BOOTLEG FILES 387: “The Alleged Marilyn Monroe Porn Film” (1940s one-reel sex film starring someone who is not Marilyn Monroe).
LAST SEEN: The entire film is online at several X-rated sites.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: A few obscure pornographic video labels have released it.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Hey, who wouldn’t want to see a nude Marilyn Monroe?
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Only if the Marilyn Monroe estate’s lawyers are distracted.
In 1980, Bob Guccione’s Penthouse magazine presented an article that sought to rewrite movie history. According to Penthouse, a Swedish photographer had uncovered a previously unknown film appearance by a young Marilyn Monroe. However, the blonde bombshell’s on-camera performance was not in a Hollywood production. Instead, it was in an untitled, silent six-minute porn film.
Monroe, of course, was no stranger to exposing her fine flesh for the cameras: in 1949, when her career was having problems taking off, she posed in the nude for photographer Tom Kelley for a $50 fee. Those photographs were later reprinted in Playboy magazine after she became a star.
No Monroe biographer had ever located any evidence that the actress went beyond the relatively benign nude photographs into the hardcore world of pornographic films. For years, a rumor existed that Monroe appeared in a porn short called “Apple Knockers and Coke,” but research confirmed that the film’s star was 1950s Playboy model Arline Hunter, who had a slight resemblance to Monroe.
When Penthouse featured the untitled porn film, it insisted that the woman on screen was Monroe. To affirm its claims, the magazine presented frame captures alongside the iconic studio shots of Monroe. “Here, in grainy celluloid, may well be the still unglamorized sex goddess the public never knew, before plastic surgeons, stylists, and designers transformed her into the mythical Marilyn Monroe,” the magazine stated. “It’s a thought to fire the imagination of every man who ever dreamed of her, a fantasy come to fruition.”
The film remained in a private Swedish collection and was mostly forgotten until a 16mm print surfaced in 1997 via Spanish film collector Mikel Barsa. A print of the film were donated to the American Film Institute (AFI), and Hollywood’s Erotic Museum got into the act by purchasing a copy for its collection. Last month, Barsa made more headlines by claiming to have an original 8mm version of the film, which he offered to sell for $500,000.
Of course, why would anyone pay $500,000 for something that can be seen for free? Bootleg copies of this film are easy to locate on XXX-oriented websites. Reportedly, a club in New York used to broadcast the film on its widescreen televisions. And the original source material of the story – the 1980 Penthouse magazine – can easily be accessed online.
Needless to say, it is all very interesting and entertaining. There is just one tiny problem: the woman in the film is clearly not Marilyn Monroe.
If one applies the basic tenets of logic, the claims of a Monroe porn film dissolve instantly. The Penthouse article offered no clue regarding where or when the film was made – which is not surprising, since the film had no copyright affixed to its footage. Barsa has claimed that the film was made before 1947. But for all we know, the film could have been made in the 1930s or even the 1950s – there is nothing in the film that anchors it to a specific year.
Monroe, who was born in 1926, was a highly visible magazine model by 1945 who was seeking an entry into the Hollywood system. The idea that she would jeopardize a promising career for a one-shot porn film seems very unlikely. As for the notion that Monroe’s nude photo shoot with Tom Kelley would make her go further, the now-infamous work with Kelley – a high-profile and respected photographer –- was confirmed as a single event that came about because Monroe was out of work and needed money to cover her rent. No other naughty photos of Monroe from that period have ever resurfaced.
But if anyone wants genuine evidence that the woman in the film is not Monroe, all you have to do is watch the flick. The woman on screen appears to be in her thirties, is fairly heavy and bears no facial resemblance to Monroe whatsoever. There is absolutely nothing even vaguely sensuous or compelling in her presence, and her graceless physical presence is worlds removed from someone with professional modeling and acting experience.
As for the film itself – eh, it is a substandard old-time stag reel. It all takes place in a seedy room where the woman undresses, pleasures herself with her hands and a sex toy, and then engages in a number of different sexual acts with some scrawny mustached guy. Even by the protocol of the genre, it is a fairly dreary endeavor – the film is nothing but two unattractive people screwing in different positions for a few minutes.
If that’s not bad enough, there is another reported Monroe skin flick floating around. In 2008, the New York Post reported that a 15-minute 16mm film from the 1950s showing Monroe engaged in oral sex was sold to an unidentified buyer for $1.5 million. Some rumormongers have spiced the story by suggesting the man in the film (whose face is not seen) was either John or Robert Kennedy. I suspect the story was a bunch of nonsense – in the three years since the story was floated, the alleged film has never been publicly screened and no screen captures have ever been produced to confirm it even exists.
Nearly a half-century since her untimely death, Monroe continues to epitomize the ultimate in movie glamour. The untitled film’s tawdry contents have nothing to do with her beauty and talent, and attempts to insist that she was part of such nonsense represent a new low in stupidity.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyright-protected material, either for crass commercial purposes or profit-free shits and giggles, is not something that the entertainment industry appreciates. On occasion, law enforcement personnel boost their arrest quotas by collaring cheery cinephiles engaged in such activities. So if you are going to copy and distribute bootleg material, a word to the wise: don’t get caught. Oddly, the purchase and ownership of bootleg DVDs is perfectly legal. Go figure!
Posted on August 5, 2011 in Bootleg Files, Features by Phil Hall
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