1950's, Alex D'Arcy, Betty Grable, Cameron Mitchell, Comedy, David Wayne, Fred Clark, How to Marry a Millionaire, Jean Negulesco, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Romantic Comedy, Rory Calhoun, William Powell
How to Marry a Millionaire
- Betty Grable as Loco Dempsey
- Marilyn Monroe as Pola Debevoise
- Lauren Bacall as Schatze Page
- David Wayne as Freddie Denmark
- Rory Calhoun as Eben
- Cameron Mitchell as Tom Brookman
- Alex D’Arcy as J. Stewart Merrill
- Fred Clark as Waldo Brewster
- William Powell as J. D. Hanley
Delightfully frothy and immensely witty, How to Marry a Millionaire has glamour, laughs and star power all courtesy of old Hollywood at its best and most gloriously colourful.
Loco Dempsey, Pola Debevoise and Schatze Page are three New York models with not a lot of money. Fortunately, the cynical Schatze has a plan to solve this. With the other two, she rents a penthouse apartment( which unbeknownst to them is owned by Freddie Denmark, who is avoiding revenue by living abroad after he was caught in some dodgy deal) , and plans to find a rich man for each of them to marry, with help from the apartment and the beautiful charms of themselves. This plan soon becomes very complicated and full of mishaps for the three girls. Schatze catches the attentions of a widowed businessman named J. D. Hanley, while also being pursued by the charming Tom Brookman, who she mistakenly believes is of little wealth but is in fact very well off. The scatterbrained Loco finds company with grumpy louse Waldo Brewster, who whisks her to a lodge that is far from prosperous despite her misconception that it will be luxurious. Around this time, she falls for Eben, a handsome ranger who despite not having any real money, she can’t help but love. The sweet but near-sighted Pola, who refuses to wear glasses in front of men, becomes acquainted with Freddie Denmark, although she doesn’t realise this for a long time because of her refusal to wear spectacles. All three ladies soon find that while they may want money, love may also be an option too if they let it play out and focus on the man rather than his bank account.
Director Jean Negulesco gives vivacious life to this comic tale with colour at every corner and comic mishaps present throughout the scheme to marry rich men. He is aided by a witty script, that cackles with one-liners and a nice rapport between the central trio of gold diggers. This was one of the first movies to use CinemaScope and this is highlighted by an orchestra sequence that just brings sparky energy to what will follow shortly. Costume design is stunningly beautiful and of the highest standard there is in Hollywood glamour. How to Marry a Millionaire may have the odd snag here and there with some of it a little outdated and slow, but overall it’s a delightful fill of breezy quality and amusing wit. A lively and very brisk musical score compliments the many mishaps that occur with a mischievous charm and glee.
The three main actresses in this film are fine in their roles and boast an excellent rapport with one another. Betty Grable brings eager charms but clueless wide-eyed gazes to the part of Loco, who has habit of finding men at the supermarket. The beautiful Marilyn Monroe is pitch perfect as the sweet, dreamy and fawning Pola, whose self-consciousness about wearing glasses leads to many a comedic moment when she almost walks into walls or people. But the scene stealer of How to Marry a Millionaire is Lauren Bacall. With her dry and acerbic delivery and clearly the brains behind the scheme, Bacall is having fun as the opportunistic Schatze and brings a ton of personality to her. Like I said earlier, the three women have a great chemistry around each other as they put their plan into motion, but find unexpected results occur. The men of the picture are suitably good, with Cameron Mitchell and William Powell standing out, but it’s the colourful ladies that you will remember after the film ends.
Witty, vibrant and full of laughs, How to Marry a Millionaire is an excellent showcase for the female talent involved that will no doubt make you want to watch it again.