If you want to know how to marry a millionaire you could ask Jerry Hall, or you could watch this film, in which three young women (Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall) rent a swanky Manhattan apartment with the express intention of snagging wealthy men.
Released just a few months after Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Millionaire is in a similar mould but feels less well rounded. Not only does it lack the superb song and dance numbers, but it’s also less funny – with a set-up that feels more contrived.
It’s enjoyable enough, however, in large part to Monroe’s ditsy blonde character who this time has the added comedy flaw of being blind when not wearing her glasses – glasses which she refuses to wear in the company of men. This allows for some undeniably funny moments and serves as an apt metaphor for her indifference to men’s age or appearance: she’s only interested in the size of their wallet.
The reason this, like other Monroe comedies, still works today in spite of the, ahem, traditional view of gender roles, is that the women are generally seen taking the foolish men for a ride, in spite of stating well within their assigned gender roles.
While this out-grossed Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, it’s Blondes that has the truly iconic status. Enjoyable but silly, Millionaire isn’t its equal.