Review: My Week With Marilyn by Colin Clark

My Week With Marilyn
Colin Clark
Genre: Non Fiction
Published: October 1, 2011
Publisher: DeCapo Press
ISBN: 978-1-60286-149-7


Imagine sneaking away to spend seven days with the most famous woman in the world… 

In 1956, fresh from Oxford University, twenty-three-year-old Colin Clark began work as a lowly assistant on the set of The Prince and the Showgirl, the film that united Sir Laurence Olivier with Marilyn Monroe. The blonde bombshell and the legendary actor were ill suited from the start. Monroe, on honeymoon with her new husband, the celebrated playwright Arthur Miller, was insecure, often late, and heavily medicated on pills. Olivier, obsessively punctual, had no patience for Monroe and the production became chaotic. Clark recorded it all in two unforgettable diaries—the first a charming fly-on-the- wall account of life as a gofer on the set; the other a heartfelt, intimate, and astonishing remembrance of the week Clark spent escorting Monroe around England, earning the trust and affection of one of the most desirable women in the world. Published together here for the first time, the books are the basis for the upcoming major motion picture My Week with Marilyn starring Michelle Williams, Judi Dench, and Kenneth Branagh. 

England was abuzz when Monroe arrived to shoot The Prince and the Showgirl. She hoped working with the legendary Olivier would give her acting further credibility, while he hoped the film would give his career a boost at the box office and some Hollywood glamour. But Monroe, feeling abandoned when Miller left the country for Paris, became difficult on the set. Clark was perceptive in his assessment of what seemed to be going wrong in Monroe’s life: too many hangers-on, intense insecurity, and too many pills. Olivier, meanwhile, was impatient and condescending toward her. At a certain point, feeling isolated and overwhelmed, Monroe turned her attention to Clark, who gave her comfort and solace. Before long, she escaped the set and a remarkable true adventure took place. Monroe and Clark spent an innocent week together in the English countryside and Clark became her confidant and ally. And, like any man would be expected to, he fell a bit in love. Clark understood how best to handle Monroe and became Olivier’s only hope of getting the film finished. Before long, young Colin was in over his head, and his heart may well have been broken by the world’s biggest movie star. 

A beguiling memoir that reads like a fable, My Week with Marilyn is above all a love letter to one of our most enduring icons.


When I first seen the preview for this movie, I was immediately hooked. Being that I am a huge Marilyn Monroe fan I knew that I just had to see it. However when I found out that it was taken from a book, as most amazing movies are. At least in my opinion they are. I then knew I had to read the book and the book became much more important to me than the movie did and to this day I am writing this having just finished the book and still have not seen the movie. I do have the movie sitting on my dresser right next to me but I am the kind of woman that believes the books are so much better and I must read them before even beginning to watch the movie. 

Now with that being said, ‘My Week with Marilyn’ is a book showcasing Colin Clark’s story of his week with Marilyn which he titled, “My Week with Marilyn” in its other releases as well as his own personal diary entries which were titled, “The Prince and the Showgirl”, those were written while he worked as a 3rd Assistant Director on the film, starring Marilyn Monroe and Sir Laurence Oliver. This was the first time both forms had been put together as a book; they had both previously been released separately. 

I was very excited to start this book; I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would hold in it, I mean imagine actually getting to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe! This book had to be good! The first part of the book, which is ‘My Week with Marilyn’, is extremely intriguing. You get to see everyone who was a part of that movie and what their role is. You see from Colin’s point of view what his take is on everyone including everyone in Marilyn’s party, which includes herself. At this point in time she was married to playwright Arthur Miller. This book did not portray Arthur as a very kind fellow, more of an egotistical self-centered jerk. Colin felt sorry for Marilyn in most of the book; he stated numerous times that the people surrounding her were so terrible for her and this I completely agree with and I believe they were a great contribute to her demise. 
The Strasbergs, Milton Greene, and Hedda were the people that were her team. Lee and Paula Strasberg were her acting coaches on this film although Paula was the only one present; Lee was always contacted by phone when big problems arose. Milton Greene was her partner in Marilyn Monroe Productions and the man who got her out of her wretched contract with 20th Century Fox; he was in charge of getting her to the studio each day, which proved to be a great burden considering she was always late. Hedda was a secretary and really no help at all considering she was drunk most of the time. 
Colin worked for Sir Laurence Oliver but somehow got twisted up into Marilyn’s life. He said she was just so hypnotizing no one could stay away from her. He feared for her well-being during the filming, because Milton’s way of helping her cope was to continuously feed her pills she did not need. In the end the film turned out to be torture for everyone. 

I really enjoyed reading the first half of this book, the way he told his story of his week with her was wonderful, even though I do believe it was only a few days that they interacted and not a full week. However once I got halfway through the diary entries I lost a lot of interest, it seemed he was writing the same thing over and over again. Marilyn was late and seemed confused, Sir Laurence Oliver was getting more and more upset and didn’t know what to do about it. That was the general idea of every diary entry. Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy a lot of the diary entries but it was hard to read through all of them, with the same repetition it had.

It also doesn’t tell you much about Marilyn that you probably don’t already know, so if you are looking for a story of her life this isn’t it, this is a story of the filming of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’.

Overall it was a wonderful book and a wonderful insight into the filming of ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ which was intriguing. It is a nice piece to read and have if you are a Marilyn fan, I must say.
I give it four hearts.

*Chasity  received a copy of this book from DeCapo Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are that of the reviewer. We were not compensated for this review.

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