“Most women use more brains picking a horse in the third at Belmont than they do picking a husband.”
Three golddigging models (Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, and Betty Grable) share a chic-chic apartment in New York, in hopes of snaring millionaire husbands.
Response to Peary’s Review:
This remake of 1932’s The Greeks Had a Word for Them was meant to capitalize on Marilyn Monroe’s popular turn as “dumb blonde” Lorelei Lee in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (released earlier that same year). While Monroe’s performance here as “the hopelessly nearsighted bubblehead who won’t wear glasses around men” remains the most enjoyable in the film, Bacall and Grable do fine as well — and I disagree with Peary that Grable comes across as “annoying” (indeed, she’s responsible for some of the funniest moments in the film). I also disagree with Peary that the movie “chastises golddigging women” while presenting it as “perfectly acceptable for men to chase women because they’re pretty” — this is actually an equal-opportunity critique of the tricky interplay between romance and money; indeed, William Powell as an older man who loves gold-digging Bacall but is hesitant to marry her (he gives a “characteristically classy performance”) is evidence of this. Ultimately, while How to Marry a Millionaire may be, as Peary notes, simply “pleasant fluff”, it remains a worthy, must-see film.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Marilyn Monroe’s delightful performance as the nearly-blind Pola: “Men aren’t attentive to girls who wear glasses!”
- Betty Grable as upbeat “Loco”
- Lauren Bacall as the uber-rational Schatze
- Cameron Mitchell as Tom Brookman, a deceptively wealthy man in pursuit of Bacall
- William Powell as Bacall’s would-be older suitor
- Grable and her married escort (Fred Clark) discovering their divergent interpretations of the word “lodge”
- Monroe’s initial encounters with Alexander D’Arcy (the original occupant of their apartment)
- Fun camarederie between the three golddigging friends
Yes. While not entirely successful, this film holds historical importance as one of the first CinemaScope pictures, and should be seen by every film fanatic.