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The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes

The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes
Like the assassination of JFK, most people feel that we know everything about the death of Marilyn Monroe and that we will never know exactly what happened, but for those who still mine for information on the death of this cinematic icon, a few unknown pearls are revealed in a 2022 Netflix documentary called The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes.

Director Emma Cooper has put a lot of love and respect into this look into the life and death of Monroe through the eyes of a writer named Anthony Summers, who also wrote the 1986 HBO movie Norma Jean and Marilyn. Summers is observed putting together a look at Marilyn's life through a series of audio tapes featuring interviews with Marilyn and several people who had different roles in her life, including a psychiatrist and his family, private detectives, white house staffers, and FBI agents all offering their thoughts on who Marilyn was and what happened to her. However, hiring actors to play some of these people talking on the phone with Summers really didn't work for this reviewer.

What's initially amusing about these tapes is that almost everyone who talks about Marilyn here seems to feel like they knew Marilyn better than anyone. They also all seemed to feel like they were the only ones who had "the whole story" on what happened to Marilyn. And needless to say, it was heartbreaking listening to Marilyn talk about her life and career in her own voice.

And just when we think we're not going to learn anything new, we have to wait until the final 15 minutes of the film to learn some tidbits about what happened on August 8, 1962 that before this documentary, have never been revealed before. And it is the final 15 minutes of this documentary that hardcore Marilyn devotees, like myself, will revel in.