Married to Marilyn: The Robert Slatzer Story
James Dougherty, Joe DiMaggio and Arthur Miller are all known as one time husbands of Marilyn Monroe but what about Robert Slatzer who claims to have been married to the star for a few days in the early 1950s. To my knowledge there's no proof of his claims but then does that surprise you when we are talking about Marilyn Monroe as there is so much mystery surrounding her life and her death. It is Slatzer's story which is the basis of "Marilyn and Me" a made for TV movie from 1991 which stars Marilyn impersonator Susan Griffiths. Griffiths' performance is good but the rest of the movie, well there are times it is as subtle as a brick, but it does paint an interesting picture of the young Marilyn from being Norma Jean to the star we all know, used by men and using men at the same time.
"Marilyn and Me" starts on August 5th 1962 with Robert Slatzer being woken up by a call saying that Marilyn had died and no one was claiming her body, so when he turns up at the LA Coroners office and claims to be one of her husbands they say his name's not on the list. It is the first of many unsubtle moments and by no means the worst as there are many more which follow. In fact immediately after it takes us back to July 1946 and Robert's first meeting with Norma Jean, an over the top scene as Robert is blown away by her beauty and vibrancy. What follows is basically the story of their relationship, the ups and downs as Robert played second fiddle to her desire to be a star and the studios who worked to keep him away from their star.
Now it has to be said that if I didn't know about Robert Slatzer's claims I would have said "Marilyn and Me" was a fictitious story cobbled together to try and explain Marilyn. I say that because the story of Slatzer's on off relationship is portrayed almost like a fantasy, the inner desire of a fanatic who has imagined being Marilyn's real love, the guy she went to when everything else went wrong. And because it is less than subtle in portraying Robert as the perfect guy who despite knowing he is being used is always there it comes across at times as quite cheesy.
But there is another side to "Marilyn and Me" which is much more interesting and that is who Marilyn was. What I mean by that is we do get the impression that whilst Marilyn put her career first and used people, people also used her. That might not be anything new but it is one of the movies few strong points, well that and Susan Griffiths who is unsurprisingly superb as Marilyn especially during the scenes where she became a star. But Jesse Dabson is just as good as Robert, well good in the fact he manages to control himself when he has some absolutely terrible dialogue to contend with.
What this all boils down to is that "Marilyn and Me" is entertaining but at times that is more because it veers towards being bad through being less than subtle. But it is worth a watch just for Susan Griffiths' performance as Marilyn.