Aug 1, 2012

Food Dreamin'

*This post is part of Nathaniel's Hit Me With Your Best Shot series. 

To be perfectly honest, How to Marry a Millionaire doesn’t really go to the top of the list of films I’ve watched for this series. It’s because of its stars - particularly Monroe who’s as charming, sexy, and funny as she’s ever been - that the film is worth watching at all today. 

Visually, the film is a bit of mixed bag with gorgeous mise-en-scene that doesn’t quite come off right. It seems specially unfair to criticise a film that pioneered a new era in cinematography in its own way, but what we see on the screen is, inevitably, more of an early experiment than a satisfying showcase. 

Thematically, too, the film doesn’t resonate so much with a 21st century audience; its premise and its jokes feel equally outdated. I'm not saying there isn't enough to make it worthwhile, just that Nathaniel has really set the bar high with his choices recently.

When it came to choosing my favourite shot, I found myself undecided between two options. The first was to pick from a couple of scenes that highlight the costumes – one of the film’s strong suits.* The second was going for a silly laugh and this is the one I opted for.

Early in the film, when the three leading ladies have just met their potential husbands, each of them dreams in her sleep about the luxury that marriage can bring to her life. Schatze (Bacall) imagines the man’s oil refineries and cattle farms and all the jewelry she can buy.  Pola (Monroe) sees herself flying a golden plane and receiving exotic gifts from Arabia. Loco (Grable) sees this.

Silly, really, but this is the shot that made me laugh the loudest. It’s what we watch comedies for, right? Plus, that meal does look pretty damn delicious.

* Tim has selected one of those shots for his post. That his choice is also one of my favourites is par for the course.


  1. I sort of wish the film went further with Loco and her love for food, though. It's such an odd "female focused" film. Like, what do these women do when they're not out hunting husbands? What do they like? What makes them tick? In a way your choice for best shot reveals more than a great deal of the film did.

    Also, yes, pretty damn delicious (looking at least).

  2. I wholeheartedly agree: one of the few times I literally laughed-out-loud in the whole thing. Betty Grable's subsqequent dreamy reaction shot is priceless, too.

  3. Haha I was going to choose that shot too, but I thought it would be too boring. Great pick! :)

  4. I love the dream sequence in general. my friend and I in high school used to laugh and laugh at Bacall's "and that and that. and that and that. and that and that and that and that" line reading.

  5. Nat- I know. She's perrrfect. Her line reading here, and in the scene in the apartment when says "Of course I wanna get married. It's the biggest thing you can do in life." and then gives a dirty look to the statue... these two just can't be topped.

  6. What was odd about that food shot is how much steam is coming off the sandwich to indicate that it's hot. But I did like that joke.