Famed as the blond bombshell haunted by tabloid-worthy tragedies, Marilyn Monroe remains one of the most enduring celebrity icons of the 20th century. What's lost in the fixation on the Monroe persona, however, is a facet that went under-appreciated even in her lifetime: her exceptional skills as an actress. Marilyn Monroe: Luminous, a five-film retrospective arranged by Take-Up Productions and hosted by Riverview Theater, will serve as a revelatory corrective to those who have never seen beyond the giddy pin-up image. Surrounded by such rarified company as Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall, and Jane Russell, Monroe glamorously vamps as the opportunist of How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). The Seven Year Itch (1955) casts Marilyn as simply "The Girl," the innocently seductive instigator of Tom Ewell's midlife crisis, while her role as Sugar Kane Kowalczyk in Some Like It Hot (1959) demonstrates a spot-on comic timing that more than matches her cross-dressing co-stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. But it is The Misfits (1961) that shakes expectations the most, providing Monroe a rare dramatic role as a divorced woman living amid two cowboys (Montgomery Clift and Clark Gable) in the desolate environs of the Nevada desert. Marilyn Monroe's image may now be fixed in the public mind, but these five films display a lustrous talent that continues to defy categorization.
Mondays, 7 p.m. Starts: Oct. 29. Continues through Nov. 26, 2012