So Thing 1 and I try to catch a classic film once a month. Last month, “How to Marry a Millionaire” graced our “we-are-the-last-family-to-not-own-a-huge-flat-screen” television. I cringe to admit that I’ve never watched a Marilyn Monroe film all the way through. She’s such and icon, a historical enigma, and so I figured this would be good break-in. Thing 2 hopped on the opposite couch and joined in for the Cinemascope wonder. Take it away, Wikipedia:
“The film stars Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall as three gold diggers, along with William Powell, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, and Cameron Mitchell. Betty Grable received top billing in the screen credits but Marilyn Monroe’s name was first in all advertising, including the trailer.”
Of course, these ladies are all models by trade. The film jumps in like a good book, in the middle of a plot, where Schatze (Lauren Bacall) rents a penthouse from a man on the run from the IRS. Pola (Marilyn Monroe) and Loco (Betty Grable) are her lucky roommates. They sit on the balcony and get down to the nitty gritty of how one of them needs to marry a millionaire. Simply put, it’s a business deal. Snag a rich guy, live the life of luxury. Easy.
Not so much. Fantastic clips show furniture disappearing, pawned to pay for groceries. Schatze simply explains it away to her target. I mean, who wouldn’t agree with a knock-out living in a penthouse that she sent her furniture for cleaning?
Schatze finds herself pestered by Tom, a man who paid for the groceries when Loco “forgot” her wallet. Schatze wants none of his attentions, as he isn’t who she is hunting. She’s a woman on a mission and turns down his offer of marriage, clueless to the fact he is a multimillionaire.
Pola is the comedic relief and Marilyn did a great job of portraying the extremely nearsighted model who hates to wear her glasses because, “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses.” She falls for a grifter and ends up on a wrong plane due to her lack of eyewear, where she meets “quite a strudel” sitting next to her. It was a pleasure to hear that line delivered in typical, breathy Marilyn style.
Loco tries to find her millionaire, but ends up head over heels for a poor, yet ruggedly handsome forest ranger. Her storyline is almost boring and both of the spawn and I agree that her acting was somewhat flat.
Pola and Loco both end up getting hitched to their men over the weekend. Maybe in 1953, it there were wedding chapels everywhere. They both come back to the penthouse, where Schatze is about to marry her millionaire, a man twice her age. And just before the ceremony, she announces that she can’t go through with it because…she’s in love with Tom, the grocery dude. Tom happens to be at the wedding and so they get hitched on the spot.
The film ends up at a burger joint, all three couples at the counter. Schatze jokes with the other two men about their net worth, which are tiny. Tom pipes up and says he’s worth 200 million, which everyone takes as a joke—until he pulls out a $1,000 bill and tells the chef to keep the change.
Do they even make $1,000 bills? Yes…yes, they did!
If you have a couple of hours to kill, this is a decent classic. I would not put it in the realm of “Roman Holiday” or “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” but it’s worth a single watch, especially for Marilyn Monroe’s silly role.
As, a LOVELY footnote, Wikipedia as says: “In 2007, Nicole Kidman bought the rights to “How to Marry a Millionaire” under her production company Blossom Films, and is set to produce and possibly star in a remake.” Well, maybe it’s just taking a long time to cast the film…