|Who wants to marry a millionaire?
Sit down Darva Conger. This has nothing to do with you, Rick Rockwell, or the desperate attempts at fame made by the both of you. I have instead chosen to focus on a film produced in 1953 that, by far, predates any attempts at money grubbing made by Fox reality television producers.
I consider myself a fan of film. Having said this, I have never viewed anything starring Marilyn Monroe; instead opting to view and read some of the more biographical materials where others are recounting her behaviors. As a result of this choice, I have never quite admired Marilyn Monroe or her contributions to movie history. To me she seemed like a glorified Paris Hilton/Pamela Anderson type who is and was more renowned for her body instead of her body of work. While this may very well still be the case, I do see now why one would find her screen presence so persuasive and indelible. In How to Marry a Millionaire, Monroe plays one-third of a trifecta of women with one specific goal: to marry themselves off to wealthy grooms. The other two-thirds of the triangle are portrayed by the wonderful Lauren Becall and the luminous Betty Grable...no chicken feed here.
Even with all of this talent in play, one thing stood out more than all else for me in this film; the costuming. Bill Travilla, or Travilla as he is credited in the film, was a costume designer of some prominence during the golden age of cinema as is reflected by his resume. It is clear from his wonderful work on this film that his continued ability to gain work was not a fluke. The ladies of this film are all supposed to be financially strapped apparel models, but it is clear from the opening scenes of a sharp looking Lauren Becall that just because funds are low, taste and impeccable design don"t have to be.
The masterful design work only increases as the film continues when, in my opinion, it culminates with a scene of the girls out to dinner with three perspective husbands. Marlilyn Monroe and company have never looked more beautiful in their careers as each do in this scene. This is the stuff that Project Runway constestants of today could only hope to achieve one day long down the road.
Special recognition must also be paid to the make-up talents of Ben Nye who has created a long lineage of respected make-up artists and a trusted line of theater make-up products used by many actors to this day. With Mr. Nye"s guidance and assistance these ladies appear absolutely flawless and almost supernaturally beautiful.
Completing the look of these temptresses is the hair design. However, this aspect of the final appearance is credited to no particular person in the crew. Regardless of who accomplished this task, it is perfectly accomplished. Who wouldn"t want to marry these penniless, gold digging women?
How to Marry a Millionaire is a perfect example of why these little-thanked crewmembers are absolutely vital to the successful end product. The costumes, make-up, and hair design turn what may have otherwise been just another chick flick into a visual feast that fills more than the men and women onscreen with desire; the audience is on the hook as well.