Prior to Monroe’s presidential performance at Madison Square Garden, and well before filming for Something’s Got to Give had commenced, warning signs began to flash brightly, eventually eclipsing the starlet’s name they once lit so lucently. On April 10th, 1962, four months before she died, Monroe was found laid out, unresponsive, along the very same bed that she would be found dead months later from a presumed overdose. Her discoverer, producer Henry Weinstein had telephoned Monroe earlier that day when she failed to appear on time for a scheduled meeting. When he received no response, Weinstein intuitively made haste to her private residence in Brentwood.
Upon Arrival, Weinstein telephoned Marilyn’s personal doctor Ralph Greenson as well as her internist to help revive her. Stumbling upon Monroe’s lifeless body, Weinstein was utterly shocked, as earlier that day Marilyn had appeared at the studio for her make-up and costume test. Naturally, a concerned Weinstein also telephoned studio doctor Lee Seigel for an evaluation. Accordingly, Seigel advised that filming for Something’s Got to Give be suspended for a month in order to allow Monroe to recover. Fox rejected Seigel’s advice and decided to proceed anyway.
Above: Marilyn’s Brentwood residence, where she was found on April 10th, and would be found four months later dead of a often debated overdose.
It is imperative to note that before these events had transpired, Cukor (whom often criticized Monroe for her frequent lateness and absences), failed himself to appear earlier that day at Monroe’s costume test. Well informed of Monroe’s ongoing psychological and recent physical fragility (due to gallbladder surgery), Cukor’s absence gravely afflicted Monroe, making her feel that her efforts were of no importance to Cukor at all. It was as if Cukor had kicked her while she was already down, deliberately withholding from Monroe the compassion and affirmation she so desperately needed. Could this cruel and insensitive act on Cukor’s part be what triggered Monroe’s suicide attempt earlier that day? Nevertheless, on May 1st, (despite Seigel’s warning), an ailing Monroe would appear on the set of Something’s Got to Give for the first time, yet after a half hour would be sent home due to fainting on set.
Weeks passed by until May 14th, when an even more enervated Monroe had miraculously reappeared on set to resume filming on Something’s Got to Give. The first scene she filmed while on set was a tedious one; the first part of the coming home scene. Monroe was cast alongside an uncooperative cocker spaniel; Jeff who played the role of Tippy, (Ellen’s dog). In this scene Jeff was supposed to great Monroe when she appeared on set, yet repeatedly missed cues from his trainer once the cameras began rolling. An even more uncooperative Cukor, who was hell bent on making an already grave Monroe suffer even more, relentlessly forced Monroe the rerecord this scene, take after take, until Jeff cooperated. This event, (alongside the aforementioned), would also act as evidence, proving that all the catastrophe that occurred on set while filming Something’s Got to Give was not Monroe’s fault.
Above: Jeff the cocker spaniel playing with Monroe on the set of Something’s Got to Give.
On May 15th, (and Intensifying her already fastidious preoccupations), a forced Monroe acquiescently, yet painstakingly (despite her unrest), struggled to film a scene in which her character Ellen, tries precariously to re-establish a relationship with her children, whom she has not seen for five years for presumably being lost at sea. Fomenting her further, the children whom had co-starred alongside her were the exact same age her children would have been, should she have not lost them due to a series of unfortunate miscarriages brought on by ectopic pregnancies (that were not treatable) during Monroe’s lifetime. For audiences, it is obvious that Monroe’s somber and unengaged performance for this scene could be easily attributed to these tragic events series of events that endlessly plagued Monroe’s personal life.
Above: The pool as it was originally intended for use in Something’s Go to Give.
Above: A year later, (and with minor accustoming) the same pool as it appeared in the film Move Over Darling, (note the removal of the pool house in addition to the added foliage and restyled patio furniture).
Above: Ellen (played by Monroe), lays eyes upon her children for the first time in five years before attempting to re-establish a relationship with them.
Above:Day a year later (portraying Ellen), in the same scene (note the house being the same one as the same one used in Something’s Got to Give, this time being painted over in blue).
Above: A conspicuously unfocused and bewildered Monroe struggles to deliver even the most adequate of performances as Ellen in Something’s Got to Give.
Above: In contrast to Monroe, a perceptibly focused Day delivers an assiduous performance as Ellen in the 1963 remake Move Over Darling, (note the stairwell as being the same one pictured in the image of Monroe above).