2 February 2014

"You are an unjust man and a cruel one."

Production of Billy Wilder's "Some Like it Hot" (1959) started in August 1958. With a cast led by Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe, the film would become Marilyn's biggest success. During filming, however, Marilyn was a disaster to work with. Wilder had already experienced problems with Marilyn while filming "The Seven Year Itch" (1955), but things were even worse during "Some Like it Hot". Production was held up for days, due to Marilyn's tardiness, absences, her inability to remember the simplest of lines (the line "Where is that bourbon?" needed forty takes), and fights between Wilder and Marilyn over creative issues. During this period, Marilyn's health had already begun to deteriorate, and she was also pregnant. In December 1958, Marilyn would suffer her second miscarriage.


Playwright Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe were married from 1956 to 1961. On 11 February 1959, Arthur Miller sent the following telegram to Billy Wilder. In it, Miller expresses his anger over Wilder's public attack on Marilyn after production of "Some Like it Hot". 

Photo: Billy Wilder and Marilyn Monroe on the set of "Some like it hot".

Transcript:

BILLY WILDER
10372 WILSHIRE BLVD LOSA=

DEAR BILLIE I CANNOT LET YOUR VICIOUS ATTACK ON MARILYN GO UNCHALLENGED. YOU WERE OFFICIALLY INFORMED BY MARILYN'S PHYSICIAN THAT DUE TO HER PREGNANCY SHE WAS NOT ABLE TO WORK A FULL DAY. YOU CHOOSE TO IGNORE THIS FACT DURING THE MAKING OF THE PICTURE AND WORSE YET, ASSIDUOUSLY AVOIDED MENTIONING IT IN YOUR ATTACK ON HER. FACT IS, SHE WENT ON WITH THE PICTURE OUT OF A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY NOT ONLY TO HERSELF BUT TO YOU AND THE CAST AND PRODUCER. 12 HOURS AFTER THE LAST SHOOTING DAY HER MISCARRIAGE BEGAN. NOW THAT THE HIT FOR WHICH SHE IS SO LARGELY RESPONSIBLE IS IN YOUR HANDS AND ITS INCOME TO YOU ASSURED, THIS ATTACK UPON HER IN [sic] CONTEMPTIBLE. I WILL ADD ONLY THAT SHE BEGAN THIS PICTURE WITH A THROAT INFECTION SO SERIOUS THAT A SPECIALIST FORBADE HER TO WORK AT ALL UNTIL IT WAS CURED. SHE WENT ON NEVERTHELESS. YOUR JOKES, BILLIE, ARE NOT QUOTE HILARIOUS ENOUGH TO CONCEAL THE FACT. YOU ARE AN UNJUST MAN AND A CRUEL ONE. MY ONLY SOLACE IS THAT DESPITE YOU HER BEAUTY AND HER HUMANITY SHINE THROUGH AS THEY ALWAYS HAVE=

ARTHUR MILLER=

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