‘To me Marilyn Monroe was the biggest, brightest and most beautiful star in the distant evening sky’ Douglas Kirkland writes in his latest book, which captures a moment with movie star and Hollywood siren Marilyn Monroe. With Marilyn: An Evening/1961 showcases Monroe in an intimate light through Kirkland’s photographs and words. The book highlights the quintessential attraction of Monroe, her chameleon ability to be the woman most men want to fall in love with. The way Kirkland describes her reminds me of the Melbourne weather, with all four seasons in one day. She is sweet, sexy, and sad; and the photos that accompany his words embed themselves in your mind.
Still counted as one of the most beautiful women that Hollywood has ever seen – albeit controversial for her time – Marilyn Monroe is somewhat humanised by Kirkland’s recounting. He speaks of ‘her smile and easy manner’ in one breath and then states that ‘Marilyn showed me how she felt; slithering erotically between the sheets’ in the next. Meanwhile the photos that accompany the story depict a luminescent Monroe, smiling and laughing as though she doesn’t have a care in the world. Some are colour, some black and white, but throughout all of them you see an unreserved side of a starlet that had every right to wish to withdraw from the world.
Kirkland discusses her troubled past and her burgeoning career at the time of the photo shoot, giving context to his images and creating a feeling of connection. Whether you are a fan of Marilyn Monroe or not, With Marilyn: An Evening/1961 allows you a brief glimpse into the person behind the undying starlight that is Marilyn Monroe.