(1960)2.5Craig ButlerMarilyn Monroe in Let's Make Love sounds like a tantalizing prospect, but the end result is, unfortunately, an only so-so semi-musical, despite some solid work from the actress. Co-star Yves Montand is frequently blamed for the film's lack of sizzle, and he certainly is part of the problem. Montand is bland at best, his supposed Gallic charm just not surviving the translation from French to English. Away from a chanson, his singing voice comes across as wan and dry, and his acting is by-the-numbers. Beware of the section in which he demonstrates what Milton Berle has taught him in the way of comedy. Montand, however, is not entirely to blame. The screenplay lacks sparkle and its premise is absurd and artificial. The latter wouldn't be a problem if director George Cukor was operating in top form; with the proper hand, absurd and artificial can become charming and diverting, but Cukor can't get a grip on the right tone, and the movie never really finds its footing. And while the songs are arranged in an entertaining late-'50s fashion, the tunes themselves (with the exception of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy") are undistinguished. Fortunately, Jack Cole's distinctive choreography brightens up the numbers, and Monroe is in fine musical form (even if Frankie Vaughan, with whom she shares most of the numbers, is not). It's not one of Monroe's great performances, but she keeps the ship afloat, helped by a nicely underplayed Tony Randall and a dependable Wilfrid Hyde-White.
Let's Make Love is a breezy comedy about an off Broadway musical production. Jean-Marc Clement (Yves Montand) is the richest man in the world and looking for someone who loves him instead of his money. He reads in Variety he is to be satirized in the new production and tries out for the part. The producers hire him, unaware of his real identity. He hires Bing Crosby, Milton Berle and Gene Kelly to coach him for the role. Amanda (Marilyn Monroe) is the poor aspiring actress who lands a part in the play. Her opening number is the classic "My Heart Belongs To Daddy". Unaware of his fabulous wealth, she falls for the playboy billionaire during the rehearsals for the show. Tony Randall plays Montand's fussy public relations agent and tries to keep his boss from embarassment.