[box cover]

How to Marry a Millionaire

Marilyn Monroe: The Diamond Collection

  • Bus Stop
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • How to Marry a Millionaire
  • Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days
  • The Seven Year Itch
  • There's No Business Like Show Business
  • No, it's not a how-to video for Darva Conger; it's not even a prep course for how to snag an eligible Silicon Valley bachelor. How to Marry a Millionaire is a fun piece of '50s fluff, a light romantic comedy meant for one purpose: to serve as a star vehicle for Marilyn Monroe. In that respect, it succeeds admirably — Monroe, as well as co-stars Lauren Bacall and pin-up fave Betty Grable, is in her prime here, strutting her stuff for all she's worth. As a trio of poor models who plan to snare rich husbands by renting a fancy Manhattan apartment and mingling with the créme de la créme of society, the three starlets light up the screen. Bacall plays ruthless divorcee Schatze Page, who was burned once by marrying for love and wants to pick her next mate with her head instead of her heart; Monroe is Pola Debevoise, a naïve blond bubblehead (a Monroe specialty) who refuses to wear her much-needed glasses for fear of turning off potential swains; and Grable provides comic relief as Loco Dempsy, a feisty, good-hearted gal prone to malapropisms. The models' suitors include Rory Calhoun as a handsome forest ranger, Fred Clark as bitter tycoon Waldo Brewster, Cameron Mitchell as the scruffy-yet-loaded Tom Brookman, David Wayne as a man on the lam, and the incomparable William Powell as aging millionaire J.D. Hanley. Though the plot of Millionaire is a little thin — will the girls really marry for money, or will their hearts win out? (Take a wild guess...) — the cast makes it worth watching. Monroe is as charming and breathy as ever, Grable is accessible and funny, and Bacall successfully mixes haughtiness and vulnerability (she also has one of the film's most clever lines; when explaining to Powell's character that she likes older men, she cites as an example "What's his name in The African Queen" — real-life hubbie Humphrey Bogart). The film, one of the earliest to be filmed in the extra-widescreen CinemaScope format, gets a dandy treatment on DVD. Part of Fox's Diamond Collection honoring Monroe, Millionaire has been restored and remastered, and it shows: The finished anamorphic transfer (2.55:1) is virtually flawless, and the Dolby Digital 4.0 audio is also impressive (English stereo and French mono tracks are also available, as are English and Spanish subtitles). A nice collection of extras includes the original theatrical trailer (which touts CinemaScope ad nauseum), plus Italian and German trailers, a split-frame comparison between the special restored print and the original restored print, and a quick vintage Movietone newsreel of the stars attending the movie's premiere in Hollywood. Previews for the other movies in the Diamond Collection are also offered. Keep-case.
    —Betsy Bozdech

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