This week I wanted to write about the wonderful film My Week with Marilyn, with wonderful interiors to match! It’s a few years old now, but having re-watched the other day it reminded me how cinematically beautiful and well directed the film is, so of course it needed a mention in our Film Fridays.
The film is based on a biographical book by Colin Clark about his time spent with Marilyn during the filming of The Prince and The Showgirl (1957) and tells his tale of his short but sweet romance with the iconic movie star. What is fantastic about the production of My Week with Marilyn is that they kept the authenticity of the filming locations true to history, using many of the same studios and houses that would have actual been used by Marilyn, Arthur Miller, Lawrence Olivier and Colin Clark during the original filming of The Prince and The Showgirl, which at the time was titled The Sleeping Prince.
The film begins at Saltwood Castle, the home of Colin Clark’s father, Lord Clark of Saltwood, and there are some lovely exterior shots that really begin to create a marvellous, over-the-top Americanised impression of what the English countryside looks like, but it’s this exaggerated romantic nature that makes the film so captivating.
We get a lovely glimpse of the beautiful art deco interiors, where the London offices of Lawrence Olivier were based. The solid wood panelling mixed with the stunning accessories really helps to create the rose-tinted, seductive Hollywood glamour we associate with this time and especially with Marilyn Monroe.
A lot of My Week with Marilyn was filmed on the same production sight, Pinewood Studios, where The Prince and The Showgirl was filmed also, Michelle Williams even used the same dressing room as Marilyn. I love the classic vanity mirror and the dusty pink daybed they used to dress the room, it really creates an effortless sense of old Hollywood style.
The film also beautifully masters a ‘scene within a scene’, perfectly recreating the set from the 1950s film, as well as the crew.
There’s a wonderful use of shadows and light in My Week with Marilyn, not only does it show off the interiors and the set magically, but it also sets the mood and tone of the film and its characters.
The original house, Parkfield House in Surrey, where Marilyn and Arthur Miller stayed during the filming of The Prince and The Showgirl was also used as the home of the characters in My Week with Marilyn.
I love this exterior shot, the combination of the period car, the white walls and the wonderfully overgrowing foliage creates a regal and elegant look, perfect for the Hollywood starlet. The interiors are no different and are shot masterfully.
There is another lovely location used near the beginning of the film, a classic 1950s ballroom in south London, the Rivoli Ballroom, where Colin Clark takes Emma Watson’s character on a date before his is wooed by Marilyn. The Rivoli still exists today and is considered one of the last remaining original ballrooms from the fifties.
For a sneak peek into the world of Marilyn Monroe and a look at some fantastic interiors, My Week with Marilyn is the perfect film for just that.