Now released in a restored version of the classic 1953 original, (the first movie to be filmed in CinemaScope), How to Marry a Millionaire was written and produced before the age of womens lib and bra burning. It will strike a chord in the psyche of those who lived or grew up in that era. Women may have gained some independence when their husbands went off to war in the early forties, but, by and large, they remained subjugated in their marriages.
The film begins, even before the credits have rolled out, with a lengthy performance by a full symphony orchestra, supposedly to introduce and demonstrate the new wide-screen technology. However, because the piece is so long, it is apt to confuse viewers who do not realize it has been included for a specific purpose.
The plot of this skillfully-written, albeit implausible, comedy gives us a peek into the lives of three beautiful models, all eager to find a rich husband.Mrs. Page (Lauren Bacall), is the savvy and cunning mastermind of a scheme to snare husbands for herself and for her two cohorts, Pola (Marilyn Monroe) and Loco (Betty Grable).Pola is the ultimate dumb blonde and Loco is equally ditzy and dimwitted, but she is also a bit more resourceful.With all this in mind, all three agree to pool their funds and rent an expensive
At the outset of this ill-conceived caper (the women end up having to sell the apartment owners furniture when their money starts to run out), ringleader Bacall tells Monroe and Grable he done me wrong, relating to them the woes of her first marriage and the mistake she made in hooking up with a neer do well gas station attendant.She admits that she wants to wed again (for no woman could possibly be happy without a husband), but this time she will seek out someone of means, using her head instead of her heart.Mired with a hackneyed and predictable plot, the film ends with a twist; but, ultimately, all three women marry for love instead of money.
Playing the clueless Pola,
The Academy Award-nominated costume design by William Travilla is dazzling, and other than the wide-screen visual effects made possible by the newly created CinemaScope, is probably one of the most notable production features of the film.Travilla has created a stunning array of 50s fashions and has all three stars modeling his clothes, enabling Gable to bare her famous legs and
Todays moviegoers, and certainly their progeny, will most likely find the sets and backdrops in this film quite archaic. The new wide-screen technology effectively shows off the
Some of the charm of this frivolous remake of the 1933 film, The Greeks Had a Word for Them lies is in the ongoing synergy among Bacall, Grable and Monroe.Perhaps not a classic film in the truest sense, How to Marry a Millionaire provides an enjoyable escapist experience.
– Karen Berk