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Was girl in 'stag' film the young Monroe?

The protectors of Marilyn Monroe's image say a collector who wants $500,000 for a short 1940s stag film is committing fraud and violating the actress's intellectual property rights by claiming it shows her having sex when she was under age.

Mikel Barsa, a Spanish events promoter, insists the scratchy six-minute film, made around 1946 or 1947, shows the young actress, known then as Norma Jeane Baker, when she was poor and desperate to break into showbusiness.

Experts say it is highly unlikely that the woman in the film is Monroe. Comparing the film with known Monroe images leaves ample room for doubt. Mr Barsa maintains it is Monroe, and says he'll broker the sale anyway. "It's always the same story when it comes toMarilyn – to deny, deny, deny and to threaten," he said.

He guesses the film was made in the months before Monroe signed on with 20th Century Fox in 1947. Monroe "wasn't a prude", said Lois Banner, who wrote MM-Personal: From the Private Arch- ive of Marilyn Monroe. But she also considers it doubtful that financial difficulties would have put her in such a spot. Even at her poorest in 1947, Monroe had a wealthy couple helping out by providing her with $100 a week, she said. (AP)