October 1953 – This rare and previously unpublished series of photos was taken at the guest villa of Joseph Schenk’s estate. The simple environment of only pillows, sheets, a robe and copper cup (very 1950s) showed Marilyn’s adaptability; a chameleon showing a different personality. It is extraordinary to see how many different looks she could produce and how comfortable she was with Milton behind the camera. Milton’s talent for simplicity is captured in these images.
March-May 1956 – Marilyn Monroe Productions began filming Bus Stop in March 1956. Although excited, Milton and Marilyn were also apprehensive heading into the project. Having won their battle with the studio and negotiated new terms, everything was riding on their first film together. Marilyn had one job: focusing on delivering the best performance of her life. Milton concentrated on all the other details, particularly aesthetics and how his collaborator was captured on film.
April 1956 – Here Marilyn is dressed as a gypsy palm reader, one of the many outfits she would dress up in while ransacking the 20th Century Fox costume department with Milton on Sunday afternoons. Milton’s intuition led him to photograph Marilyn in three different environments: on the stairwell inside the shop; on the windowsill from the inside looking out; and from the street looking in through the window. He also got a wide exterior as well. That’s the sign of a photographer exploring options.
April 1956 – More images from Milton and Marilyn’s 20th Century Fox back lot sessions. This time Marilyn vamps it up as a streetwalker. Milton believed in Marilyn’s range as an actress and on this Sunday, the two took on a number of characters to portray her diversity. Note the fishnet stockings, introduced first in the Black Sitting, and the blouse, which became the performing costume when she sang “That Ol’ Black Magic” in Bus Stop.
May 1954 – Rifling through the 20th Century Fox prop closet during one of those glorious Sunday afternoons on the studio backlots, Milton and Marilyn photographed the Peasant Sitting. Taken on May 24, 1954, this series was created on the French village set used for What Price Glory. Milton, believed in Marilyn’s ability to be a dramatic actress and to prove it to her, he photographed her in the costume that Jennifer Jones wore in her Oscar-winning performance in The Song of Bernadette.
Prince & The Showgirl
July/August 1956 – The 30-year-old Marilyn Monroe and 34-year-old Milton H Greene embarked on their second film collaboration together. Marilyn Monroe Productions was the executive producer of record and the two of them were in control of all aspects of the production, including allowing Laurence Olivier to direct, and Milton hiring the great photographer/cinematographer Jack Cardiff. Milton and Jack shared an appreciation of aesthetics that guided them through costume design, lighting and camera angles. Newlyweds Marilyn and Arthur arrived in London on July 14, to the eagerly waiting British press. Filming took place at Pinewood studios, but when you look at the sets, the costumes and the lighting, you see the grand, old dramatic Hollywood style of the 1930s. The difficulties encountered during the four months of filming are well documented. However, when you see Marilyn’s performance of Elsie on the screen, all those troubles fade away.
June 1955 – On a hot summer’s day, Gene Kelly, Amy, Milton and Marilyn drove to the home of Richard and Dorothy Rodgers, who lived just a few miles away from the Greene’s Connecticut home, to cool off with friends. These photos show a side of Marilyn rarely seen by the public: the young freckle-faced star sans makeup.
May 1954 – Milton loved using textured backgrounds, such as draped fabrics or natural landscapes. Taken at Laurel Canyon, Marilyn is nestled into a crevasse and posed for this charming series of photos for Look magazine.
October 1953 – Joseph Schenk was partners with Darryl F. Zanuck, together creating 20th Century Fox. After being convicted and serving time for tax evasion, Schenk returned to 20th Century Fox and mentored a young, up-and-coming Marilyn Monroe. Schenk remained Marilyn’s benefactor, but was unable to convince Zanuck to give her more roles of substance. This reality only fueled Marilyn’s desire to be free of Fox. During one Fall weekend, Schenk allowed Milton and Marilyn to stay at the guest villa of his Beverly Hills estate.
September, 1953 – The next day, Milton picked up Marilyn to have lunch and later, to review the pictures afterwards. On the way to lunch, Milton, who loved trees, spotted the perfect setting. This series of pictures was taken with Marilyn wearing her own clothing. Their friendship blossoming, Marilyn confided in Milton about her dissatisfaction with her studio “slave” contract.