Friday, July 04, 2014

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Lavish Technicolor & CinemaScope comedy about three single girls (Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable) who take up residence at a fancy Sutton Place apartment in order to achieve their dream of marrying a millionaire.

The fun performances of the three leads makes up for the formulaic plot and overly-broad comedy. An exercise in late-studio era style, with assured direction by Jean Negulesco, who seemed to specialize in these types of pictures. The supporting cast includes Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, David Wayne, and the always-reliable Fred Clark, all of whom are effective enough in their roles. However, the real standout is a late appearance by William Powell as Texas millionaire J.D. Hanley. His characteristically sophisticated, charming performance is so effective, achieving such good chemistry with Bacall, that when she breaks off their engagement at the end, it can't help but be a little disappointing.

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