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Marilyn Monroe - The Diamond Collection [1951] - 55.99

Released to mark the 40th anniversary of her death in 1962, The Diamond Collection brings together all of Marilyn Monroe's films for 20th Century Fox. This handsome box set stands as a salutary reminder of the considerable achievements of an actress who still reigns supreme as the greatest screen goddess of them all.

The uninitiated might be surprised at the versatility of someone whose legend is founded so much on her image as a sex symbol. In particular, her touching performance as the abused second-rate bar singer Cherie in Bus Stop (1956) is a rounded study of a woman still capable of dreaming when life has done everything to dull her. The box set as a whole offers plenty of evidence that while she certainly specialised in a unique and complex variation on the blonde bombshell stereotype--embodied in her timeless performances as Lorelei Lee (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and short-sighted Pola in How to Marry a Millionaire, both 1953--she could certainly diversify.

The documentary, Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days, provides a sympathetic take on the troubles and behaviour which led to her being sacked from her final picture, Something's Got to Give. The presentation of the restored footage from that movie is less successful, though, as the glimpses of Monroe's incandescent screen presence, belying her illness and depression, leave a palpable sadness in their wake. Better by far to focus on her earlier work. Whatever the role, her luminous beauty and statuesque figure, combined with an unselfconsciously joyful sexuality and an on-screen vulnerability, were always at their best under the careful guidance of directors like Billy Wilder and Otto Preminger. These qualities continue to give her an enduring appeal.

On the DVD: The Diamond Collection has been digitally restored using, for the most part, the original negatives, making this a sumptuous package for any Monroe fan. Niagara and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes are both presented in standard 4:3 ratio but the rest--filmed in Cinemascope and presented here in letterbox format--are certainly better-served by widescreen viewing. The colours, like Monroe, come alive. The sound quality is crisp and Monroe's singing--she had limited but genuine musical talent--has polished up well. Multiple extras include before-and-after restoration comparisons, trailers from various countries, stills and posters, and newsreel footage. Eleven discs of Marilyn in one box, this is a veritable feast indeed. --Piers Ford

Customer reviews (av rating: 5.0):

Rating: 5:
A Thoroughly Entertaining Mix : Rarely have I been so entertained by a DVD boxset. Marilyn Monroe is the icing on the cake.

Rating: 5:
Excellent Restoration of Classic Monroe Flix. : "The Diamond Collection" is a deluxe boxset, clocking in with an impressive 11 Discs. Housed on these discs are 10 of screen icon Marilyn Monroe's best films - and one Documentary about her final days and unfinished movie that's exclusive to this boxset. 20th Century Fox are to be applauded for the excellent job they have done converting these films - which are over 50 years old now - into the high resoloution digital presentations they are today.

I've just enjoyed this boxset so much from the outset. These movies are pure magic - some better than others - but they all show Marilyn Monroe's talent develop over her career and she's a great joy to watch in all of them. Personal favourites of mine include the simply delightful "The Seven Year Itch", the still funny "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and the suspense filled Film Noire "Niagara". The Special Features are a little bit lacking though - most of the films just have a couple trailers and a Restoration Comparison (which is pretty interesting, it must be said). There's a great documentary on "The Seven Year Itch" so it's such a shame that more features weren't included for the other movies.

I must also mention "The Final Days Documentary" that's included. What a stunning piece of film making it is. The way it portrays Marilyn's last tragic months and documents her heartbreaking fall from grace makes it a true gem. It's an excellent edition to the Boxset and adds hugely to what is already an irrisistable package for Marilyn Monroe fans. This is an excellent package and one that Monroe fans will treasure forever. It's also a great package for fans of The Golden Age of Hollywood to have in thier collection. A well executed collection of the unforgettable Blonde Bombshell's finest moments.

Rating: 5:
Marilyn shines like never before : I finally got round to buying this DVD collection as at first the hefty price tag scared me off, but I finally managed to give in and when I opened the set I realised this was money well spent. I've been a fan of Marilyn's for 12 years now and my admiration for her shows no signs of abating. This DVD set just proved to me how much of a fantastic actress she really was, with no one giving her the credit for this when she was alive. Even after her awful death at such a young age, she lives on, and her star will never fade so long as we have her movies and her image around us.
My favourite movie of Marilyn's was always 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' and watching it again still gives me shivers up my spine as I watch her in the 'diamonds' routine and 'Two little girls from Little rock'; you cannot keep your eyes off her, she's magic!
There are some films on here that aren't Marilyn's finest, she had an obligation to 20th Century Fox and she herself never rated 'River of No Return' 'There's no Business like Show Business' or 'Lets Make Love' but they are enjoyable only due to Marilyn's screen presence. The highlight for me is 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' and 'Bus Stop' which I believe is one of Marilyn's finest acting roles with 20th Century Fox. Watching the lost footage from 'Something's got to give' was touching. It gave an insight into how Marilyn had progressed as an actress and she was really beginning to show Oscar winning potential. Sadly this would never be the case.

All in all, if you are a Marilyn fan, or just want to be entertained with classic Hollywood movies, then this is for you!

Rating: 5:
A beautiful and dazzling collection. : This gorgeous boxset features 11-discs of entertainment, including ten films and a new documentary examining Marilyn Monroe's final days. My favourite actress, Marilyn is great in each movie, but particular highlights include: Bus Stop, Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Don't Bother To Knock and The Seven Year Itch. The lovingly made boxset also includes a booklet with synopsis' for each movie, and a mini-biography of her show and eventful life. Five stars!

Rating: 5:
Great value for all Marilyn fans : The box set contains Marilyn's films made with fox studios. The collection includes "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", "How to Marry a Millionaire", "The Seven Year Itch", "Lets Make Love", and "There's No Business Like Show Business" to name a few.

Even though this box set doesn't have films that Marilyn made with other studios such as "Some Like it Hot" and "The Misfits" I would still highly recommend buying the diamond collection and getting the other films separately. (I just bought "Some Like it Hot" from Amazon for under 7 and it includes special features)

The collection contains the original trailor for each film as well as an extra dvd with a documentary about Marilyn's final days. There are also short newsreels from the 50's with some of the films and "The Seven Year Itch" dvd has great special features including a screen test with Walter Mattheu who was turned down for the part because he wasn't a big enough name.

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