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|Index||72 reviews in total|
Romantic comedy starring Lauren Bacall as a model who bluffs her way
into a sublease of a swanky Manhattan apartment rooming with two model
friends with each scheming to marry a millionaire. This is an
entertaining but superficial chick-flick meditating whether a gal
should marry for love or money, or if you can maybe get both. Along
with The Robe this was the premiere event for CinemaScope, and it also
provided a breathless introduction to stereophonic sound.
As a romantic comedy it is imperfect, and it is ironically hampered by the very things that made it important in its original release. The grand images intended for magnificent CinemaScope will only appear smaller than normal on your small-screen television with horizontal black bars, or will be absurdly distorted to fit the aspect ratio of your monitor. And the stereo means nothing to us now, so the film's frequent side-trips into sound and scenery gimmicks are only a distraction to us now.
But as a historical peek at its time this film really delivers. You get the tacky materialism and newly-found hedonism of the beginning of post-war prosperity in the early 1950's, as well as a nervous examination of the changing social mores around the role of women. Plus you get a wonderful record of what New York City looked like circa 1953, and a gee-whiz tribute to the new phenomenon of commercial air travel.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The title sounded appealing, the three female leads are called three of the legends, and I knew I had to see this film if it had Marilyn in it. Basically three New York models, Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall), Pola Debevoise (Marilyn Monroe) and Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable) have set up an exclusive apartment with a plan. Besides giving away their many pieces of furniture and ornaments for cash, they are tired of cheap men and intend to use their skills to trap and marry three millionaires. But as they find what they think are their perfect targets, they are both struggling to tell the rich from the hucksters, and they wonder is the money really worth it (no real feelings towards the men). One by one, they eventually start falling for their true love interests, who all look like Normal Joes, and all eventually will become their husbands. In the end, Pola has married a nice guy from a plane who has the same eye sight trouble she does, Loco has married someone that really cares about her, and Schatze eventually walks out of her intended millionaire marriage to be with the almost stalking nice guy, but in the end, a bit anticipated but still great, all three "Normal Joes" share a secret of being millionaires. Also starring David Wayne as Freddie Denmark, Rory Calhoun as Eben, Cameron Mitchell as Tom Brookman, Alexander D'Arcy as J. Stewart Merrill, Fred Clark as Waldo Brewster and William Powell as J.D. Hanley. The best jokes for me are Monroe taking off her glasses and bumping into people, and obviously her regular naivety routine. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Costume Design, and it was nominated the BAFTA for Best Film from any Source. Marilyn Monroe number 39 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars, Lauren Bacall was number 20, and Monroe number 6 on 100 Years, 100 Stars - Women, she was number 3 on The 100 Greatest Sex Symbols (she could have been number 1), and she was number 11 on The 100 Greatest Pop Culture Icons. Very good!
Yes, this is a the "grand-daddy" of the Fox confections of the 50's, enhanced by CinemaScope and stereo sound yet. A yummy creation that takes advantage of its three female stars and sets. Marilyn, as usaul, is a delight. She excels in these roles. Even though she probably didn't like to play them, no one could do it better. This and Loreli Lee in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES are her trademarks. What a wonderful legacy. Lauran Bacall and Betty Grable each have their moments as well, with Bacall a bit to saracatic and not nearly as lovable as Monroe or Grable. The three work well together and one wishes they shared more scenes. The story unfolds leisurerly but still would have been better if more scenes were added or less deleted from the final cut. The men are good and work well with the ladies. What a nice piece of fluff and what a pity movies like these are not made today. If this were re-made it would be full of nudity, vulgar dialog and a gay character somewhere along the line. And who could possibly replace these three icons? Cameron Diaz, Kirstin Dunst, Brittany Spears, Brittany Murphy etc...Ugh!
Lauren Bacall finds an apartment in New York City that she cant afford, so she calls her friends to move in and help with the rent. Of course, they STILL can't afford the rent, so one of the running gags here is how they DO pay the rent. The girls are all looking for men with some money, and watch the adventures as they go on a dating spree to find them. Bacall, Monroe, and Grable all try different tactics to find the perfect man, and when they each catch one, they have some decisions to make. David Wayne (Ellery Queen, House Calls) plays the owner of the apartment that the girls are renting, and un-wittingly becomes part of the excitement. William Powell (Nick Charles, Thin Man) has smallish part, playing a dashing, older gent. Fun, color remake of the original "The Greeks had a Word for Them" from 1932. The three lead characters even had some of the same names in the 1932 version.
No Betty Grable was not 15-20 years too old for the part of Loco, she was 35 at the time, she looked fabulous, acted with great charm , had wonderful million dollar legs, had the most on screen time, was top billed, got most money, outdistanced Monroe as a screen presence and with Bacall playing the straight man had no competition on screen. Monroe had the biggest build up on the movie, all publicity was aimed at her. she was in awe of Grable,s position at fox (although weaker than couple of years before, her box office pull was still something to behold, she was still listed as Fox's top moneymaker) thats why Betty Grable ruled supreme. Betty Grable was the number one female box office star for ten consecutive years no other female star can match her record.
Despite Betty Grable's top billing, this is Lauren Bacall's film. She heads up a trio of beauties (including Marilyn Monroe) renting a Manhattan penthouse for the summer to seek millionaire husbands. There's a 1953 fashion show, and a mirror sequence devised to show off Cinemascope, since this was the first picture filmed, but released after the more prestigious "The Robe" (1953). Grable is miscast, being 15 years too old for the role, and not a particularly good actress. Monroe looks terrific, and shows great comedic timing, while Bacall is chic, sophisticated and wise. Cute.
This movie was great. It was funny and cool. Marilyn Monroe wore some incredible outfits. Even though, she was depicted as a dumb blonde, who wanted to find a millionaire to marry. It is shown in this movie that she has incredible comedic talents. Marilyn says in one part, "Don't forget to save some for the dog." Lauren Bacall played the part of the smart woman who came up with all the ideas for getting a rich man and keeping enough money for the penthouse they rented. Betty Grable was the con artist, who used her sex appeal to get what she wanted. Cool movie. You must See!!
I love the costuming choices. Bacall is just divine and Grable looks wonderful. The fashions of the 50s have not been replicated in stylishness. The plot is humorous, but seems to be more of a vehicle for showcasing Bacall, Grable and Monroe.
How To Marry a Millionaire defines the word Glamor with a capital G. No movie, before or since, has even come close. Enough said!
I rented this as a "Marilyn Movie". It really isn't. She's in it sure enough
but Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable carry this movie. Marilyn is fine in her
role, and many would say, myself included, a treat to see but her part is
limited. Lauren Bacall is superb. She now has a new loyal fan. Betty Grable
is wonderful as the "Dumb Blonde", in this one she does it better than
Marilyn. She's also a lot more than just a great pair of legs. William
Powell is also on the money as J.D. Hanley. This is a funny movie that even
though clearly dated and a bit campy is a joy to see.
Lauren Bacall heads up the cast with Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe as models hunting for a millionaire husband. One lucky girl does land one but they all end up winners.
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