Let's Make Love
The plot is bland dinner-theater fare: A famous billionaire (Montand, as charismatic as a week-old croissant) checks out the production of a Broadway play satirizing him, falls for the show's star (Marilyn, appealing yet anesthetized), and auditions incognito for the role of himself in order to be near her. It's a frayed clothesline on which director George Cukor hangs forced humor, cringe-inducing song breaks, and leaden dialogue. Cukor best known for The Philadelphia Story (1940), the great Tracy-Hepburn comedies Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952), and later winning an Oscar for My Fair Lady (1964) here directs with all the panache of an unwanted contractual obligation. Indeed, Marilyn disliked the script but accepted Let's Make Love to fulfill her Fox contract. Her opening song & dance number, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," offers muffled hints of why we fell in love with her, but like everything else here it generates all the heat of a poorly faked orgasm.
The movie feels three times as long as it actually is, delivering no spark or snap. Not even Tony Randall as Montand's Smithers-like PR man or guest appearances by Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby, and Milton Berle, playing themselves, can save it. Several American actors turned down the Montand part, including Gregory Peck, who quit when the role was reduced by Monroe's then-husband, an uncredited Arthur Miller, to increase her screen time. Peck reportedly dubbed the end result "About as funny as pushing Grandma down the stairs in a wheelchair."
* * *
This DVD, part of Fox's Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection Vol. II set, may be for completist collectors only, but it gives Marilyn's true fans plenty to feel good about. The remastered, well-scrubbed print (2.35:1 anamorphic) looks super. The remastered Dolby 4.0 audio is clean and clear, though otherwise unremarkable.
Like other DVDs in this series, the disc includes a short demo that showcases the restoration process, a gallery of stills, and trailers for other Monroe Diamond Collection titles. Keep-case.