Hollywood: The Dark Side – Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe has all the trappings of a tabloid classic. It features breathless narration, an emphasis on scandal, anonymous innuendo, and endless speculation. Basically, Hollywood: The Dark Side is everything a true connoisseur of trash (like me) could ask for.
The brevity of the DVD is the only real drawback here; the whole thing clocks in at a paltry 62 minutes, and that includes a bonus feature titled “The Blondes.” Condensing the lives of Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe into 25-minute segments is a pretty tall order. Sinatra's life alone could be discussed for hours, as could Marilyn's dark and mysterious legacy. Hollywood: The Dark Side distills these two legendary lives down to the essential rumors and innuendo, an admirable feat in itself.
Among the Sinatra highlights are his Mafia affiliations, friendship with and betrayal by John F. Kennedy, and his Rat Pack glory days. Marilyn’s famous “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” clip is shown, details of her numerous affairs are discussed, and of course her alleged drug addiction is analyzed. For True Hollywood Story and Behind The Music aficionados like myself, this is pretty familiar territory. Then again, if a good story is worth telling once, it is worth telling a hundred times.
Oddly enough, I found the bonus feature “The Blondes” to be my personal favorite of the three segments on this DVD. The sheer number of famous blondes whose lives came to strange, untimely ends is fascinating. Jayne Mansfield, Grace Kelley, Princess Diana, and others are all given their due, in patently over-the-top hysterics. And what tabloid feature would be complete without speculation as to future scandalous superstars? Pam Anderson, Paris Hilton, and the magnificent Britney Spears are all discussed in the final moments of this thoroughly entertaining DVD.