Marilyn Monroe's Final Draft Script for "Something’s Got to Give" up for Auction
The brad-bound draft is housed in its original blue Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation folder, with the front cover bearing the movie title and date “March 29, 1962,” and is labeled in the upper right corner, “Final, Confidential, For Planning Purposes Only.” The Nunnally Johnson screenplay consists of 149 total pages, with 18 of those pages bearing approximately 200 words written in either pencil or green ink in the hand of Monroe. The majority of Monroe’s annotations occur between pages 71-84, a revised section of blue sheets dated April 18-20, 1962, and consisting of various dialogue notes, changes, and line strikes.
Of particular interest are a pair of sheets tipped in between pages 107 and 108, which focus on an emotional reunion between Monroe’s character Ellen, returned from several years lost at sea, and her two young children, who are no longer capable of recognizing their mother.
Monroe adds copious pencil notations to the upper portion of the first sheet, apparent acting techniques gleaned from talks with her acting coach Lee Strasberg, including: “Real thought,” “Mental Relaxation,” “Place the pain, feeling where it is not in the brow,” and “Substitute children—B & J, if necessary,” which perhaps is a reference to Arthur Miller’s children, Bobby and Jane. The script also bears numerous pencil notations by an unknown hand, offering critical assessments and insights to various scenes, with the initial page of the script reading: “Note for Marilyn: He has to woo her. Not the way it is, new blue pages.”
After six years on the East Coast, Monroe moved back to California, purchased her first home, and began filming Something’s Got to Give in the spring of 1962. A remake of the Cary Grant and Irene Dunne comedy My Favorite Wife, the George Cukor-directed film cast Monroe as Ellen Arden, a woman who returns home after five years of being shipwrecked on an island.
On the first day of production, Monroe called out sick with a sinus infection, a diagnosis that would have postponed the film a month. As a response, Cukor filmed scenes around his leading lady.
Monroe’s irregular on-set presence caused further delays, and her trip to New York City to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to President Kennedy further vexed the Fox studio heads. On June 8, 1962, Monroe was released from the project, a decision influenced by the exorbitant and rising costs of the epic historical drama Cleopatra.
Although Monroe showed to only 12 of the initial 33 days of shooting, her marketing prowess—most notably her press-invited poolside skinny dip—surely should have assuaged any doubts of a box-office bomb. Co-star Dean Martin managed to have Monroe re-hired under the stipulation that Cukor be replaced with Jean Negulesco, but production was finally canceled upon news of Monroe’s tragic death on August 5th.
Among other items:
Incredibly rare and sought-after J. D. Salinger inscribed ‘Catcher in the Rye.’
John and Jackie Kennedy’s leather-bound photograph album containing ten glossy candid photos from their family vacation on Hyannisport, in 1959.
John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon signed photograph of the 1960 Presidential Debate.
The Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction from RR Auction began on May 19 and will conclude on June 14. More details can be found online at www.rrauction.com.