Parents' Guide to

How to Marry a Millionaire

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Classic Hollywood legends sparkle; premise doesn't hold up.

Movie NR 1953 95 minutes
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Parents and kids who are fascinated by old Hollywood will get a tremendous kick out of seeing three legends, Betty Grable, Lauren Bacall, and Marilyn Monroe, playing to their strengths. (Not to mention a delightfully understated, elegant turn from William Powell.) It's a sheer pleasure to watch them do what they do best. Everything about the production under director Jean Negulesco (1953's Titanic, Johnny Belinda) showcases the star power of the three leading ladies, with the fashion-show sequence as a real highlight not only of the stars' appeal but also of Negulesco's careful eye and Nunnally Johnson's (The Grapes of Wrath, The Dirty Dozen) tight, clever script.

Although there's nothing kids shouldn't see, the movie's appeal will be fairly limited. Some extended shots showcasing the glory of CinemaScope probably thrilled audiences in its initial theater run, but today they seem intrusive and clunky. Also, the plot's about trying to find someone to marry, and the pacing is quiet and gentle. To go along for the ride, modern audiences need to set aside modern sensibilities about what a woman's best options are. If you (and your kids) can do that, you're in for a real treat.

Movie Details

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