Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

“All my life ever since I was a little girl I've always had the same dream. To marry a zillionaire.”

            I think it is every girls dream to marry a millionaire. Well in today’s world a millionaire ten times over. Good lord what I would NOT do with a few million at my disposal! First thing I would pay off my student loans and get my Masters in Art History and get a degree Anthropology and photography (two of the most random things right?). Then I would buy myself an awesome car… wait why would I buy a car when I can just have someone drive me around all the time? My dream is to have an apartment on Fifth Ave in New York City right across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art so I can go there whenever I feel like it. Oh and pay to get into the most awesome events that go on in NYC. 
            But then there is another side to all this as there always is. In the 1953 film How to Marry a Millionaire three women are on the prowl for rich men who will take care of them and buy them all the diamonds and mink coats they could ever want. They meet these rich men and begin to find that they are not the types of men they could ever be happy with.
            Model Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall) buys a fully furnished penthouse apartment. The man who owns the apartment is on the run for tax reasons. She looks like she can afford the penthouse without a problem as she hands the realtor two thousand dollars for the first two months of rent. As soon as the realtor leaves she calls over her friend Pola (Marilyn Monroe). Pola gets off the elevator and cannot see a thing she is no nearsighted. As soon as she puts on her glasses and looks at the apartment she loves it. Pola tells Schatze she knows another woman nicknamed Loco (Betty Grable) who wants to go in on the penthouse too. Loco comes over with groceries only the groceries are being carried by a man named Tom. When Tom walks into the penthouse and sees Schatze he immediately falls in love with her.
            Over hotdogs and champagne on the balcony the three women talk over their strategies to snag a millionaire. The whole reason Schatze rented the penthouse was so they could entertain rich men. Schatze firmly tell Pola and Loco not to fall in love with common men with no money they will only have their heartbroken like she did.
            They find out that there is to be a meeting at a hotel where a lot of rich oilmen will in attendance. Each woman snags a man. Pola and Loco are clearly not too happy on their dates but they bear it because the men have so much money. Pola’s guy has an eye patch and acts really weird. Loco’s guy is just crazy and talks about how he cannot stand his family especially his wife. Schatze is the only lucky one out of the three. She meets a nice older man named J.D. Hanley (wonderfully, fantastically played by William Powell). They get along perfectly. That night Schatze dreams of all the diamonds she can buy and Pola dreams of going to some far off country in the Middle East where a king just gives her handfuls of diamonds and jewelry. Loco hysterically dreams of food.
            Meanwhile, the audience finds out that Tom is a very rich man with a building named after him. He keeps calling Schatze to give him a chance to go out with her but she just thinks he is a gas jockey and will not give him the time of day. He never tells her about his money. But when J.D. goes back to Texas Schatze breaks down and goes out with Tom and they become very close.
            As Schatze goes through her thing with Tom and J.D., the other two women come to realizations. Loco is on vacation up in main the guy she met at the conference. He is a bore and a moron and she has no fun with him. While the guy is laid up with the measles Loco goes out with a local man named Eben (Rory Calhoun). He is handsome, young and charming. She has mixed feelings about him at first and it is not until after she leaves that she realizes she loves Eben. Pola was supposed to get on a plane down to Atlantic City to see her man but she was stubbornly not wearing her glasses and got on the wrong plane. On the plane she happens to meet the owner of the penthouse Freddie Denmark. Freddie wears glasses and tells Pola there is not shame to wearing glasses that she actually looks nice in them.
            J.D. comes back and asks Schatze to marry him. She does love J.D. but she is having second thoughts. Schatze has such a great time with Tom. On the day of her wedding to J.D. Tom comes to the penthouse. They have a talk and realize they should be together. Besides all this drama Pola comes back married Freddie and Loco has come back married to Eben. All three of them turn out not marrying for money… well except Schatze who does not find out that Tom has money until they are out at a burger joint for dinner and they see Tom pull out a wad of thousand dollar bills. At this site Schatze, Pola, Loco all faint off their chairs.
            I remember I started watching this film with my roommate who is a legitimate Marilyn Monroe fan (I say legit and mean it she really does like Marilyn and does not treat her like an icon she has become) put this on one day. I was curious to see it because Lauren Bacall is in it. I cannot remember why I did not sit through the whole film but what I saw I really liked and asked for it on DVD for Christmas. I think I got the DVD two years ago and have now just finally sat through the whole thing. I am glad I sat through it now because I really liked everyone in it and I was able to appreciate Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and of course William Powell.
            Lauren Bacall was great as the head of the group. She looks natural in the role of the leader and the determined woman who really wants to marry a millionaire. I am always surprised whenever I see Marilyn Monroe in a film and her acting is fantastic. She did not annoy me one but she was so adorable and really funny. Betty Grable I have never seen in a film before this and I am so looking forward to finding more of her films. She was hilarious I loved how her character was always eating or thinking of food because that is exactly what I do. William Powell I love and adore to no end. I could not stop thinking about how handsome he was. Powell was sixty by this time and looked more handsome than ever. He looked especially amazing in color. He played such a sweet character, gentlemanly character. Powell played this type of character countless times in his career but he was so great in those roles that they never get boring to see him play. The entire cast had such great chemistry you can believe them all being friends. 
            How to Marry a Millionaire is a fun film to watch. The story is cute and there are some excellent funny moments and some lines that are just too good to give away. How Marry a Millionaire is a great film to watch when you need something light and funny to cheer your day up.