Monroe, Bacall, and Grable show you... How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Schatze needn't have worried. We cut to Loco (Grable) coming off the elevator with bags of groceries, along with a handsome man helping her to carry them. It seems that Loco "forgot" her purse and this nice gentleman, Tom Brookman (Cameron Mitchell), offered to pay for all her things. Schatze rather brusquely shoos the man out the door, advising the ladies that a suitor who can't even bother to wear a necktie doesn't deserve their time if they want to catch millionaires. Plus, a guy who picks you up in a drugstore isn't likely to be worth millions, unlike a man in the fur department at Bergdorf's. Cut to Brookman exiting a taxi and going into a building with large lettering that spells out Brookman Building. Oops.
Fast forward three months later. The girls are getting low on funds and they haven't even hooked one single rich guy. "You don't have to catch a whole herd of them. All you need is one nice, big, fat one," Schatze laments. As if on cue, Loco comes home with J.D. Hanley
(William Powell), a millionaire she got to pay for her stuff at Bergdorf's. Schatze is practically salivating, especially when Mr. Hanley invites the ladies to a dinner the Oil Institute is throwing. As Pola says, "Sounds just creamy to me." The women put on
gorgeous gowns and one by one, they bail on the boring dinner and go to a nice restaurant with their dates. It's pretty funny to see Loco, Pola, and Schatze pepper their dates with questions--they're so obvious, but think they're so subtle. Well, except for Loco, who flat-out asks her date (Fred Clark) "Are you married?" By the end of the evening, Schatze clearly has the best prospect. J.D. is a sweet, lonely widower, and he genuinely likes Schatze, although you get the feeling that he knows what she's after. Loco's guy is rather harsh towards women ("I'm the most married man in the U.S.A.") and, as Lo points out, he's a square. Pola's date never shuts up as he talks more and more about expensive items and wealthy people he knows. His eye patch, though, tips you off that he might be a phony. Later that night, the girls dream of their futures with their husbands' magnificent money. Well, except for Lo, who is dreaming of a hot sandwich. Girl's got priorities.
Despite repeatedly telling Tommy she never wants to see him again, we get a montage of their dates, which include bitter fighting over money and passionate kisses in taxis. Schatze still has to pay the bills, though. Say goodbye to the pretty furniture again! She's in for a surprise when J.D. suddenly walks back into her life. Despite his hesitancy over their age difference, he proposes and Schatze is all too quick to forsake Tommy for J.D. Before you know it, it's their wedding day. Pola and Loco return with their new husbands, but Schatze is aghast at her friends' choices. Lo married a "fireman" with no dough, and Pola married a blind guy who's on the lam. (It doesn't help that when Freddie confronted his accountant, his glasses fell off and the accountant put him in a neck brace. That's gotta hurt your ego.)
|The apartment all furnished...|
|the apartment as the girls start selling.|
The press tried to insinuate (and even incite) feuds between the three women, but it never materialized--everyone loved everyone. Nunnally Johnson, the producer and writer, wrote in a letter that "Betty Bacall fell in love with Grable and now thinks she's the funniest clown she ever had the pleasure of knowing. Which is not far from true. Miss Grable is a real hooligan, and is a fine salty, bawdy girl, without an ounce of pretense about her. In addition, she's giving a better performance than anything she ever did before." Although there was no fighting amongst the cast, Marilyn did cause some problems due to her insecurity, which would only rise as her career went on. In her autobiography, By Myself, Bacall wrote:
"Betty Grable was a funny, outgoing woman, totally professional and easy. Marilyn was frightened, insecure--trusted only her coach and was always late. During our scenes she'd look at my forehead instead of my eyes; at the end of a take, look to her coach, standing behind Jean Negulesco, for approval. If the headshake was no, she'd insist on another take. A scene often went to fifteen or more takes, which meant I'd have to be good in all of them as no one knew which one would be used. Not easy--often irritating. And yet I couldn't dislike Marilyn. She had no meanness in her--no bitchery. She just had to concentrate on herself and the people who were there only for her."
I always enjoy watching the classics and trying to discern the songs they play in the background. It's fun and interesting for me. In the restaurant scene with the three different couples, "I Got a Feeling You're Foolin'" can be heard, reflecting the girls' determination to play along with the millionaires to get them. When Tommy watches the small fashion show with the women modeling, the horn section of an instrumental "Sweet and Lovely" is noticeable. This foreshadows the romance Tommy and Schatze will have. The most obvious use of a popular song is "You'll Never Know," which comes to represent Eben and Lo's relationship. It's first heard on the radio in Brewster's cabin, causing a fight between Brewster and Loco over who the bandleader is (she insists it's Harry James, Grable's husband at the time), which Eben witnesses. As they spend more time together, the song takes over the soundtrack and reappears faintly when Lo tells Schatze about her husband. I haven't had this confirmed, but I have a strong feeling that this particular song is used because Grable sang it in one of her previous hits for Fox. For the life of me, I can't remember which movie it was and despite all my online digging, I can't figure it out. If anyone remembers, please tell me or else I'll go crazy.
The Best Quotes:
Schatze giving advice: "If you don't marry him, you haven't caught him--he's caught you."
Pola: "Do you know who I'd like to marry?" Loco: "Who?" Pola: "Rockefeller." Loco: "Which one?" Pola: "I don't care."
Tommy on Lo and Pola's absence: "Haven't they written to you?" Schatze: "How can they? They're illiterate."
Loco: "Now who on Earth ever thought of this? ... Skiing on snow!" Eben: "What else would you ski on?" Loco: "Why, the natural way, like in Florida, on water!"
Schatze when she sees Eben: "Two more pounds and she could be arrested for bigamy."
Pola: "Did you see this fellow I'm with? ... What's he look like?" Loco: "Very nice for a one-eyed man." Pola: "Is that all he's got?" Schatze: "What do you think he's got that patch on for?" Pola: "I didn't know it was a patch. I thought somebody might have belted him."
Schatze trying to convince J.D. she loves older men: "I've always liked older men. Look at Roosevelt. Look at Churchill! Look at that old fellow, what's-his-name in African Queen. Absolutely crazy about him!"
Betty Grable nails her delivery when Brewster asks Loco if she likes lodges: "Simply adore 'em!"