Sometimes, the making of a film is just as interesting as the final product.
When Marilyn Met the Queen: Marilyn Monroe’s Life in England, by Michelle Morgan, was published last year. In 1956, Marilyn Monroe was the biggest movie star in the world. That year, she and her new husband, playwright Arthur Miller flew to England. She was scheduled to shoot The Prince and the Showgirl (1957). Her on-screen love interest was Sir Laurence Olivier.
The plan was simple. Arthur was going to write and Marilyn was going to make the film during the day. At night, they would relax and enjoy being newlyweds. But as we all know, when we plan, our creator laughs.
She was being hounded by the press. Though Monroe and Olivier did their best to be professional, their mutual dislike was obvious. While across the pond, Monroe became interested in Queen Elizabeth II and eventually met her before returning to the States.
I enjoyed the book. Morgan bring the narrative and her subjects to life in a way that made me feel like I was with them during the experience. What she does exceptionally well is revealing the real women beneath Monroe’s Hollywood facade. Though she was strong and smarter than many thought she was, she was also beset by her troubled past and low self-esteem.
The only issue I have is the title. I feel like it does not mesh well with the story. If it was me, I would have emphasized the making of the film in addition to meeting the Queen.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
When Marilyn Met the Queen: Marilyn Monroe’s Life in England is available wherever books are sold.