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Marilyn Monroe Dress Sells For $4.6 Million (21st June, 2011)


 

The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in one of the most famous photos of her has been sold for $4.6 million. The image of Ms. Monroe’s white dress being lifted well above her knees by air coming from the subway below her is one of Hollywood’s most memorable. She wore the dress in the classic 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch. As the gust of wind lifted it, she said: "Oh, do you feel the breeze from the subway? Isn't it delicious?" The dress was sold by Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, who bought all of Monroe's wardrobe in 1971. Ms. Reynold’s decided to sell it, along with hundreds more items of Hollywood memorabilia, because it became too expensive to keep. She had failed to find a museum that would look after the entire collection.

The auction price set two records. It beat the $1.26 million paid for the dress Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, and it became the most expensive film costume ever sold. The legendary dress was created by designer William Travilla. He said: “I wondered what I could do with this most beautiful girl that Marilyn was to play to make her look clean, talcum-powdered, and adorable.” In fact, the wind-blown image further elevated Monroe as one of the biggest sex symbols ever. Bare flesh in movies was a rare commodity in the early 1950s. The photo of Monroe trying to keep her modesty intact by stopping the wind from revealing more of her legs made the movie a smash hit.


WARM-UPS

1. MARILYN MONROE: Walk around the class and talk to other students about Marilyn Monroe. Change partners often. Sit with your first partner(s) and share your findings.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.

 

dresses / famous photos / subways / Hollywood / movies / wardrobe / memorabilia / auction / Happy Birthday / costumes / adorable / sex symbols / modesty / smash hit

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. MOVIES: What makes a good one? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you wrote. Change and share again.

 

What kind?

Why?

Sexy stars

 

 

Music

 

 

Action

 

 

Cinematography

 

 

A social message

 

 

Costumes

 

 

4. CRAZY: Students A strongly believe it’s crazy to pay millions of dollars for a dress; Students B strongly believe it isn’t.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. FAMOUS AUCTION: What would you buy? Rank these and share your rankings with your partner. Put the one you’d most want at the top. Change partners and share your rankings again.

  • a Hollywood actor’s dress
  • something of Nelson Mandela’s
  • Barack Obama’s diary
  • a sports star’s trophy
  • the first Apple computer
  • a rock star’s guitar
  • a Space Shuttle astronaut’s helmet
  • Einstein’s notebooks

6. DRESS: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘dress’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

A never-seen-before dress worn by Marilyn Monroe sold for millions.

T / F

b.

Monroe wore the dress in her first movie in 1950.

T / F

c.

She described the breeze coming from under the dress as delicious.

T / F

d.

Another famous actor bought the dress in the early 1970s.

T / F

e.

The dress is now the most expensive costume from any movie.

T / F

f.

The designer of the dress wanted to create a sexy image with it.

T / F

g.

It wasn’t common in the 1950s for actors to reveal flesh on-screen.

T / F

h.

The movie in which Monroe wore the dress was a total flop.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

1.

image

a.

raised

2

lifted

b.

in one piece

3.

memorable

c.

whole

4.

legend

d.

cute

5.

entire

e.

picture

6.

set

f.

icon

7.

adorable

g.

showing

8.

bare

h.

established

9.

intact

i.

unforgettable

10.

revealing

j.

naked

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

one of the most famous

a.

from the subway

2

being lifted well above

b.

symbols ever

3.

feel the breeze

c.

the entire collection

4.

Hollywood

d.

and adorable

5.

look after

e.

her knees

6.

The auction price set

f.

ever sold

7.

the most expensive film costume

g.

photos of her

8.

make her look clean, talcum-powdered,

h.

intact

9.

one of the biggest sex

i.

memorabilia

10.

keep her modesty

j.

two records

 


 
 

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

The dress (1) ____________ by Marilyn Monroe in one of the most famous photos of her has been sold for $4.6 million. The   (2) ____________ of Ms. Monroe’s white dress being lifted well above her knees by air coming from the subway                       (3) ____________ her is one of Hollywood’s most memorable. She wore the dress in the classic 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch. As the (4) ____________ of wind lifted it, she said: "Oh, do you feel the breeze from the subway? Isn't it delicious?" The dress was sold by Hollywood (5) ____________ Debbie Reynolds, who bought all of Monroe's wardrobe in 1971. Ms. Reynold’s decided to sell it, along with hundreds more (6) ____________ of Hollywood memorabilia, because it became too expensive to                     (7) ____________. She had failed to find a museum that would look after the (8) ____________ collection.

