Friday, August 3, 2012

Time for a Marilyn Monroe box set?

MGM didn't know what it had

Tomorrow on TCM's Summer Under the Stars brings 24 hours of Marilyn Monroe pictures. Monroe is one of those people who has become an icon, so it's not surprising that studios would use her image to sell DVDs, even in films where she wasn't high up in the billing. It's something I've mentioned before in conjunction with the piffling Fox film Love Nest, which doesn't happen to be part of tomorrow's Marilyn Monroe day, but is unsurprisingly availble on DVD with Monroe's face splashed all over the cover.

In fact, only one of tomorrow's movies on TCM is not available on DVD, which is Clash By Night (airing at 8:00 AM tomorrow), in which Monroe has a smaller role as the girlfriend of Barbara Stanwyck's brother (Keith Andes); the movie is really about Stanwyck, the man she marries (Paul Douglas), and the rough man she falls in love with (Robert Ryan). I find it somewhat surprising that TCM claims it's not on DVD, since it's got Stanwyck and Marilyn Monroe, and was made at RKO, whose films are now under the control of Warner Bros. That means Warner Bros. could very easily release it as part of the Warner Archive. In fact, Warner Bros. released a DVD several years ago, but it's apparently out of print.

Clash By Night would be a good selection for part of a Monroe box set in those four-film "Legends" DVD box sets that you see advertised on TCM between movies, such as the current Kirk Douglas box set. The only condition would be that there are four films that are part of the Warner library, and I believe there are. In addition to Clash By Night, there's The Asphalt Jungle (tomorrow at 6:00 AM) which was made at MGM, and The Prince and the Showgirl which was made in Britain by Warner Bros. For the fourth movie, a restoration of Home Town Story might be in order. Monroe has a smaller role as a receptionist, but this is one of those MGM Bs from the early 1950s when Dore Schary was trying to be socially relevant. Inexplicably, they let the copyright run out, soe it entered the public domain and is cheaply available from all over the place.

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