Marilyn Monroe, whose face graced uncounted magazine covers and whose life was the subject of dozens of books, returns to her fans in a Vestron video, "Remembering Marilyn," released last week.
The 48-minute cassette ($29.98) has some personal glimpses of the blond beauty many Hollywood-watchers have called the most glamorous movie star ever, the ultimate sex symbol.
There are also ample clips from her more memorable movies, and some insights from co-stars and friends, including Robert Wagner, Robert Mitchum, Gloria Steinem and Susan Strasberg.
Because many Monroe fans were not yet born when she died, at 36, on Aug. 5, 1962, says Strasberg, "For millions she is more alive today than she was when she was alive." She would have been 63 this year.
The video is hosted by Lee Remick, who tells of Monroe's "enchanting presence on the screen. . . . But she was on a more private journey. Her life was a long search for the most elusive role of all - herself, the little girl from nowhere trying to find where she belonged."
She lived in no fewer than 54 houses before buying one in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles following her divorce from playwright Arthur Miller.
There are also glimpses of a lonely and tormented Monroe. Many show how incessantly she was hounded by the press, especially photographers seeking one more picture from one more angle. In public, it seems, she was always walking into a bank of exploding flashbulbs attached to large Speed Graphic cameras.
There is also rare footage of teenager Norma Jean Baker frolicking on the beach, and some with husbands Joe DiMaggio and Miller.
But the highlights of this show, produced to commemorate the 25th anniversary of her death, are the familiar clips of her movie roles and her rise to stardom, as well as film of her at President Kennedy's Madison Square Garden birthday party.
Remick concludes: ". . .despite the sometimes tawdry details, Marilyn remains a strangely captivating figure of innocence - a storybook heroine."
- DURING THE INITIAL uproar over the computer coloring of old films, cable TV magnate Ted Turner joked that he would someday have "Citizen Kane" converted just to irritate his critics.
"Kane" has been spared the paintbox, it has been announced, due to a legal technicality, but Turner may get a similar stormy reaction this month when his new home video company, Turner Home Entertainment, brings out the colorized version of the original "King Kong."
To the fantasy film buff, "King Kong" is as hallowed as Orson Welles' masterpiece. Its special effects and animation techniques are as impressive today as when they first astounded audiences in 1933. The idea that color could "improve" upon a landmark achievement in film-making is bound to antagonize its most devoted audience.
But before the accusations of cultural vandalism arise, let's consider the positive side. "Kong" had been licensed to several video companies, but not all the versions sold in stores were worth owning. Sometimes these video versions were made from worn or edited prints. Turner Home Entertainment promises that its new release, made from an archival print, will be the most complete "Kong" on cassette.
As for the color question, that can be circumvented: A black-and-white video is being issued at the same time (Feb. 28) and at the same price ($19.98). - Andy Wickstrom (Knight-Ridder)
THE WIZARD OF LONELINESS 0 A poignant story of a lonely 12-year-old boy whose mother dies and his father goes off to fight in World War II, forcing him to move in with grandparents in rural Vermont. The boy, Wendall, copes with his loneliness by becoming withdrawn, cynical beyond his years. But, little by little, he is drawn into the family circle, eventually standing up protectively when his relatives are threatened by a mysterious stranger. Lukas Haas is just right as Wendall, a little boy who must handle an angry man's outlook, but a little boy nonetheless with spells of wide-eyed wonderment, moments of mischief and an ingrained loyalty that bitterness cannot destroy. Also starring Lea Thompson and John Randolph. 1988. 110 minutes. Virgin Vision. Rated PG-13. $89.95. - Jack E. Wilkinson (UPI)
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: VIDEO ANTHOLOGY, 1987-1988 - Here comes the Boss. The first all-Springsteen home video program, long awaited by fans, covers the past 10 years of his meteoric career and features 18 of his best known works. The 100-minute show includes such rafter-ringers as "Born In The USA," "The River," "Born To Run," "Glory Days," "My Hometown," "Dancing In The Dark," "I'm On Fire" and "Rosalita," Springsteen's big '78 concert hit in stereo for the first time. From CMV Enterprises, $24.98. - Jack E. Wilkinson (UPI)