 

 

 

keep
below
legend
worn
entire
image
items
gust

The auction (9) ____________ set two records. It beat the $1.26 million paid for the dress Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, and it became the most expensive film (10) ____________ ever sold. The legendary dress was created by designer William Travilla. He said: “I (11) ____________ what I could do with this most beautiful girl that Marilyn was to play to make her look (12) ____________, talcum-powdered, and adorable.” In fact, the wind-blown image further elevated Monroe as one of the biggest sex (13) ____________ ever. Bare flesh in movies was a (14) ____________ commodity in the early 1950s. The photo of Monroe trying to keep her modesty (15) ____________ by stopping the wind from (16) ____________ more of her legs made the movie a smash hit.

 

 

rare
clean
costume
revealing
price
symbols
wondered
intact

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

The dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in one of the most __________________ has been sold for $4.6 million. The image of Ms. Monroe’s white dress being __________________ her knees by air coming from the subway below her is one of Hollywood’s __________________. She wore the dress in the classic 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch. __________________ lifted it, she said: "Oh, do you feel the breeze from the subway? Isn't it delicious?" The dress was sold by Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, __________________ Monroe's wardrobe in 1971. Ms. Reynold’s decided to sell it, along with hundreds more items of Hollywood memorabilia, because it became too expensive to keep. She __________________ a museum that would look after the entire collection.

The _____________________ records. It beat the $1.26 million paid for the dress Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, and it became the most expensive __________________ sold. The legendary dress was created by designer William Travilla. He said: “I wondered ____________________ this most beautiful girl that Marilyn was to __________________ look clean, talcum-powdered, and adorable.” In fact, the wind-blown image further elevated Monroe as one of the biggest sex symbols ever. Bare flesh in movies was __________________ in the early 1950s. The photo of Monroe trying to keep her modesty intact by stopping the wind ____________________ of her legs made the movie a smash hit.

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘auction’ and ‘price’.

auction

price

 

 

 

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

  • image
  • below
  • classic
  • wardrobe
  • decided
  • entire
  • beat
  • costume
  • created
  • clean
  • flesh
  • intact

STUDENT MARILYN MONROE SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about Marilyn Monroe in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

 

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

 

 

 

 

Q.2.

 

 

 

 

Q.3.

 

 

 

 

Q.4.

 

 

 

 

Q.5.

 

 

 

 

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

MARILYN MONROE DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the name ‘Marilyn Monroe’?

c)

What do you think of a dress being sold for $4.6 million?

d)

What do you know about Marilyn Monroe?

e)

Would you like to buy something from a Hollywood movie star?

f)

What do you think is the most memorable Hollywood image?

g)

Why are people interested in Hollywood memorabilia?

h)

What do you think the buyer will do with the dress?

i)

What would you do with the dress?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Have you ever bought anything in an auction (including eBay)?

c)

Have you seen any Marilyn Monroe movies?

d)

What do you think of old, classic movies?

e)

Do you think there is too much flesh and sex scenes in movies today?

f)

What’s the most you’d spend on an item of clothing?

g)

Do movies need to have sexy scenes in them?

h)

What three adjectives would you use to describe this story?

i)

What questions would you like to ask the person who bought the dress?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

The dress (1) ____ by Marilyn Monroe in one of the most famous photos of her has been sold for $4.6 million. The image of Ms. Monroe’s white dress (2) ____ lifted well above her knees by air coming from the subway below her is one of Hollywood’s most (3) ____. She wore the dress in the classic 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch. As the (4) ____ of wind lifted it, she said: "Oh, do you feel the breeze from the subway? Isn't it delicious?" The dress was sold by Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, who bought all of Monroe's wardrobe in 1971. Ms. Reynold’s decided to sell it, (5) ____ with hundreds more items of Hollywood memorabilia, because it became too expensive to keep. She had failed to find a museum that would look after the (6) ____ collection.

