For some upfronts, I’m not particularly fond of Monroe. I’m not exactly cold on her, but I’ve never volunteered to see a film because of her presence. It’s the odd way I feel about a startling number of the female stars of the eras. Not dislike, but a strange case of apathy. It’s as if I missed a generation of Hollywood divas. I’d have seen this and probably loved it in the 30s when it starred Katharine Hepburn, Irene Dunne and Carole Lombard or in the 70s when it starred Jane Fonda, Faye Dunaway and Diane Keaton. I mention two sets of stars because How to Marry a Millionaire is the sort of harmless comedy which depends little on the actual plot of the story and more on the draw of the performers. And, the performers are lovely but I find it difficult to get truly invested in their shenanigans.
The scheme goes thus: three eligible young ladies, the scheming Schatze (Lauren Bacall), the cheerful Loco (Betty Grable) and guileless Pola (Marilyn Monroe) rent a penthouse they cannot afford in order to attract and marry millionaires. Of course, over time, the ladies will come to realise that true love is of more significance than dollar bills even though Schatze is the only one who seemed certain of the opposite initially. The film is directed by Romanian Jean Negulesco (Johnny Belinda, Three Came Home, and significantly the 1976 The Pleasure Seekers which bears significant resemblance to How to Marry A Millionaire). I’ve not seen enough of Negulesco’s to uncover a potent style in his directing but I’ll offer of the five I have seen his films are modestly directed. To his vast credit here, though, when the film clicks it clicks not for its writing, but more for Negulesco’s panache. The awkwardness of the story loses its edges when mounted so easily and it’s not directed funnily per se but it is humorous.
None of the “funny” moments really demanded a citation for best shot, though, and what intrigued me most was the composition of the shots with the three women in them. Like this one.
Consider that shot of three with this shot of three.
|My Best Shot|
Head over to Chez Nathaniel later tonight for a slew of Best Shot-ty posts on How to Be a Millionaire, I'm sure everyone else loved it more.