Marilyn Monroe

Gold Collection: Classic Performances

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Marilyn Monroe was not much of a recording artist per se, but she sang in many of her motion pictures. This European two-CD set presents dialogue and musical performances drawn directly from the soundtracks to the movie musicals Ladies of the Chorus, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The River of No Return, and There's No Business Like Show Business. She also sings briefly in non-musicals Niagra, Bus Stop, and The Prince and the Showgirl, plays "Chopsticks" in The Seven Year Itch, and exchanges witticisms with Groucho Marx in Love Happy; and there are a few stray non-movie song recordings. The second half of the second disc is taken up by miscellaneous recordings, not all of them musical, including a TV commercial, the presentation of several awards (she says, "Thank you"), radio sketches with Edgar Bergen and Jack Benny, and Monroe's appearances in Korea (singing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend") and at the 1962 birthday party for President Kennedy at which she sang "Happy Birthday." The sound quality varies, but is fine on the soundtrack material, and Monroe's voice ranges from a kittenish murmur to a full-throated contralto. She is more a personality than a singer, but she has no trouble carrying a tune or projecting character, and several of these performances are very effective. This set does not contain all of Monroe's musical film performances, missing material from the later movies Some Like It Hot and Let's Make Love, both of which had their own full-length soundtrack albums.

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