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Click above to purchase "How To Marry A Millionare" at amazon.com

 

How To Marry A Millionare

review by Zach B. and Anthony D.

 

Not Rated

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 105 minutes

Starring Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, Alex D'Arcy, Fred Clark and William Powell

Screenplay by Nunnally Johnson
Based uponplays by Zoe Akins and Dale Eunson and Katherine Albert

Directed by Jean Negulesco

Retail Price: $24.98

Features: Restoration Comaprison, Movietone Newsreel: "How To Marry A Millionare In Cinemascope", Theatrical Trailers

Specs: 2.55:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby 4.0 Surround, English Stereo, French Mono, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (24 Chapters)

Myopic Monroe keeps bumping into walls, beautiful Bacall falls for an older man and G.I. dream girl Grable finds herself in a Maine lodge with measles and a married man as these dames go gaga with their new-fangled concept of "How to Marry a Millionaire." Historically speaking, this was the first film to be shot in Twentieth Century Fox's new photographic process of Cinemascope - - with a very, very wide 2.55:1 aspect ratio - - although Fox's second 'scope film. "The Robe," actually made it to theaters first. "How to Marry a Millionaire's" director, Jean Negulesco, makes wise choices in filling the wide frame with as much information as he can in this experimental process of widescreen photography; placing the girls in medium shots, so that all three stars can share the frame as often as possible.

Lauren Bacall's divorcee, Schatze Page, has a plan for catching a wealthy man, which she likens to trapping a bear - - get a ritzy, un-affordable apartment, fully furnished, on the Upper East side of New York City, and the men will appear. In league with Schatze's plan is the ever-delightful Paula (a bumbling, bordering on slapstick performance from Marilyn Monroe) and her modeling buddy, Loco - - a simple girl with great gams, zestfully articulated by former Fox pinup queen Betty Grable.

It's a very simple story, retold often enough, but the freshness of "How to Marry a Millionaire" comes from its impeccable cast playing the script as broadly as possible, and the script's abundant use of 1953 in-jokes. When Bacall's Schatze's is confessing her yen for older men, she states that the older guy in that movie "The African Queen," is just her type, first time audiences would have know that Schatze was referring to Bacall's own offscreen husband, Humphrey Bogart. Likewise with Loco when she hears a radio broadcast playing the Academy Award winning song, "You'll Never Know," she swears its being played by The Harry James Orchestra, emphatically stating that she would know Harry James if she heard him; a double reference her to both Grable's one time husband, and to her former rival at Fox, Alice Faye, who introduced that specific song in Fox's musical, "Hello, Frisco, Hello." Paula's modeling of a swim suit dripping with diamond accouterments is introduced with the line "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," in reference to Monroe's stunning work as Lorelei Lee in the previous year's "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds."

Able support is given by the men of their dreams, David Wayne as the counterpoint to Paula's glasses shy vixen, William ("The Thin Man" series) Powell as a Texas cowman who Schatze hopes to lasso, Rory Calhoun as Loco's love interest and Cameron Mitchell as the wealthiest man around town, pursuing Schatze to no avail since she thinks he's a grease monkey. If these names are unfamiliar today, then this film is definitely dated, as is its storyline of three independent women seeking the benefits of marriage. But for harmless 50's fluff, "How to Marry a Millionaire" will at the very least, bring several smiles, if not laughs, to your lips; or if you're into really great music, check out the pre-credits sequence of Alfred Newman (he was Randy's daddy) conducting the enormous 20th Century Fox Orchestra's brisk playing of Newman's own 1931 classic composition "Street Scene."

"How To Marry A Millionare" is presented in 2.55:1 anamorphic widescreen and like all the other Monroe films, it's also been restored. There are nice hues that seem to be on target, and the 3-D quality as seen in the other Monroe films are there. I noticed some slight shimmering as well as soft images that appear faded and had a digitalish look to them. Detail is pretty good but I noticed some distractions such as blemishes, dirt and grain throughout the film. Overall, very good.

The English Dolby 4.0 Surround is pretty good. Dialogue is clear and not distorted despite the film's age, and doesn't overlap with other noises. The film is heavy and music and does sound pretty good, but I did expect some stronger surrounds and the music felt kind of weak. When surrounds are used, they are pretty good. English Stereo and French mono options are included as well as English closed captioning, English subtitles and French subtitles.

A little light on supplements, "How To Marry A Millionare" features the Theatrical Trailer, an Italian Theatrical Trailer and a German Theatrical Trailer. Also is a "Diamond Collection" part that has trailers for other Monroe films.

A short but really nice Movietone News: How To Marry A Millionare In Cinemascope is included as well as a fairly interesting Restoration Comparison.

With some decent extras and a pretty good presentation, Fox has put together a good release of "How To Marry A Millionare". If you like it, check it out!

(3.5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(3.5/5)

(3/5)

(1.5/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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