Marilyn Monroe reprises her trademark role of “sexy lady” for this 1960 rom-com.
The nonsense plot involves a billionaire tycoon (Yves Montand) posing as an impersonator of himself in order to woo a theatre starlet (Monroe). That she never guesses his true identity (even when he repeatedly tells her) makes her a Marilyn Moron, and the film has morally dubious ideas about how to win a girl’s affections.
Worried she’d only want him for his money, the hypocritical Montand seems to have no qualms using his wealth to manipulate, deceive and otherwise hoodwink his way to Monroe’s heart. His methods range from paying stars (Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly and Milton Berle) in order to impress her, to actually buying her theatre production.
Combined with his European accent, this is like watching a Bond villain’s attempts at courting. And because it’s a rom-com, this behaviour is rewarded, while Monroe’s honest boyfriend (Frankie Vaughan) is tricked out of his relationship and driven to alcohol, despite never doing anything wrong (apart from looking a bit like Ed Miliband).
Monroe and Montand share strong chemistry, perhaps due to an off-screen affair that did wonders for the film’s publicity. But not even Arthur Miller could do much to strengthen the material, while Monroe apparently called this the worst role of her career (even though it’s the same character she played in The Seven Year Itch, There’s No Business Like Show Business, etc.)
Long-winded and jarring, Let’s Make Love is a weaker Marilyn movie. But weaker Marilyn is still Marilyn, and the film is enjoyable enough for the performances, if not the relationship advice.