Follow TV Tropes


Film / How to Marry a Millionaire

Go To
All my life ever since I was a little girl I've always had the same dream. To marry a zillionaire.

Pola Debevoise: I want to marry Rockefeller.
Schatze Page: Which one?
Pola Debevoise: I don't care.

A Romantic Comedy film from 1953, directed by Jean Negulesco (Johnny Belinda) and starring three of the most famous leading ladies of the era as the main characters: Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable.

Three women rent an expensive apartment to appear rich. Their plan is to each marry a millionaire. To be able to afford the rent, they keep selling the furniture.

Things become complicated when love starts to interfere with their plans.

Partially inspired by the much earlier The Greeks Had a Word for Them.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Schatze says: "Look at Roosevelt, look at Churchill, look at old fella what's his name in The African Queen". The 'old guy in The African Queen was Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall's husband in real life.
    • While up in the cabin, Loco Dempsey, hears a song by bandleader Harry James on the radio but doesn't recognize it. James was Betty Grable's husband.
    • Pola is reading a book called 'Murder by Strangulation' on the plane. Marilyn Monroe's character in Niagra had been strangled.
    • Loco recreates Betty Grable's famous World War II pin-up photo when modelling the shorts ensemble.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Schatze and Tom. Their Falling-in-Love Montage has Schatze telling Tom each time to get lost, but she keeps showing up at the next date.
  • Big Applesauce: We are treated with some glamorous shot of Manhattan during the The '50s.
  • Big Fancy House: The Manhattan apartment were the girls set up their charade. It was originally Freddie Denmark's apartment, but he had to leave it quickly.
  • Birds of a Feather: Freddie and Pola are Blind Without 'Em.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Pola. Unfortunately for her, she believes very strongly that "Men aren't attentive to girls who wear glasses," which for Freddie Denmark isn't true.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Schatze, though she doesn't defrost completely.
  • Dumb Blonde: Pola and Loco.
    • Loco thinks skiing on the water is the normal way, skiing on snow is weird.
  • Fainting: The big reveal at the ending has all the women faint.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Schatze has one. Too bad she didn't get married that day.
  • The '50s
  • Foreshadowing: One should realise that Tom Brookman is more well-off than it seems by the fact that he's willing to buy Loco's groceries when she can't find out her wallet, which involves an absurd amount of food and some nice bottles. Soon enough the Internal Reveal tells us he's filthy rich.
  • Freudian Trio: Schatze is Superego, Loco is Ego and Pola is Id.
  • Gold Digger: The entire premise.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Driving back to New York City from his would-be tryst with Loco in Maine, drives a circuitous route to the west side of the Hudson River where nobody knows him. All the while he tells Loco how his intellect will keep his wife from knowing that he wasn't really on a business trip. As they cross the George Washington Bridge, they are stopped so that a swarm of press photographers can take their picture for being the five-millionth car to cross the bridge.
  • Imagine Spot: While Pola and Schatze dream of wealth, Loco dreams of a sandwich.
  • In-Joke: Two of the three stars refer to their Real Life husbands:
    • At the hunting lodge, Loco (Betty Grable) hears a Big Band on the radio and identifies it as Harry James's (her then-husband). Waldo asks her how she knows its Harry James's band. She replies that she knows Harry James, and that that's Harry James. In what could count as a Crossover Punchline, the announcer identifies the band as belonging to another bandleader.
    • Schatze (Lauren Bacall) tells J.D. that she's always liked older men, like what's-his-name in The African Queen.
  • Mock Millionaire: Stewart, Pola's suitor, is implied to be one.
  • Pretty in Mink: Several furs worn, and even the gold digging tips mention the mink department at Bergdorf's as a good place to find rich men.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: Schatze finds herself torn between wealthy older gentleman J.D. Hanley (William Powell) and working-class stiff Tom Brookman. J.D. is a kind and courteous man who is genuinely fond of Schatze, but she has much greater chemistry with Tom.
  • Secretly Wealthy: Tom Brookman. He even owns a building named after him.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Shatze and Loco don't appear on the front covers of the DVD or the Blu-Ray.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Both Eben and Tom.
  • Uncle Pennybags: Tom Brookman, one should realize not a lot of men would be willing to purchase a strange woman's groceries, no matter how attractive she is.
    (Handing $1000 to a waiter at a Greasy Spoon) Keep the change.