Let's Make Love (1960)
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Plot line reads as follows: Rich man (Yves Montand) wants poor girl.(M.M.) Rich man pretends to be poor. Rich man gets poor girl then looses her after he tries to tell her the truth. Rich man eventually woos and gets the girl.
With Marilyns clout at 20th Century Fox studios one wonders why she chose to take the role as Amanda Dell. She's not altogether bad as the character. The script simply had little to offer her. But I have to say after repeated viewings, the film has grown on me. I am a huge fan of MM and to be fair Monroes first appearance singing "My heart belongs to Daddy" is a clever and exciting opening performance. What an entrance, she is on fire in this 3 minute masterpiece. I love the kiss and wink and staging of this classic piece. That scene is the best musical number in the picture. This sequence might have been filmed and added at the last minute after 20th Century Fox exec's saw a rough cut of the film.
Marilyn does look very comfortable and relaxed on the screen. But, at times she appears distracted.(Probably George Cukors uneven direction) There is something a little charming about the whole production. The musical score will grow on you and "Incurably Romantic" is very well done. This film was nominated for an Oscar for best musical score. I also loved the fantasy sequence with Yves and MM in the board room on the table where she is knitting with gold yarn. She even makes that chore look sexy!
Marilyn and Yves are finally given a chance to show some real spark in the final scene of the movie when the whole charade comes to a close. Trapped in an elevator (and looking her best in the film) with a starry eyed Yves, Marilyn finally succumbs to his musical rendition of the title of this movie. They kiss passionately and we finally see AND hear what all the gossip was about. Her very heavy breathing during the kiss is caught on film, just turn up the volume... there is nothing "Method acting" about that! Aside from her sensitivity, intellect, and training with the Strasbergs this is what Monroe the movie star sex goddess was about.A fine line between acting and reality was beautifully blurred in "Lets make love"s final 2 minute scene. Released in 1960 The audience when asked "Lets make love" apparently said no thanks. The film was a box office failure.
He's simply bland with a capital B and very unfunny. And when MILTON BERLE, GENE KELLY and BING CROSBY attempt to give him pointers on how to be an entertainer, they're impatience with him is understandable. Whatever magic Montand had in his homeland is obscured here by a witless script and poor direction from George Cukor, who even manages to make Marilyn look less than believable as a wistful showgirl.
The faults extend to the songs to. The only reasonably good one is "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" done in a rather coy and simpering style by Monroe but nevertheless, it's the only high point in the whole show. Everything else is better left unmentioned.
Summing up: A waste of two stars who, incidentally, have no chemistry together, at least on screen. Off is another matter.
There is plenty to work against the film: Cukor's almost non-existent direction, the rather dreadful musical numbers, Yves Montand's irritating performance and the wasted opportunities of the star cameos.
However, Let's Make Love is a reasonably inoffensive way to waste an afternoon. The plot is slight and therefore doesn't require too much brain power to follow and Monroe is, as usual, cinema gold. Despite the fact that she is slightly overweight here and nothing much has been done with her in terms of make-up, hair or wardrobe she is eminently watchable. She gives a convincing, assured performance in her role turning the simple character of Amanda into a sweet, likable woman.
As I have mentioned before in Monroe reviews, I always find it interesting to see Monroe in films in the 1960s, being very much an icon of the 1950s.
So, is LML really that bad? Well, to be honest no, it isn't. It's lightweight fluff that doesn't really mean anything but is watchable non the less. It is unfortunately placed between the sublime 'Some Like It Hot' and Monroe's bravura performance in the following year's 'The Misfits' but don't hold that against it. Make up your own minds!
It was the scene where her character Amanda Dell, a small-time actress and a stage performer, began jogging on the footpath and encouraged Jean-Marc Clement (played somewhat sullenly by Yves Montand) to join her. An embarrassed Clement looks around as men seem to ogle Amanda; she isn't dressed inappropriately, but she smiles and her face is beaming. Marilyn seemed to draw everyone's attention not by acting stupendously or exposing her body here- she was carefree and spirited, probably aware that men were eying her but not minding. She knew she was a siren, but she also made it clear that she wasn't a bimbo. She has this coy charm about her, a sense of self-awareness that makes her so amicable with men and women. It is similar to what Meryl Streep said in a speech ' to be appealing to boys and being accepted by girls a tricky situation (which she mastered). Marilyn doesn't explicitly try to draw attention; she does it cleverly, discreetly.
Unfortunately, she was stuck with a patchy script that was deficient in several aspects. A Paul Thomas Anderson start (Magnolia style) which montages the fate of six/seven Jean Marc Clement is middlingly amusing but unnecessary because there isn't any reference to it later. I did get what it was supposed to mean but there need not be narrations of so many Clements. Then the camera lingers on a group of elite gentlemen smoking cigars as a debonair Jean Marc of Modern Times tells them a joke. These men may have heard it several times, but they flatteringly laugh at his inane joke – he is a billionaire, keep in mind. Some scenes later, when he pretends to be a nascent actor and impersonator, Jean Marc reiterates the same joke to a bunch of actors and is given a damp response. The billionaire, with a keen esthetic interest and a notorious womanizing reputation, is informed that he is going to be satirized in an off-Broadway Revue. He does not react at first but then shows displeasure in such an idea- therefore he checks out a rehearsal of the performance. This seems far-fetched as the theater itself seems so unremarkable and lowly with bawdy, unfunny and tired acts that no one but a local goon would take objection of being satirized. We instead get this wealthy man treading such common places.
There Jean is struck by the glamorous Amanda Dell, who is tailed by hungry boys in an unimpressive number that lacks naughtiness. Marilyn's voice sounds affected, and she fails to bring the oomph. There are a couple of well acted scenes after this between Montand and Monroe where the former seems shy and out-of-place in the theater while the latter can adapt to any surrounding. The third person in the love triangle is Frankie Vaughan, who shares a better chemistry with Marilyn. Montand takes his initial defeats too seriously and seems so dull at times that it is impossible to feel sorry for him or consider Marilyn the right lady for him. She seems like a good friend and adviser, not a lover in any way, till the end of the story. Here is where more than Montand, the script fails in providing more crucial scenes between Montand and Monroe. 'Let's Make Love' isn't something the movie sets out to make- it is rather 'let me buy your love', which is crude. Also, in a desperate bid to raise laughs, Milton Berle, Bing Crosby and Gene Kelly were roped in and I was thinking, "If Gene were younger he would've made a charming Jean Clement". Berle is funny but has to feign laughter at Jean Clements's drab performance on stage, for which he should've demanded for additional fees.
The musicals are ghastly, the production is weak and the plot is sketchy; only the performances try to save 'Let's Make Love's' face. I would say the best actor in the movie would be Wilfred Hyde White, who mouths the line "You made a terrible/risky decision by mortgaging your house for this (to save his theater)" to the theater owner. I would add that George Cukor made a terrible decision of getting big actors such as Monroe and choosing such a script for them".
My Rating: 3.4 out of 10
The movie starts telling the story of Jean Marc's ancestors, and how his family started to become richer with the time, until his present days as a billionaire. Jean Marc has power,money and also is a 'Casanova', with a new woman to go out everyday. One day, he discovers that he is going to be satirized in an off-Broadway theater, and he goes to see how the play is going to be, until he sees Amanda singing and dancing in a provocative way and the director,who thinks that Jean Marc is an actor trying to take the role of himself,cast him as a member of the show. Decided to go out with Amanda and make her fall for him, he pretends to be someone else,using the identity of Alexander Dumas and acting as a poor actor who wants new lessons from Amanda to improve his acting career. With the time, Jean Marc starts to fall for Amanda, since she is the only woman who was kind to him without expecting money or gifts in return. The problem now is his fake identity.
PS: I only have to complain about the ending of this movie, which, in my opinion, was far from good: I don't think that Amanda should stay with Jean-Marc, since she always refused and hated rich guys like him, calling him arrogant and liar,among other things. I think she changed her idea too quickly about him,after knowing Alexander Dumas' original identity was Jean Marc, but anyway, no movie is perfect.
aka "Adorável Pecadora" - Brazil
Montand has to act silly, which must have been as painful for him as it was for his character, a multi-billionaire trying to win Miss Musical Star, Marilyn. Watching the male singer in this movie was funny, as it reminds you of the 40s and the Dean Martin style crooners. Watching Bing Crosby and Milton Berl teach Yves how to sing and be funny was a hoot!!! "Don't 'bubba-boo-boo', or you'll get arrested," Bing suggests. Watching Milton berl walk on his ankles wasn't all that funny, but this was the 60s after all.
I liked the musical numbers, and watching Yves' face do all its rubbery wrinkling numbers. He may have been a great actor because he could put on so many different expressions, but his best movie was the one where he's trying to run for office in a crooked Banana Republic (sorta like our present government), a Cost-Grava film.
See this one just to remind you of how beautiful, how vulnerable, Marilyn was: 2 years from her suicide????!!!! She really had some nice moves, and a great figure when a tummy wasn't considered obscene (in our day of anorexic sexy?? stars).
No one's funny in this movie. Comic legend Milton Berle can't hope to save this film with his small part, ditto with dancing legend Gene Kelly's cameo, nor any of the other cast. Monroe herself, as appealing as she is, can't salvage a blase script like this turkey.
There're so many things wrong with this film. Drab costumes, uninspired numbers, miscued performances, wandering story and just overall poor direction that it's a wonder it was ever released at all. Though I suppose the studio had to recoup its losses somehow.
I'd heard a lot about this film since I was a boy, but had never had a chance to see it, probably because it was deemed to racy at the time for younger audiences. Well, now I've seen it, and not only do I wish I hadn't, I wish it had never been preserved. Then again we need poor films in this world to remind us good films are good in the first place. Too bad Marilyn had to be in this one.
Do yourself a favor and pass on this film.
Think mega-rich, a 1960s Donald Trump who speaks French and you have the character Yves Montand plays. Publicity agent Tony Randall calls it to Montand's attention that an off Broadway theater review is going to be satirizing him among other celebrities in the review. Montand decides to check things out for himself. And the star of the review is none other than Marilyn Monroe who Montand starts raising his blood pressure over. Who wouldn't.
20th Century Fox used this same plot device in 1937 in On the Avenue. That time it was rich débutante Madeleine Carroll and her choleric father George Barbier are being satirized in a show being directed by Dick Powell who stars in it as well. It was much better done there. Of course they also had an original Irving Berlin score to help. And Barbier was always playing those kind of roles. It fit him naturally.
Montand is cool and unflappable. I can believe he wants Marilyn, but I can't believe that this is how he would meet her.
Unless one is an egomaniac like Donald Trump, I don't think most people would care about what some off Broadway show that few will ever see, says in some satirical sketch.
A lot of talented people were involved in the making of this and it seems a colossal waste of time. Marilyn and Montand and British pop star Frankie Vaughan had some nice numbers to sing.
And we can't forget the three unbilled cameos of Milton Berle, Bing Crosby, and Gene Kelly who Montand enlists in his quest to win Marilyn. Their scenes with Montand are the best thing about the film.
One other thing though. I can believe Berle and Kelly would come if summoned by Montand. But Crosby, you're talking about a guy who was as rich the character Montand played.
In Niagara(1953) and The seven year itch(1955), both of these movies, she portrays as sexy-starlet. But in this movie, she is a very pure and fragile theater-actress Amanda Dell. Well, we know her platinum blonde hair attracts a lot of men, but her character,in this movie, is very friendly to girls. May be many girls lost their feeling of inferiority after watching this movie.
And I saw Marilyn Monroe, Yves Montand, Tony Randall, Frankie Vaughan and Wilfrid Hyde-White plus Milton Berle(40 million Americans call him as a Uncle Milky?) Bing Crosby(i love his song 'White Christmas')and Gene Kelly. These luxurious casting combination is very fantastic.
