A Review of: How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) Directed by Jean Negulesco

Another Marilyn film review (there are also plenty more to come!), How to Marry a Millionaire also features Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall in a seriously girl-powered film. 

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(photos I use in this blog are obviously not mine, but were found on google) 

The plot of How to Marry a Millionaire is basically centered around three girl friends, all looking for eligible bachelors, with one thing in common: they must have money. And lots of it.

It’s a possibly objectionable idea that the best thing a woman can do with her life is marry into money, but then, it could also be viewed as women knowing exactly what they want and going after it. Only to learn in the end that it really isn’t the be all and end all. It really is a reflection of the 1950’s.

Furthermore, anyone interested in the icons of Hollywood cinema would get a tremendous kick out of seeing three legends, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall, and Marilyn Monroe, on screen together, playing to each of their strengths. It’s electric.

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Although all three characters are connected by their mission to find wealthy husbands as well as all being New York models, Grable, Bacall and Monroe all bring something different to the table. Grable’s character Loco is approachable and spunky, whilst Bacall’s Schatze is resourceful and smart. Monroe brings innocence, as well as her ‘expected’ dumb blonde persona, along with a touch of comedy excellence in her character Pola. Although she at times hated the fact she was typecast in to the same old kinds of roles, she does do them well. It’s just a shame some people failed to realise that this was just an on-screen performance and not her real personality. She was actually very intelligent, witty and driven.

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One of the funniest devices used throughout the movie is the way in which Pola, Marilyn’s character, is so afraid to wear her glasses for fear that an eligible bachelor would turn her down, that she bumps in to numerous things, including men, and ends up making a few mistakes due to her astigmatism.

It’s predictable that, in their search for millionaires, the women learn a thing or two about how important wealth really is, as well as meeting men who, although have money, just aren’t right for them. There’s ups and downs for all three, who, during this, offer comedic performances and a powerhouse of charisma. The three actresses bounce off each other very well and leave you almost wanting to be a part of their friendship group, too. In real life, it was reported that all three did get on well.

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There is a wedding in the film too, between who I won’t say. And I just love the humorous ending. It sums the film up perfectly.

All three female leads have some great costume changes in the film, with Marilyn’s being my obvious personal favourite.

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