Favorite things about… How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

(Image via Pinterest)

(Image via Pinterest)

The favorite film:
How to Marry a Millionaire, a 1953 rom-com directed by Jean Negulesco and scripted by Nunnally Johnson.

The synopsis:
Schatze Page, Loco Dempsey, and Pola Debevoise are three beautiful models living in a New York City penthouse. But make no mistake — they’re not wealthy. They’re renting the place from Freddie Denmark, who is living in Europe to avoid the IRS. The girls plan to use the apartment as just another asset (along with their looks and charm) with which to attract rich husbands.

The cast:
Lauren Bacall as Schatze Page
Betty Grable as Loco Dempsey
Marilyn Monroe as Pola Debevoise
David Wayne as Freddie Denmark
Cameron Mitchell as Tom Brookman
William Powell as J.D. Hanley
Fred Clark as Waldo Brewster
Rory Calhoun as Eben

Fun facts:

  • This was the first film to be featured in NBC’s Saturday Night at the Movies programming.
  • The opening credits are preceded by a six-minute performance by the 20th Century Fox Orchestra, led by Alfred Newman.
  • Betty Grable’s final film under her 20th Century Fox contract
  • The film is full of in-jokes and references to the stars’ previous films. A TMP favorite: Schatze states “that old fellow what’s-his-name in African Queen” (Bacall’s husband, Humphrey Bogart) is one of her crushes.
  • First 20th Century Fox feature to be filmed in Cinemascope, but the second to be released (after The Robe)
  • Variety reported in 1954 that a New York woman had sued 20th Century Fox due to the character of Schatze’s similarity to herself.
  • Inspired a 1957 television series of the same name staring Merry Anders, Lori Nelson and Barbara Eden

Favorite things:

  • When the film begins, it’s impossible not to be struck by the beautiful colors. That glittery curtain is unbelievably stunning and I want one in every room of my house, honestly. (On a related note, I’m dying to see this film on the big screen.)
  • “New York, New York… where millionaires and Cinderellas rendezvous at the Stork! In Central Park… romantic babies and their fellas rendezvous in the dark!”
  • Schatze: “I can’t shack up with a dame I never even met, and she’s crazy, too!”
(Image via prendre l'air diary)

(Image via prendre l’air diary)

  • Schatze: “A gentleman you meet among the cold cuts is not as attractive as one that you meet, say, in the mink department at Bergdorf’s.”
  • … and a few minutes later, Loco introduces J.D. Hanley, a man she met in the mink department at Bergdorf’s!
  • Schatze: “Trouble is, it looks like I’ve got a thing for guys that work in gas stations.”
  • Schatze asking Hanley if he’s friends with John D. Rockefeller
  • Loco over-exaggeratedly saying “I LOVE LODGES!”
  • Schatze: “Oh, grow up, will you? Men with that much dough are never ‘a little old.'”
  • THE COSTUMES
  • The dream sequences! “I’ll take that and that… and that, and that… and that, and that… and that, and that, and that, and that.”
  • Poor Pola, tripping up the stairs!
  • Cute puppy bonus during the little fashion show!
  • Loco: “Models aren’t allowed scratch!”
  • Freddie sneaking around the apartment when Schatze unexpectedly returns home early with J.D.

    (Image via Pinterest)

    (Image via Pinterest)

  • Pola not suspecting anything of a man in a trench coat and sunglasses running out of the apartment in the middle of the night
  • Schatze: “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!”
  • Pola: “Oil, dahhhling! Simply barrels of it!”
  • Loco: “Is your wife a spook?”
  • Pola coincidentally being sat next to Freddie on the airplane
  • Pola reading her book upside down without realizing it, just because she doesn’t want to admit to wearing glasses (Don’t be ashamed, girl! You’ve even got beautiful, glittery cat-eye frames!)
  • Waldo: “Mother nature never had to deal with a gigolo.”
  • Waldo and Loco being awarded an honor for being the 50,000,000th car to cross the bridge — after he took that route to avoid being recognized!
  • A happy ending for Schatze and J.D.! …or so it seems, at first
  • Schatze, referring to Pola and Loco (nearly) missing her wedding: “I wanted those two dingbats to stand up with me!”
  • A happy ending for Loco and Eben!
  • A happy ending for Pola and Freddie!
  • Schatze: “You mean you married that crowbar? Honest to goodness, Pola, you need a governess!”
  • Pola (upon being introduced to Eben): “Holy Toledo!”
  • Pola and Freddie planning to “go underground” just after Schatze’s wedding
  • Schatze faking an ankle injury to get out of her own wedding
  • Schatze (on Pola and Loco’s new loves): “Did you see what those two goofballs turned up with?”
  • Schatze: “He’s nothing. Absolutely nothing. A character straight from characterville.”
  • Schatze assuming that Tom is a “gas pump jockey”
  • A happy ending for Schatze and Tom!
  • Schatze: “Following the ceremony, the party adjourned to a rather fashionable greasy spoon…”
(Image via Doctor Macro)

(Image via Doctor Macro)

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3 thoughts on “Favorite things about… How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

  1. Vienna says:

    Enjoyed your review. It’s such an enjoyable movie.
    Fox really liked this story line of three girls looking for a rich husband – the earliest version was Three Blind Mice in 1938 with Loretta Young, then Moon Over Miami in 1941 ( Betty Grable) and Three Little Girls in Blue in 1946 with June Haver.

    Like

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