As with "Let's Make It Legal," Monroe's association with this B+ film has salvaged another delightful I.A.L. Diamond script from obscurity (here based on Scott Corbett's novel), with Monroe in a more prominent role that presages her 'babe upstairs' in Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot."
Like fellow film newbie Jack Paar, who had a brief fling with movies at the time before moving into radio and television, Monroe's scenes are brief, though she's really part of a largely ensemble cast comprised of older and youngish studio talent. Her brief involvement proves a bit of a problem for co-commentator Jack Allen, author/editor of the 2002 photo book, "Marilyn By Moonlight." A fan club-approved coffee table work which assembled various interviews and Monroe comments, Allen's involvement here includes some appropriately concise bio sketches and career observations that function well during the film's mid-point, but become rather repetitive amid increasing gaps when it's clear Allen's thoughts are Monroe-centric.
A separately recorded interview with director Joseph Newman (at the age of 94) ignites the disc's commentary, but he largely disappears until the final ten minutes with a series of afterthoughts on the 20th Century Fox studio lot, directing episodes of TV's "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," and "The Twilight Zone." There's also a brief mention of his best-known work, "This Island Earth," but what the overall track really needs is a third voice who can provide material on some of the major cast members, like smooth-talking Frank Fay, and veteran Leatrice Joy (recently rediscovered in the 1921 Long Chaney thriller, "The Ace Of Hearts").
Director Newman provides some nice glimpses into the early years as an assistant director, working for stage-trained directors like George Cukor, but a broader scope with judicious editing would have enlivened and boosted the information content on the disc's commentary track.
This final wave of Fox' Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection includes "As Young as You Feel," "Let's Make It Legal," "Love Nest," and "Were Not Married."
© 2004 Mark R. Hasan
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