Milton's Marilyn

One of my favourite books. I am a big fan of Milton's work and I find myself looking through this book quite often. You can currently get a re-issued copy at Amazon...

Author James Kotsilibas-Davis and Joshua Greene
Publisher Schirmer/Mosel
Cover Type Hardcover
Dimensions 9.5 x 12 inches
Publish Date 1994
ISBN 0-9646873-3-X
Signed by Joshua Greene - personalized inscription
Number of Pages 220


Norman Mailer nearly beat him to it with his publication of ìMarilynî and the follow up publication ìOf Women and Their Eleganceî as both books were basically collections of Milton Greeneís phenomenal photographs of Marilyn, the later featuring Greeneís photos only. Still, as wonderful as both those books are, (excusing some of Mailerís constant hyperbole), you and I both know that what we REALLY wanted was a book devoted just to Greeneís work with Marilyn, something that could provide us with one glossy page after another, reprints of some of the most dazzling still photography ever done with Monroe. And wouldnít it be great if the text, rather than going on about the ìice cream of sexî would fill us in on just what it was like to not only work with Marilyn but to give us background on Greene and Monroeís working relationship, a partnership that not only gave us ìThe Prince and the Showgirlî but hundreds upon hundreds of the finest quality photographs ever taken of the woman who forty some years after her death still has the power to draw people in from all around the globe

 It took far too many years and both of the principals were long gone by 1998 but a small miracle occurred when ìMiltonís Marilynî was released, a tiny treasure that every person who has ever admired Greeneís genius or Monroeís photogenic magic should make every attempt to own.

 Granted, it would have been terrific to sit down and read through a long interview with Milton Greene and  Marilyn Monroe talking about their all too brief working relationship but that never happened. Instead we must satisfy ourselves with Miltonís son Joshuaís memories of the collaboration and the resulting book that came out of those memories.

 And thank God for Josh Greene. If it werenít for him and his keen appreciation of just how good his father was, the majority of the incredible images the Greene/Monroe team created would have been lost forever. Much like the fate met by far too many films not stored properly, a great many of the famous Milton Greene images were slowly disintegrating. As a result of Joshua Greeneís attempt to preserve his fatherís legacy, these images have been digitally restored through the magic of Adobe Photo Shop. The result is the fact that for the first time in over 50 years these images can now be seen as crisp and as delicate as they were the very day they were first taken.

 And the images are overwhelming in their artistry. Many of the most famous images ever taken of Marilyn were Greeneís: The Chiffon dress. The Wicker Chair. The Red Sweater. The Slip and Mink series. The White Series. The Black Series. A young woman reclining in the crux of an old oak tree. A young peasant woman pulling up her stockings. But thatís not all. Greene was there during the filming of Bus Stop, during the filming of The Prince and the Showgirl and his photos form those productions match up to the high quality of his studio work.

The quote has been repeated many times but the two who first saw each other and exchanged her ìBut youíre just a boyî to his ìAnd youíre just a girlî would go on to be one of the greatest photographer/model collaborations in photography history. But the great thing is there is so much more here than just reproductions of the famous Greene photos, more than even the many not so well known images-- thereís the text.

 To be able to sit back and calmly read through the story of what brought these two together, what those in and around their circle thought of their work and remembered, (folks like Amy Greene, Susan Strasberg, Josh Logan and Jule Styne), is something I had wanted for years. When the book hit the stands in 1998 I think I may have been one of the first hundred or so to snatch it up. What were they like together? What was Miltonís studio like? Who thought up the various series? What drove them? What drove them apart? And what was Miltonís life like post Marilyn Monroe Productions?

 Like so much of Marilynís life, the end of the Greene/Monroe collaboration is hard to read about. But, (yes I know itís corny as hell but so appropriate), ìfor one shinning momentî there was a boy and a girl who got together, made some incredible photos and then went on to their own separate destinies. With ìMiltonís Marilynî you are able to sit back and see what magic they made and through the text, make a small attempt at understanding genius, a quality both Milton Greene and Marilyn Monroe shared.

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