After a long string of successful musicals under her belt, Let’s Make Love from director George Cukor would be Marilyn Monroe’s last. The film itself was not as widely loved as earlier efforts at the time, but it still managed to make money as Monroe was always a draw no matter what it was she happened to be featured in. This film would also see her star opposite Yves Montand and the two would have great onscreen chemistry together, making it more than a delight to watch. Another thing the film would do though is play up the ‘dumb blonde’ persona that had proliferated Monroe’s movie career up until this point. She would not be as effervescent or as silly as all that though, where like many of the characters she played when she seemed to be lacking a little sense, she actually turned out smarter than she appeared. It is not to say that Monroe would not have roles that would showcase her in a different light, she would, but this is the Monroe that everybody seemed to love.
Montand stars as Jean-Marc Clement, a billionaire by trade who essentially goes through life with hardly a care in the world with a string of lovely ladies behind him. When hearing of a stage production that is set to begin that pokes fun at a number of people in the public eye including himself, he decides to check it out where he meets Amanda, the leading lady of the show and with whom he soon falls in love. Things get all mixed up though and Jean-Marc finds himself drafted into the play to star as himself, though the rest of the cast have no idea that he is indeed the person he is supposed to satirize. As Jean-Marc starts to fall in love with Amanda, his life and his judgement get a little clouded and he is soon doing everything he can to win her heart.
Let’s Make Love is a funny film with a script by Norman Krasna, Hal Kanter and Monroe’s then husband, Arthur Miller. It is not the strongest film that Monroe ever starred in, but it has some great comedic moments and you find yourself smiling or laughing with it throughout its length. Again, Monroe and Montand had great chemistry and they played off of each other really well. Montand would play the sophisticated gentleman and Monroe the silly showgirl and with Montand’s thick accent and his bumbling about to try and woo this blonde bombshell, the results were almost always slightly embarrassing, but quite humourous and in the end, you really felt for the guy for who has never been in love and done the same thing? As a romantic comedy it worked very well, as a musical not so much as it only featured a couple of songs that the traditional movie-going public could appreciate. My Heart Belongs to Daddy and Let’s Make Love were two of the standout numbers while the rest were a little jazzy and interpretive and not the normal fare one would expect to see in a Monroe film. Montand was not a very good singer, though much like his character, he at least fumbled his way through it with a bit of charm. Frankie Vaughan would appear as Amanda’s opposite in the stage play and would showcase his considerable talents to great effect, out-singing Montand quite easily.
Some of the best and funniest bits came from its surprise guest stars which included Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly and Milton Berle all starring as themselves. Each would try to help out Montand’s character with their respective talents, all to little effect, but the results would be hilarious in their own right. Milton Berle especially was quite funny as he tried to put Montand over with the cast of the play. Though it was unexpected, having these three men in the film actually fit Montand’s character perfectly and it was extremely fun to see.
As far as musicals go, the film was not the greatest and as far as Monroe films went, it would rate the same assessment, but overall, it was enjoyable and entertaining. Monroe, while having been in stronger pictures before, would do a great job with this one and really, any film with Marilyn is a film worth watching.