My Week With Marilyn

I don’t do mental illness well (ok: at all) and just 24 hours with the kooky Miss Marilyn Monroe would’ve scared the bejezis out of me. The movie though – concerning Marilyn’s brief visit to London to film The Prince and the Showgirl reveals her absolute inability to be alone, turn up on time or remain vaguely drug free – is kind of depressing. But it’s perfect little filmgoing experience, actually, and Michelle Williams is really quite astounding as Marilyn Monroe herself.

What I did love though was the locations, with instagram-esque styling inspired by New York photographer Saul Leitner. The production was given the same sound stage at Pinewood where the original 1957 shoot took place, and Michelle Williams was given Marilyn’s actual dressing-room, which must have been inspiring (but also a bit spooky?) There are evocative scenes at Windsor and Eton College too.

The Bank Job

The only thing I can actually remember about the Seventies are the electricity blackouts (no homework!), the shooting down of the Viscount Hunyani and ABBA. Evidently I missed the joy of Afros, Swinging, Toffs, Cockney Gangsters and espionage. Fortunately the Bank Job movie starring Jason Statham and an unusually plausible Saffron Burrows recreates the whole Lifebuoy-Nylons-and-no-Deodorant period quite admirably.

In September 1971, petty thieves working on a too-good-to-be-true tip off, tunnelled their way into the vault of a bank in London’s Baker Street and looted safe deposit boxes of cash and jewellery worth millions of pounds. None of it was recovered and nobody was ever arrested. Professing to be the actual truth of what happend – and what was actually hidden in those boxes – Bank Job is a rollicking tale that involve black power, MI6, madams, police corruption and Princess Margaret. Even Lord Mountbatten comes along for the ride. Low tech it may be, but it’s actually great stuff.

The Baker Street scenes were re-created on a purpose-built set at Pinewood Studios which allowed the producers to better control the 1970’s environment. But the scenes from the roof tops were filmed from the site where the lookout actually waited during the robbery itself, and from where his ill-fated walkie-talkie communications were intercepted. I LOVE that about the movies.