When billionaire Jean-Marc Clement (Yves Montand) hears that his life is to be satirised in a show, he decides to see the production for himself at rehearsals. Thinking that Clement must be an actor auditioning for a role, the director promptly casts him as the lead.
Marilyn Monroe’s penultimate film has always been underrated by both critics and Monroe fans alike, but this musical actually contains some fabulous routines from the star.
The lightweight plot – a trifle about a slumming billionaire – was originally created with Gregory Peck in mind. In the sophisticated hands of “woman’s director” George Cukor, it becomes a fascinating study of Monroe’s sexuality, helped by the fact that she and Peck’s replacement, French heart-throb Yves Montand, were rumoured to be amorously involved in real life at the time.
British import Frankie Vaughan barely gets a look-in, apart from a few duets with Monroe, but Marilyn’s breathtaking solo on My Heart Belongs to Daddy, stunningly choreographed for CinemaScope by Jack Cole, of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) fame, is a Monroe career highlight.
At her most voluptuous, wearing a sweater over a body stocking, she doesn’t dance so much as swings from exercise poles into a multitude of male arms, moving seductively, all hooded eyes, pouty grin and swaying hips.
Guest stars Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly and Milton Berle all add to the delightful streak of contemporary satire running through the film.
Dennis King Jr