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Sunday, 24 June 2012

How to Marry a Millionaire (1954) - Star of the month... Marilyn Monroe

How to Marry a Millionaire is a 1954 romantic comedy starring Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Betty Grable as three fortune hunting women plotting to trap eligible bachelors William Powell, Rory Calhoun, Cameron Mitchell, David Wayne, Fred Clark and Alexander D'Arcy. The film is directed by Jean Negulesco and written/produced by Nunnally Johnson.

The film is best known as the first film ever to be filmed in CinemaScope widescreen, and the second CinemaScope film to be released. It was also the first colour film to be shown on network television in the US.

Marilyn plays near sighted blonde bimbo
Pola Debevoise
Schatze Page (played by Bacall), Loco Dempsey (played by Grable) and Pola Debevoise (played by Monroe) rent a luxurious penthouse apartment owned by Freddie Denmark (played by Wayne), who is avoiding authorities. They believe renting the apartment will help them find, trap and marry eligible millionaires with hilarious consequences.

Marilyn is typecast as a ditsy blonde bimbo who can't see without her glasses. Afraid men will not be interested in her if she wears her glasses, she risks her safety by taking them off and walking into walls.

The three leading ladies wear glamourous costumes designed by William Travilla.

Musical score

The film's musical score is by Alfred Newman, who can be seen in the overture conducting his orchestra. The overture "Street Scene" has no relevance to the rest of the film and was intended to show off new technology being used in the film: sterophonic sound and CinemaScope. Newman and the Orchestra reappear briefly for the end titles.


A television series followed in 1957 with Barbara Eden (best known as Jeannie from 'I Dream of Jeannie'), Merry Anders, Lori Nelson and Lisa Gaye. The series ran for two years.

In 2007, Australian actress Nicole Kidman purchased the rights for the film with the intention of producing and perhaps starring in the film, however we are yet to see this surface.

Awards and nominations

  • Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design, Colour
  • Writers Guide of America nomination for Best Written American Comedy
  • BAFTA nomination for Best Film (USA)

Closing remarks

'How to Marry a Millionaire' is an enjoyable experience, with Marilyn Monroe once again stealing the film in one the great CinemaScope wonders of the 1950s. It is great to see 1930s film veteran William Powell as charming as ever in his second last film.

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