Ringleader Lauren Bacall (pre-Written on the Wind) rents a super-expensive apartment (belonging to a millionaire on the run because of tax troubles, played by David Wayne of Losey’s M remake, but that’s only barely important) along with friend Marilyn Monroe (four months after Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) and hanger-on Betty Grable (post-The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, in one of her final film roles). They’re all attractive models, so the idea is they’ll start frequenting hangouts of the rich and famous in order to, duh, marry a millionaire. I thought the point of the apartment was men coming over to pick them up for dates will think they’re already wealthy (not gold-diggers) but when it takes longer than expected to get hitched they sell all the furniture to pay their rent, so the place looks kinda desolate.
I thought the movie would be a musical, especially when it opened with an overture – but Katy thinks that was just to show off the mighty Cinemascope process (D.P. Joseph MacDonald would later shoot ‘scope favorites House of Bamboo and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter), and I thought it might’ve been a prestige thing for extremely oscar-winning composer Alfred Newman (father of Thomas, uncle of Randy). Looks like Katy was right – this was the first Cinemascope movie to be filmed (though somehow it was released second, after The Robe). Anyway, not a musical, just a girl comedy.
Bacall is being stalked by Cameron Mitchell (Hell and High Water, Ride in the Whirlwind), who she suspects to be a gas pump jockey but is really one of the richest men in the world (she finds out after they’re married… oh, the 50’s).
A lotta Marilyn:
The movie would’ve been 50% better without Betty Grable, whose every scene is annoying. She goes off to a cabin with a married man then gets all whiny about it then catches the measles then falls for a forest ranger. Her character was the stupid one, a welcome change for Marilyn I’m sure – though M. wasn’t too bright either. Marilyn’s gimmick is she’s blind without her glasses but vainly refuses to wear them. She gets involved with a fake-eyepatch-wearing scam artist while Bacall flirts with an elder William Powell (he’s still got the mustache), who invites them to the party where Betty meets the married guy – I’m way out of order now. Anyway, Bacall almost marries Powell but they call it off with a few minutes to spare because she’s not convinced by her initial millionaire-lust anymore and she’s in love with her gas jockey. Also, Marilyn marries David Wayne at some point.
The girls with their false-alarm boyfriends:
Cute movie, better than it looked like it’d be, but nothing brilliant. TCM agrees, “entertaining but insubstantial.” Director Negulesco also made the 1950’s Titanic and writer/producer Nunnally Johnson wrote some John Ford films in the 30’s and 40’s.
The girls with their new husbands: