[Film Review] Let’s Make Love (1960)

Let's Make Love poster.jpg

Title: Let’s Make Love
Year: 1960
Country: USA
Language: English, French, German, Italian, Arabic
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance
Director: George Cukor
Screenwriter: Norman Krasna
Music: Lionel Newman
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Cast:
Yves Montand
Marilyn Monroe
Frankie Vaughan
Tony Randall
Wilfrid Hyde-White
Milton Berle
David Burns
Joe Besser
Bing Crosby
Gene Kelly
Harry Cheshire
Rating: 6.2/10

Let's Make Love 1960.jpg

Ms. Monroe’s penultimate picture, a trite mistake identity musical-comedy directed by none other than George Cukor, French movie star Yves Montand plays a New York dwelling billionaire Jean-Marc Clement, who is born with a silver spoon and so atrociously famous that an off-Broadway revue decides to satirize his merry-go-round love affairs along with the personages like Elvis Presley and Maria Callas. Apprised of the news, Jean-Marc is persuaded by his PR officer Coffman (Randall, evokes an underlined drollness in his all-serious demeanor) to sneak into the rehearsal, and hit by a coup-de-foudre, he is swept off his feet by its star Amanda Dell (Monroe)’s sultry rendition of Cole Porter’s MY HEART BELONGS TO DADDY, and when he is hired to play himself for his uncanny resemblance, Jean-Marc plays along and becomes Alexandre Dumas, hoping to win Amanda over not by his wealth, but his charming personality in lieu.

As a comedy, LET’S MAKE LOVE is only moderately funny, in spite of three showbiz dignitaries’ cameos as themselves, Milton Berle, Bing Crosby and Gene Kelly, each pops up as an instructor to teach Jean-Marc comedy act, singing and dancing respectively, but the dry humor induced by Jean-Marc’s gaucheness and his teachers’ understated frustration doesn’t go anywhere. Montand appears like a fish out of water whenever Monroe is not present (the pair were conducting an off-screen affair during the production), and being a top-drawer entertainer, to act as if he is not really requires more showmanship than one might reckon.

But naturally, scenes begin to shine when Monroe is on screen, whether she is cooing and twirling in music numbers (SPECIALIZATION is a boon), or playing a typical manic pixie dream girl in front of a besotted Montand, her Amanda only exudes irresistible, faultless loveliness that she leverages with considerable ease, even shoulders the third act’s over-egged self-denying non sequitur safely to the finishing line.

LET’S MAKE LOVE also marks British pop idol Frankie Vaughan’s bash into the Tinseltown, but is left nearly nothing to do as the no-account second fiddler, if not for his pizzazz when the music swells. The show must go on however off-Broadway it is, and a girl like Monroe is destined to marry a billionaire, a pipe dream Hollywood has been consistently force-feeding its audience to wallow in, and only looks wistful and ironic when Ms. Monroe prematurely shuffles off this mortal coil.

referential entries: Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959, 9.2/10), Howard Hawks’s GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953, 6.3/10).

Oscar 1960 - Let's Make Love.jpg

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