John Lyttle on film

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The Independent Online
She was the last blonde. Sure, there have been blondes since: Hawn, Stone, Pfeiffer are bleach babies deluxe. But they aren't Marilyn Monroe.

That time, that glow, that sexual innocence can't be duplicated. Her successors can't be goddesses, unless it's an ironic nod to a glorious past. And they weren't built - and owned - by a studio; a sweet and sour slavery that could simultaneously propel a career into the heavens and yet forever damage the mere mortal made into a star.

Lucky - and unlucky - them. For Marilyn Monroe's heart belonged not to Daddy, but to 20th Century Fox, which is why she was both perfection and damaged goods. The real thing made product for the masses: not so much a trade-off as a contradiction, bound to tear the fragile apart.

Which is why MM (right) isn't here to celebrate what would have been her 70th birthday, tomorrow. That's a crying shame - until you look at the work: The Seven Year Itch, The Prince and the Showgirl, Some Like it Hot... Then it's hard to dispel the unworthy thought that maybe the price, like the pain, was worth it.

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