The Brooklyn Academy of Music's Marilyn Monroe retrospective features 14 films that explore the varied career of the ultimate blonde bombshell. Here’s a look at Norma Jeane’s “sexy six” — and what makes them so scintillating.
It happens to women every day — you’re walking down the street on a windy day, or descending into the subway as a train approaches, and your skirt is blown up. But no one has made it as playful — or iconic — as Marilyn Monroe in this 1955 film about temptation. With Monroe as the sultry neighbor to Tom Ewell’s married, paranoid New Yorker, you can’t blame the guy for sweating it out. See it July 2.
Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis may pass as women in this 1959 madcap comedy about two murder witnesses who go on the run by joining an all-female musical troupe, but they don’t hold a candle to Monroe’s Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, who can shake and shimmy like nobody’s business. And she made us all want to love her thanks to her cooing “I Wanna Be Loved By You.” See it July 3 and 4.
“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”
This 1953 musical made Monroe a star — and it’s easy to see why. She’s irresistible as showgirl Lorelei Lee, and her “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” number — and its bold pink dress — has inspired many imitations (see Madonna’s video for “Material Girl”). The original is still the best. See it July 10.
The same year that Monroe had a breakout turn as a showgirl in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” she also stole the show in this tawdry thriller. In her passionate turn as a cheating wife who arranges the murder of her older, jealous husband, she has never been more seductive. And that’s saying a lot. See it July 8.
The title alone says it all. Monroe makes an unforgettable entrance down a fire pole in this 1960 backstage musical comedy about a billionaire who mistakenly joins the cast of an off-Broadway play. She even manages to make a big sweater sexy thanks to her breathy opening number, “My Heart Belongs to Daddy.” See it July 15.
Monroe didn’t just do big-number musicals. In this 1954 Western set during the California Gold Rush, she plays a saloon singer named Kay who gets pulled along on a whitewater rapids chase in pursuit of her thieving fiance. We’re pretty sure barmaids from the late 1800s never looked or sounded as good as Monroe did in her yellow and orange corset number during a throaty rendition of the title song. See it July 14.
“Marilyn!” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100], July 1-17. Tickets $12 ($7 members). For info, visit www.bam.org.