. However there is one incident that Marilyn’s sister Berniece covers in her book, upon her visit to Marilyn in the early 1960’s. Berniece says that Marilyn thought the food she received was poisoned. Berniece is a reliable source, but this seems entirely out of character for Marilyn and we only have her word. I'm not sure that I fully trust this claim. But by no account did Marilyn ever receive a letter she accused of being contaminated, and certainly not from Jackie.

From "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe"

THE MOVIE(4): Marilyn is visiting her mother at the asylum and notifies her that she will be moving away to New York. She says, “I have a friend there. A very important man. I can’t tell you who he is.” The movie then cuts to a scene where Marilyn is on the floor of her New York hotel room, seemingly drunk or dazed. She crawls towards the window, forces it open, and looks down at the street below, contemplating whether or not to jump out and end her life.

REAL LIFE(4): Again, Marilyn never saw her mother when she was institutionalized so we can ignore the meeting represented in the film. The “important man” we have to assume is JFK, who we now know Marilyn was not delusional over, nor was she picturing a life with him. So we can ignore that comment as well. So let’s go straight to the hotel room scene. Marilyn herself told this story to Ralph Roberts, who we, as previously stated, is a reliable source. According to him, shortly after Marilyn’s divorce from Arthur Miller, Marilyn had a suicidal impulse to jump out her 13th floor apartment window. This is ultimately what led to her admission to Payne Whitney, which we will cover right now.

From "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe"

THE MOVIE(5): Marilyn is dragged into a sanitarium against her will. She is in a strait jacket and is thrown and locked into a padded cell as she screams for help. Eventually, Joe comes to her rescue, demanding that she be released immediately, threatening to turn the establishment down “piece of wood by piece of wood.”

REAL LIFE(5): In 1961, Marilyn’s psychiatrist., Dr. Marianne Kris, suggested Marilyn receive further treatment at a facility. She failed to mention that place would be a sanitarium. That February, Marilyn was admitted to the Payne Whitney Clinic, the psychiatric division of the Cornell University Hospital, and endured five days of being held against her will there. She felt helpless. She was not severely unstable, and did not believe Payne Whitney was the right place for her. Shortly after her release, she wrote a famous six page letter to Dr. Ralph Greenson, in which she detailed her stay at the sanitarium. She states, “There was no empathy at Payne Whitney – it had a very bad effect – they asked me after putting me in a ‘cell’ (I mean cement blocks and all) for very disturbed depressed patients (except I/felt I was in some kind of prison for a crime I hadn’t committed.” Furthermore, it was not Joe alone that came and rescued Marilyn from the sanitarium. Joe did, however, demand that Dr. Kris release Marilyn from the institution, which Kris agreed to. Once Marilyn was released, she was driven home by friend Ralph Roberts and also Dr. Kris, who was immediately fired.

From "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe"
Marilyn upon her release from Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where she stayed for a few weeks to recover after Payne Whitney

THE MOVIE(6): Gladys learns of her daughter's admission to Payne Whitney. She takes a razor blade to her wrist, and is hospitalized, narrowly escaping death. Once Marilyn is recovers, she visits Gladys in the hospital, and is told that Gladys will be all right.

REAL LIFE(6): This scene may have been inspired by an event that actually occurred, but not with a razor. In Marilyn’s letter to Dr. Greenson in which she describes her experience at Payne Whitney, she speaks of one incident that occurred involving a shard of glass. Here are her exact quotes: “I went back into my room knowing they had lied to me about the telephone and I sat on the bed trying to figure if I was given this situation in an acting improvisation what would I do. I got the idea from a movie I made once called ‘Don’t Bother To Knock.’ I picked up a light-weight chair and slammed it, and it was hard to do because I had never broken anything in my life – against the glass intentionally. It took a lot of banging to get even a small piece of glass – so I went over with the glass concealed in my hand and sat quietly on the bed waiting for them to come in. They did, and I said to them, ‘If you are going to treat me like a nut I’ll act like a nut.’ I admit the next thing is corny but I really did it in the movie except it was with a razor blade. I indicated if they didn’t let me out I would harm myself – the furthest thing from my mind at that moment since you know Dr. Greenson I’m an actress and would never intentionally mark or mar myself, I’m just that vain.” She then goes on to describe how four strong men carried her up to the seventh floor in the elevator and put in another cell. As far as Gladys’s suicide attempt, there is nothing on record to prove this incident happened. There are only rumors that float around, nothing to be taken too seriously. And we know by now that the last time it is confirmed that Marilyn even saw her mother was back in the 1940’s.

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