The auction price (7) ____ two records. It beat the $1.26 million paid for the dress Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, and it became the most expensive film costume ever sold. The legendary dress was created (8) ____ designer William Travilla. He said: “I wondered what I could do with this most beautiful girl that Marilyn was to play to make her look clean, talcum-(9) ____, and adorable.” In fact, the wind-(10) ____ image further elevated Monroe as one of the biggest sex symbols ever. Bare flesh in movies was a rare  (11) ____ in the early 1950s. The photo of Monroe trying to keep her modesty intact by stopping the wind (12) ____ revealing more of her legs made the movie a smash hit.

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

wearing

(b)

wears

(c)

wearer

(d)

worn

2.

(a)

was

(b)

been

(c)

being

(d)

be

3.

(a)

memory

(b)

memorable

(c)

memories

(d)

memorize

4.

(a)

gust

(b)

guest

(c)

jest

(d)

gist

5.

(a)

longing

(b)

long

(c)

along

(d)

longer

6.

(a)

all

(b)

every

(c)

each

(d)

entire

7.

(a)

let

(b)

set

(c)

get

(d)

vet

8.

(a)

by

(b)

from

(c)

at

(d)

in

9.

(a)

powder

(b)

powdered

(c)

powders

(d)

powdering

10.

(a)

blows

(b)

blew

(c)

blown

(d)

blowing

11.

(a)

commodity

(b)

commotion

(c)

commode

(d)

common

12.

(a)

via

(b)

through

(c)

middle

(d)

from

WRITING

Write about Marilyn Monroe for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about Marilyn Monroe’s dress. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. MARILYN MONROE: Make a poster about Marilyn Monroe. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. MOVIE COSTUMES: Write a magazine article about movie costumes. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against it.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to the buyer of Marilyn Monroe’s dress. Ask him/her three questions about Marilyn Monroe. Give him/her three ideas about what to do with the dress. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

F

b.

F

c.

T

d.

T

e.

T

f.

F

g.

T

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

image

a.

picture

2

lifted

b.

raised

3.

memorable

c.

unforgettable

4.

legend

d.

icon

5.

entire

e.

whole

6.

set

f.

established

7.

adorable

g.

cute

8.

bare

h.

naked

9.

intact

i.

in one piece

10.

revealing

j.

showing

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

one of the most famous

a.

photos of her

2

being lifted well above

b.

her knees

3.

feel the breeze

c.

from the subway

4.

Hollywood

d.

memorabilia

5.

look after

e.

the entire collection

6.

The auction price set

f.

two records

7.

the most expensive film costume

g.

ever sold

8.

make her look clean, talcum-powdered,

h.

and adorable

9.

one of the biggest sex

i.

symbols ever

10.

keep her modesty

j.

intact

GAP FILL:

Marilyn Monroe dress sells for $4.6m

The dress (1) worn by Marilyn Monroe in one of the most famous photos of her has been sold for $4.6 million. The (2) image of Ms. Monroe’s white dress being lifted well above her knees by air coming from the subway (3) below her is one of Hollywood’s most memorable. She wore the dress in the classic 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch. As the (4) gust of wind lifted it, she said: "Oh, do you feel the breeze from the subway? Isn't it delicious?" The dress was sold by Hollywood (5) legend Debbie Reynolds, who bought all of Monroe's wardrobe in 1971. Ms. Reynold’s decided to sell it, along with hundreds more (6) items of Hollywood memorabilia, because it became too expensive to (7) keep. She had failed to find a museum that would look after the (8) entire collection.

The auction (9) price set two records. It beat the $1.26 million paid for the dress Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday" to President John F. Kennedy, and it became the most expensive film (10) costume ever sold. The legendary dress was created by designer William Travilla. He said: “I (11) wondered what I could do with this most beautiful girl that Marilyn was to play to make her look (12) clean, talcum-powdered, and adorable.” In fact, the wind-blown image further elevated Monroe as one of the biggest sex (13) symbols ever. Bare flesh in movies was a (14) rare commodity in the early 1950s. The photo of Monroe trying to keep her modesty (15) intact by stopping the wind from (16) revealing more of her legs made the movie a smash hit.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - c

3 - b

4 - a

5 - c

6 - d

7 - b

8 - a

9 - b

10 - c

11 - a

12 - d

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