Marilyn Monroe appeared in twenty-nine completed films and was working on number thirty when she died. Her career spanned just 15 years. However, her popularity continues to grow with each new generation.
She wanted to be seen as a serious actress. Unfortunately, this never occurred in her lifetime. She felt trapped in dumb blonde roles. That is what people wanted to see on the screen and the studios forced her to do many films she disliked.
In the 1950's, the major studios clung to outdated production methods in an effort to retain their dominance over the industry. This meant that although Marilyn was the number one box office female in the world she was told what movie to do, who she'd be working with and when to start. Moreover, she was still committed to a contract that she had made before she was a star.
To retaliate, on January 7th, 1955, Marilyn announced the formation of her own independent film production company, to the utter surprise of 20th Century Fox. The company was called Marilyn Monroe Productions.
"My company was formed because I wanted to make better pictures, to improve my work, to secure my income and to help others make good pictures."
Although Marilyn did not set foot on a movie set from the fall of 1954 until the early months of 1956, her popularity did not diminish. She was trapped in the midst of lawsuits because she still owed Fox four films. When the studio realized her box office potential (The Seven Year Itch was released while she was on strike), they pulled out all the stops to re-sign her.
In September 1955, Fox was willing to meet Marilyn's unprecedented demands. Including story and director approval, a salary hike and she was allowed to make films with other companies, including her own. The magnitude of Marilyn's victory over the Hollywood studio system was never given enough credit. Her new contract allowed her an incredible amount of creative control that was considered revolutionary for an actress at that time. Her rights to director and cinematographer approval set a precedent for other stars to follow.
I think Marilyn, the actress, is appreciated more today that she ever was. Her films are being re-released on DVD and shown on television. New fans are discovering her talent everyday.
It is a shame that Marilyn was never rewarded with an Academy Award nomination in her lifetime. I honestly think she deserved one for Bus Stop, which I consider her finest performance.
I made this section of my website especially for new Marilyn fans. It is not a complete listing of all her films. Instead it is all the movies I have in my collection and have reviewed. For her earlier roles, I have given you Marilyn Minutes, which are the amount of time that she is actually on the screen. This might help you decide which films to spend your money on.