Barbara (Barbara Bates) and her husband Jerry (Robert Wagner), along with their baby, have moved in with Barbara’s mom Miriam (Claudette Colbert). Normally that would make for a pretty full house, but there’s one absence: Barbara’s dad, Hugh (Macdonald Carey).
Miriam and Hugh are in the middle of a divorce, which is entering its final stages. And in the meantime, Hugh is living at the hotel where he works. Barbara is completely opposed to the idea, wishing her parents would get back together.
Barbara is unwilling to give up hope, but when one of Miriam’s pre-marriage flames (Zachary Scott) comes to town, her hopes may be deflated.
Let’s Make It Legal was written by F. Hugh Hebert and I. A. L. Diamond, from a story by Mortimer Kraus. The film was directed by Richard Sale.
A soon-to-be-finalized divorce, a love triangle, a newborn baby, three generations living under the same roof… Let’s Make It Legal is a tale of suburban chaos. To make matters worse, Jerry works for Hugh. And that old flame of Miriam’s? Well, he happens to be a suave, self-made millionaire.
The film hints at serious issues like gambling, which plagued Miriam and Hugh’s marriage, but generally handles its subject matter lightheartedly.
It’s also only lightly entertaining. While there were a handful of amusing moments, I didn’t find myself wholly gripped by the film. It feels somewhat like a TV pilot rather than a well-developed big-screen romantic comedy.
The film’s greatest appeal comes from the performance of Claudette Colbert, who does well as Miriam, a former homemaker with a suddenly very active romantic life. Also of interest is an appearance by Marilyn Monroe, though the role isn’t one of her best — a stereotypical sultry, dumb blonde. (She was talented and deserved much better!)
Let’s Make it Legal is a lackluster film, I’m sorry to say. If you want to watch a cute Claudette Colbert film, stick to Without Reservations or Midnight.