The San Diego Jewish Film Festival’s director, Craig Prater, announced that the film festival has secured Paul Davids’ new feature documentary, “Marilyn Monroe Unclassified” for an exclusive first public screening on July 12 at 6 p.m. The event will be presented to fans and followers of the film festival as an advance preview screening of the director’s cut, and it will be followed by an in-depth discussion with the director that involves audience participation in reviewing and evaluating the film.
“We are extremely pleased to work with Paul on his new, unique film about the extraordinary icon, Marilyn Monroe,” Prater says. “I have worked with Paul on several of his other films—one received a Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Movie and another won the Saturn Award for Best DVD of the Year. His work with documentaries is the best. This film is spellbinding, fresh and remarkably insightful. If you think you know Marilyn now, you’ll think again, because declassified FBI and CIA documents highlighted in this film provided momentum to the director for new insights about her life and mysterious death in 1962 at the age of 36. I’m expecting our audience to be very pleased and honored to participate in this first public screening.”
In the film, Marilyn Monroe is revealed to be “the lady who knew too much,” and her threats to expose not only her secret romantic relationships with the Kennedys but also highly classified information put her in a situation reminiscent of today’s Edward Snowden. From the mid-1950s, her marriage to esteemed Jewish playwright Arthur Miller (“Death of a Salesman”) put her under a microscope due to his left-wing leanings in the days of the House Un-American Activities Committee. She was bugged, wiretapped and followed, and she came to the unfortunate attention of the CIA’s Head of Counter-Intelligence.
Davids has worked with others to glean as much as possible from formerly top secret documents that were eventually released under the Freedom of Information Act. These show how the death of Marilyn was like a perfect storm, the opening act of the catastrophic chaos of the 1960s, which included a cascade of assassinations. The film shows that authorities at every level worked overtime to conceal the facts of Marilyn’s death for reasons they defined as “national security.” The players of the drama of that era include John and Robert Kennedy, the enigmatic James Angleton at the CIA, the CIA’s private Mafia hit squad led by Chicago syndicate boss Sam Giancana, Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa, and wiretappers Fred Otash and Bernard Spindel (who died in prison for illegal wiretapping).
Davids, who says he’s read 30 books on Marilyn Monroe and seen almost all of her films and previous films produced about her, explains that unraveling the jigsaw puzzle of her life was one of the biggest challenges in his career. It’s a career that began at Marvel Productions with 79 of the original “Transformers” animated episodes—a career that included co-authoring six “Star Wars” sequel books for Lucasfilm and then writing, producing and directing about ten independent films, most of which have been seen on international TV courtesy of NBCUniversal.
Tickets are available by contacting the film festival box office at (858) 362-1348. Additional information about the film festival can be viewed online at SDJFF.org.