A man writes a letter. It is not just any letter and it is not just any man, but Arthur Miller. It is the year 1966, and Miller is already a world famous playwright, who is defined by the Americans as their moral conscience. The letter he writes is addressed to Nigeria’s violent dictator General Gowon who had arrested and sentenced to death Miller’s fellow playwright Wole Soyinka. When General Gowon received the letter he asked the messenger whether this Mr. Miller was the ex-husband of Marilyn Monroe. As he learned that it was indeed one and the same person, he immediately prompted to release Wole Soyinka. Like so many, General Gowon was consumed by the myth of Marilyn Monroe and could never deny a favour to the man who once held this woman in his arms.
The 60 minute documentary “Arthur Miller – Man of the Century” by director Henrike Sandner portraits the life of a man who, over the course of seven decades, created some of the most memorable stage plays in World Literature, and by marrying Marilyn Monroe turned into an American icon. All his life he was torn between glamour, success, social criticism and love. He never stopped to be curious and was always open to find new ways, pushing his limits. Born in New York in the 1920s his biography is tightly connected to the great themes of the 20th century: World War Two, the Atomic Bomb, the American Dream embodied by Marilyn Monroe, the world of Theater on Broadway and the chivvy of communists during the McCarthy era. All these events accompany a biography as fascinating as one can imagine.