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HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, 1953
Movie Review

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HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE MOVIE POSTER
HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, 1953
Movie Reviews

Directed by Jean Negulesco
Starring: Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun
Review by Steve Painter



SYNOPSIS:

Three New York models, Shatze, Pola and Loco set-up in an exclusive appartment with a plan: tired of cheap men and a lack of money they intend to use all their talents to trap and marry three millionaires. The trouble is that's it's not so easy to tell the rich men from the huxters and even when they can, is the money really worth it?

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REVIEW:

How to Marry A Millionaire (1953) solidified Marilyn Monroe as a star. The movie has three female leads. The established vixen of the 1940s, Lauren Bacall, and Fox’s number one leading lady, Betty Grable, yet the movie is dominated by Monroe.

Bacall, Grable and Monroe are three friends living in New York who are trying to get rich quick by marrying a millionaire. This does not seem like such a hard thing to do considering the looks of the three women, but things are more complicated than the three think.

It all begins with their place of residence. By some oddity Bacall is able to rent out a penthouse apartment from a wealthy man, or at least he is wealthy right now. Businessman Freddie Denmark is on his way to Europe so he can avoid the IRS, he gives his place over to Bacall at a cheap price. Bacall’s two other model friends quickly move in and it seems like they are in paradise.

The first step to marrying a millionaire is meeting one. The three girls have no problems with this. Bacall finds the old widower J.D. Hanley, he is the stereotypical millionaire who wants a trophy wife. Bacall is not too impressed with him, but likes his money. The common man Tom Brookman has his eyes set on Bacall, but she pays him no attention, believing he is just a gas station worker, as he is similar to her first husband who had the same job.

The two other girls don’t find much better men. Grable is going with a grumpy businessman and Monroe, who happens to be blind as a bat but will not wear her glasses as she feels they diminish her appearance, takes the company of a phony Arab oil tycoon. Grable does not know that her businessman is married and wants to take her to his cabin in Vermont for a quiet weekend. Monroe also does not know that her man has ulterior motives, although things work out for the two.

Grable’s man happens to get sick with the measles upon their arrival. She ends up spending the weekend with park ranger Eben and finds true love. On the other hand, Monroe’s nearsightedness plays tricks on her and she gets on the wrong airplane. She is not headed to Atlantic City where her oil tycoon man is, instead she is off to Kansas City. On the flight she meets a nice man who likes her when she wears glasses. This man is Freddie Denmark, who is on the way to Kansas City to find the accountant who made the IRS investigate him.

So things seem to work out, Bacall settles her age difference with the old man J.D. Grable and Eben arrive at her wedding as a couple. As does Monroe and Denmark. Tom also shows up and is immediately recognized by J.D. as a rich businessman. This throws Bacall for a loop, but J.D. graciously steps aside and she gets what she wanted all along, a millionaire to marry.

The movie is obviously a comedy and all three leading ladies have their moments. Monroe has her glasses. Grable is dense, as she believes that when Eben says that the forest land is “all mine” he means that he owns it, of course he just works it. Bacall might have the best joke in the movie though. She says that she likes older men when defending her like for J.D. She says she likes Roosevelt, Churchill and “what’s-his-name from The African Queen.” Of course the actor was her real life husband, Humphrey Bogart.

How to Marry a Millionaire is not a deep movie. It does not pretend to be however. It is light comedy. Much like all light comedies the plot is predictable, but the ride the actors take you on make it enjoyable.

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