I love Marilyn Monroe to distraction… not just for her beauty, brains, style, and lasting legacy to my beloved old Hollywood. Heck, none of these are even the main reason I such a huge fan of hers. I love her for her film performances first and foremost. She has a truly wonderful filmography and gave one excellent performance after the other.
People often (bizarrely) try to compare her to Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall, and other actresses. This is such a shame because it’d be like comparing Jerry Lewis to James Cagney… different roles call for different types of actors/actresses. She (same for Jerry Lewis) gave exactly what was needed from her for each and every role.
In the same way you may not be able to see her in, say, a Bette Davis role… you could also flip it and say you couldn’t really see Bette Davis in a Marilyn Monroe role. There’s room enough in old Hollywood for all types of stars and movies would be incredibly boring if they were all the same.
Marilyn Monroe’s performance in How to Marry a Millionaire (1953, directed by Jean Negulesco) is one of my favorite performances – of hers or anyone’s for that matter. She brings the perfect amount of vulnerability, humor, and genuine lovableness (I know, spellcheck, it isn’t supposed to be a word… but I’m making it one) to the role of Pola.
The romantic comedy also stars Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Cameron Mitchell, Alexander D’Arcy, Fred Clark, and William Powell.
Truth be told, although the entire cast is wonderful, I think she’s the stand-out performance in the entire film.
How to Marry a Millionaire Movie Poster (Amazon link)