How To Marry A Millionaire, 1953

One of the characters in this movie is in trouble with the government. The current owner of a penthouse apartment is hiding from the IRS because when he paid his accountant the tax money, his accountant pocketed the money and ran off with it. The IRS heard his sob story, and they feel bad for him. But they’re still going to make him pay.

While looking for wealthy husbands, three women find love. Schatze, Pola, and Loco all want to be married to millionaires because picking a great spouse “is the biggest thing you can do in life”. Schatze insists that if you going to be married, you might as well marry someone wealthy. In real life, the Treasury Department claimed in 1947 that Betty Grable, who made an annual income of $300,000, was the highest paid woman in America. At that time, marrying a millionaire was a real goal of some girls because they could never hope to be one on their own.

My favorite character is the old millionaire, JD Hanley, simply because he’s played by William Powell, one of my favorite actors. He was supposed to look old for the part, but William Powell will never look old to me, even at age 61. This was his next-to-last film. His last was Mister Roberts in 1955.

Tom Brookman, the young millionaire who’s interested in Schatze, is played by Cameron Mitchell, who was Buck Cannon on the late 1960s TV series “The High Chaparral”. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember that one.

There were several parts of the girls’ characters that related to the actresses’ real lives. Marilyn Monroe’s character, Pola, wears glasses, as did Marilyn. Lauren Bacall, as Schatze, makes reference to her real husband, Humphrey Bogart, when she explains that she adores older men. “Look at that old fellow what’s-his-name in The African Queen. Absolutely crazy about him.” Betty Grable, as Loco, makes reference to her real husband, Harry James, when she hears a trumpet playing on the radio.

This movie, a smashing success, was made ten years after Grable posed for her famous pinup photo. 1953 was the year of Grable’s last big film, and the year Marilyn Monroe, who was ten years younger, skyrocketed to stardom as an American sex symbol.

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