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UK 1985
Directed by
Nicolas Roeg
110 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars


Roeg makes good use of cinematic resources, using flashbacks, parallel time frames and fantasy sequences (the apocalyptic A-bomb sequence recalls the ending of Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, 1970) in his transposition of Terry Johnson’s 1982 stage play about an encounter between Marilyn Monroe (Theresa Russell), Albert Einstein (Michael Emil), Joe DiMaggio (Gary Busey), and Senator Joseph McCarthy (Tony Curtis) in a hotel room in New York City one steamy night in 1954.

The premise is intriguing although possibly more engaging for its performances than its actual content which disparately traverses many topics but in general might be described as a de-bunking of the celebrity culture which was emerging at that time (the film's title indicates our the true value of our egos in the bigger picture).

Roeg's wife and regular female lead, Theresa Russell, tops the bill as Marilyn Monroe. Although, other than the voice she is not particularly convincing as the starlet, the exchange between her and Michael Emil’s very believable Einstein are the most entertaining parts of the film. Gary Busey is solid as the less familiar (to non-Americans at least) Joe DiMaggio whilst Tony Curtis is truly repugnant as the twisted junior senator from Wisconsin, the infamous Joe McCarthy.

 DVD Extras: Theatrical trailer

Available from: Umbrella Entertainment




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