review for How to Marry a Millionaire on AllMovie

How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
by Brian J. Dillard review

This tasty little souffle of a movie remains palatable throughout because of the alternately sweet and tart comic styles of the Bacall/Grable/Monroe triumvirate. All three stars play very much to type, but it's all harmless fun -- and gorgeous to look at thanks to painter-turned-director Jean Negulesco's sumptuous way with the nascent widescreen format. Negulesco, cinematographer Joe MacDonald and set designers Stuart A. Reiss and Walter Scott concoct a gorgeously gaudy Manhattan full of elegant fashion shows, cavernous loft apartments and comfy greasy spoons. As for the three beautifully decked-out babes, no surprises: Bacall's the cynic, Monroe's the ditz and Grable's the girl who learns she's a softie in spite of herself. Their various romantic and financial entanglements are the stuff of which silly Broadway musicals are made. But, sans songs, How to Marry a Millionaire is all about snappy dialogue, clever physical comedy, fantastic costumes and gorgeous scenery. But the time wedding bells ring during the final reel, the overly familiar material starts to wear thin. But for those who can check their feminist impulses at the door, the film remains a breezy pleasure even a half-century later.