the controversial trio and death of Charlie Chaplin Jr.

Spoilers for ‘Blonde’ ahead

That Blonde is one of the most important films of the year was sung since we met the project. That it was going to be one of the most controversial films on Netflix, too. We are used to biopics that feign a veracity that they do not have. Tributes to its protagonists without chiaroscuro intended for fans of the myth to increase their mythomania. If a decade ago the biopic was used to tell the drama of certain legends with, for example, drugs, now it is created to excuse them. Take the recent examples of Elvis and Freddie Mercury to exemplify how their movies blame their addictions solely on the environment. If the character is female or of a race other than Caucasian, then it must also be made into a symbol of feminist or racial struggle.

It is the sign of the times, and it is not that they are bad, it is that they are monotonous. Many, including Netflix, hoped that the Marilyn Monroe biopic would be a very correct feminist allegation about the actress, denouncing the machismo and abuse she suffered and claiming her figure as an actress with more talent than shown and more intelligence than she could. or let him demonstrate. All of that is in the movie, at least on paper. However, Dominik’s film grows in personality by combining chiaroscuro, leaving cheap and unidirectional speeches for others. Blonde is a complex film that always walks the fine line between denunciation and exploitation, a film that exploits the myth of Marilyn while she denounces him. In the middle, an immense Ana de Armas who, for her part, does defend her dignity as a woman and person of legend with every sword.

All biopics are lies, and none show the real life of any of its protagonists. It is something obvious that some insist on disguising for the most clueless. Blonde, however, is honest with her portrait by approaching a novel that, although it is full of biographical facts of Norma Jean Baker, is created from fiction. That is why the film can walk on very slippery ground. But there will be those who are outraged to see how fictitious creations slip as apparent biographical facts.

Marilyn Monroe and Cass Chaplin in ‘Blonde’


Much commented will be the Blonde scene in which Kennedy rapes and humiliates Marilyn Monroe when, in reality, little is known about their alleged relationship. However, there is an even more thorny element, both by using real names and by modifying a death in this way. We talked about Norma Jean’s relationship with the children of Charles Chaplin and Edward G. Robinson. Both form a sexual trio with her in the first steps of her career. Their relationship is, at first, luminous. The attractive young men teach Marilyn the light side of sex, fascinated by her innocence and beauty. Later, after Marilyn’s first pregnancy and abortion, we see them disappear until the scene in which they blackmail the actress’s first husband with some photos of her Topless. Cass Chaplin’s last appearance is even more lurid, a posthumous letter in which he says goodbye to the actress, confessing to her that he was the author of the letters from her supposed father, completely destroying what little was left of Norma in Marilyn.

The first thing to clarify is that in Joyce Carol Oates’s novel, their relationship is even healthier than in the film. Both suppose, in addition to a liberal sexual exploration of Marilyn, the only vehicle of true friendship for the actress throughout her life. And no, in the novel they never blackmail anyone with compromising photos of her sexual escapades with the actress.

Cass Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe in reality

charles chaplin and charles chaplin jr in 1940
Charles Chaplin and Charles Chaplin Jr. in 1940.

Hulton ArchiveGallery Stock

But if we say that the most controversial figure of Blonde it is neither the rape of the President nor the mistreatment of her first husband, it is because the film, knowing it is fiction, never calls them by the figures they represent, Kennedy and Joe DiMaggio. Neither does she with her second husband, Arthur Miller. However, Charles Chaplin Jr., also called Cass Chaplin, appears claiming her name over and over again. Her life, however, is quite different from the one depicted on screen. Son of the greatest legend of the seventh art with the permission of Marilyn Monroe, Cass Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe had an alleged relationship for a few months, the only documented proof of it being a visit by Monroe to the Chaplin house as an introduction… According to Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroeby Anthony Summers, Cass Chaplin invited Marilyn to dinner at his house in 1947. According to Cass’s own autobiography, called my fatherit is hinted that the two dated for a while, but it is never made clear.

She met Edward G. Robinson Jr. about five years after this relationship ended, and if there was more than friendship, it was very brief. In the words of Summers herself: “whatever passion he might have turned very quickly into friendship.” Therefore, as far as is known or can be demonstrated, neither the times nor the relationships coincide for that supposed sexual trio or that most widespread orgy rampage in the novel to take place. It is a license that Blonde It aims to represent a positive point in Marilyn Monroe’s sexual life, but it is also the one most likely to fall on the side of male fantasy that the film should clearly denounce.

blonde marilyn monroe charles chaplin jr edward g robinson jr ana dearmas xavier samuel and evan williams


Even more controversial, especially if we put ourselves in the perspective of Cass Chaplin’s family, is what refers to his profession and his death. In the film she is shown as an unemployed daddy’s boy who dies an alcoholic drowned with his pretty, and we understand he would live on the rents or actions as unfortunate as blackmailing a friend who trusted him. In real life, Cass Chaplin did not reach the success of her father, but she did have a fairly decent Hollywood career throughout the 50s. Her end was not only not in 62, months before the death of the actress . Chaplin Jr. died in 1968 and did not do so drunk and drowned in his own vomit, but due to a pulmonary embolism.

It doesn’t matter to us that Marilyn Monroe did or didn’t do the sexual escapades you want to think about. Of course, yes Blonde is more interesting than the rest of recent academic biopics is for its commitment to myth rather than reality, for interesting fiction rather than politically correct biographicalism. However, there are quite offensive, demeaning and dangerous alterations of reality that should have more justification than narrative convenience in the face of a dramatic twist in the story. Especially when for many it will remain that a figure like Cass Chaplin, little known to the general public, died drunk as an alcoholic and sexual blackmailer when he was not. We’ve already left the FBI to deal with Kennedy…

blonde marilyn monroe charles chaplin jr edward g robinson jr ana dearmas xavier samuel and evan williams


The article is in Spanish

Tags: controversial trio death Charlie Chaplin

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