I never expected Crosby and Kelly to appear. I saw a preview version of Let's Make Love, in there, no cameo appearances of in the preview. But Kelly and Crosby's cameo appearing made my eyes happy.
I think Marilyn's acting career is more valuable in her 30's than 20's.Because in her 20's, she portrayed us her physical attraction. Sometimes she enticed a man(Niagara), Sometimes vivacious(How to marry a millionaire), and sometimes valiant(River of No Return).
But in her 30's her character showed fragile, pure and vulnerable. I found out these phenomenon in this movie,Let's Make Love. So I can figure it out her acting was changed.
The plot is unadventurous and it's tough enough to swallow without Cukor forcing in lame humour, lead weight dialogue and sub-par music numbers. A spark of hope that we might get a good movie arrives early with Marilyn's entrance, resplendent in figure hugging costume and warbling "My Heart Belongs to Daddy", but it's a false dawn and only serves to remind us why we loved her in the first place, and, that she deserved better than this. Montand's role had been touted to a number of high profile American actors, notably Cary Grant, James Stewart, Rock Hudson and Gregory Peck, the latter of which did get the gig but quickly got out of it upon viewing the script. Peck is also credited with a humorous and most fitting quote about the finished movie. He wryly observed that the end result "About as funny as pushing Grandma down the stairs in a wheelchair." Now where's Tomy Udo when you need him most eh? He could have pushed this movie down the stairs with Grandma too.
The film is also guilty of other things. It's at least 30 minutes too long and Tony Randall is badly underused as Coffman, PR aid to Clement (Montand). While cameos by Gene Kelly, Bing Crosby & Milton Berle, as pleasant as they are, just smacks of film makers trying to dress up a dogs dinner. There's some enjoyment to be had in Wilfred Hyde-White's sarcastic support turn, while some value can be got from the De Luxe Color/CinemaScope production. But really they are thin excuses from which to use in recommending this to anyone but the hardiest of Monroe completists. 3/10
Verdict: mostly boring. On the positive side: opens with an interesting, imaginative introduction of the main character. The first half of the film is quite tedious and boring. Things improve a little in the second half with pace and dialogue improving and appearances by Milton Berle, Bing Crosby and Gene Kelly, playing themselves in the film, as they give advice to help our French main character learn comedy, dance and singing.
The story concerns a French billionaire, who learns a stage play will be made, one which makes fun of him. He visits a rehearsal of the play and is mistaken as an actor. He decides to take advantage of this and accepts an offer to be in the play, to try to save his reputation from being tarnished. Along the way, he falls for a young female actress (Marilyn Monroe), also rehearsing for the play.
For those familiar with Marilyn Monroes's films of the 50's, she was a bit overweight here. In her case, that does not detract much from her overall beauty, sensuousness and charm. As a lead character, Marilyn Monroe does not have much of a role to play here, the same old boring sex siren, this time in a stage theater setting.
The Frenchmen Yves Montand, is the acting highlight, to help brighten up an otherwise mostly dull film. He has some moments of genuine charm and humor. A paycheck for Marilyn Monroe, but a waste of her comedic and dramatic talents as a film actress. She would next go on to "The Misfits", a dark and sad film and after that, was filming another comedy, "Something's Got To Give", when she was fired from the studio, hired back and shortly later, died alone, tragically at home.
Yves Montand is good, apart from his terrible "cock-a-doodle-doo" impressions - truly awful - and there is a very obvious scene which he is given towards the end - you can just imagine the director saying "Give the French guy a mime to do". Milton Berle appears as himself and is both funny and annoying. Bing Crosby appears as himself and is totally pointless and "past it" and Marilyn Monroe shows that she could actually be quite good in certain roles. She seems to have thankfully dropped the baby-talk.
Back to the story - it's complete unbelievable garbage. It's not very funny and poor old Frankie Vaughan is treated appallingly as Marilyn's love interest. In the real world, no way would the story pan out how it does. I must also mention the music numbers - they are awful. Despite a few hopeful moments in the opening number "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" (a desperately transparent attempt to emulate the success of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"), it's ultimately disappointing. As is the film.