After her films with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall's best film from the early part of her career is "How To Marry A Millionaire.'
She and Marilyn Monroe hatch a plan where they will rent a really upscale residence and try to land a millionaire. Marilyn invites Betty Grable to join them and Lauren's fine with it once she sees how Betty can make a few coins result in bags of groceries.
I'm not a big Betty Grable fan. This is her only film that I really enjoy. Her best scenes are probably when she goes off with a married man to a "lodge" that ends up being his own small vacation home in Maine. The snow falls and falls and falls. She ends up falling for a park ranger (after she gets over her measles).
Monroe needs to wear glasses but doesn't want men to see her in them so she walks into walls, ends up on the wrong plane, etc. She's funny in it and has a good chemistry with both Grable and Lauren Bacall. But I think she works better with Bacall.
William Powell (of "The Thin Man" series) is an older man who's in love with her. She almost marries him but at the last minute knows she loves the rude and poor man who showed up their first day in the apartment carrying Betty Grable's groceries that he paid for because she forgot her check book. (That's how Grable got so many groceries. She'd play like she forgot her check book and some guy would be attracted to her and buy the groceries.)
And it ends with them all in a greasy diner eating burgers. Grable's with the park ranger who has no money. Marilyn's with a man who has money if he can get it. And then there's Lauren's guy. Who is actually rich. And that's the shocking ending.
Lauren has to be the smart one. And that's not always the 'fun' role. But she makes it one by being bemused and by being suspicious. This could be a really bland role but she does a great job with it and, as with some minutes in "Designing Woman" (the film, not the sitcom), she's so good at comedy you wonder why she really doesn't play it again until the sixties "Sex and the Single Girl."
The legendary Lauren Bacall turns 88 years young this September.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"