A few words about…™ Let’s Make Love — in Blu-ray

Sound is fine, but image is problematic, appearing as overall faded, with almost non-existent blacks, and shadows disappearing into the backgrounds. 4 Stars

As Marilyn Monroe’s penultimate film, and her last in color, and her final completed film for Fox (her final work was the extraordinary The Misfits, which should not be missed), it has an interesting place in history.

Great film?

Not by a long shot.

But…

There’s treasure to be mined here.

With a film starring Marilyn and Yves Montand, the one actor that would never appear might be Milton Berle.

But he does.

And he’s terrific.

Literally stealing the film away from the two stars.

Add Bing Crosby and Gene Kelly (as themselves), brought in to try to help Montand learn to act, and one can only wonder what director George Cukor might have done with a better screenplay.

As a disc, the Twilight Time release is okay.

Sound is fine, but image is problematic, appearing as overall faded, with almost non-existent blacks, and shadows disappearing into the backgrounds.

Not horrible, but noticeable.

Might the film have been worth a full-blown restoration?

Not sure.

Image – 4

Audio – 5

Upgrade from DVD – Probably

Pass / Fail – Pass

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

40 Comments

  1. I watched it on TCM recently and I thought the print looked great. It's a very odd film, but worth seeing, chiefly for Yves Montand's and Marilyn's scenes together. They're great, but their scenes are sandwiched between one awful musical number after another featuring this baffling British pop star, Frankie Vaughan, whom I'd never heard of before, playing the lead in the musical within the movie and Marilyn's character's boyfriend. He just doesn't register at all. He's what Mr. Bean would look like if he embarked on a serious career as a lounge lizard. The sad thing is that Yves Montand was an accomplished musical star in his own right, but isn't allowed to let loose because his character has to learn how to sing, dance and be funny. What a wasted opportunity.

    As for Milton Berle, the whole joke behind his participation is that they want to teach Yves how to be funny so they hire the least funny comedian in the world–Berle! His unfunniness is the joke.

    And Kelly's and Crosby's cameos are just pointless.

    If the script had just stayed with Montand and Monroe and built a farce based on his masquerading as someone else, it could have been a comic masterpiece on the order of LOVE COME BACK, with Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

  2. Here is the incomplete last Monroe film, "Something's Got To Give" put together for a documentary, A remake of " My Favorite Wife" in case in you want to see the entire story. Or " Move Over Darling" with Doris Day and James Garner , who replaced Monroe and Martin after Monroe's death.

  3. For me, Let's Make Love is the Monroe film I like the least. I do wish Fox had not fired her from Something's Got to Give. It may have been even better than Move Over, Darling which is not my favorite Doris Day comedy. And who knows, maybe Marilyn would still be alive today!

  4. Well, Fox did re-hire her shortly before her death. They replaced director George Cukor, with whom she did not get along, with Jean Negulesco who had directed her in How to Marry A Millionaire — and in exchange she agreed not to have her pain-in-the-ass acting coach, Paula Strasberg, on the set anymore.

  5. Garysb

    Here is the incomplete last Monroe film, "Something's Got To Give" put together for a documentary, A remake of " My Favorite Wife" in case in you want to see the entire story. Or " Move Over Darling" with Doris Day and James Garner , who replaced Monroe and Martin after Monroe's death.

    Thanks Garysb. Really enjoyed it! Cheers~~

  6. In an interview, Tony Randall had nothing good to say about working with Marilyn on Let's Make Love. He said she was "wretched" (his word) to work with, never appearing on time for her calls and keeping the entire cast and crew waiting for her. He had complete sympathy for her medical and psychological problems, but he said she shouldn't have been hired if she couldn't be a complete professional.

  7. Tony Randall was a mean old queen. My former landlord, David Chiericetti, who has authored several film-related books, was a production assistant on a TV movie Randall starred in called Sidney Schorr, A Girl's Best Friend. This was back in the 1970s and David was an aspiring writer. He was chatting with the movie's screenwriter on the set one day, picking his brains about writing. Randall saw them talking and had David fired — for no reason other than that he didn't think a lowly production assistant had any business conversing with the screenwriter.

  8. Matt Hough

    In an interview, Tony Randall had nothing good to say about working with Marilyn on Let's Make Love. He said she was "wretched" (his word) to work with, never appearing on time for her calls and keeping the entire cast and crew waiting for her. He had complete sympathy for her medical and psychological problems, but he said she shouldn't have been hired if she couldn't be a complete professional.

    Tony Randall was not the only person who disliked working with Marilyn Monroe. Even people who were quite sympathetic towards her and her difficulties, like Jane Russell, Jack Lemmon and Richard Widmark, have admitted it could be a strain having to put up with her special needs.

  9. Big Gay Andy

    Tony Randall was a mean old queen. My former landlord, David Chiericetti, who has authored several film-related books, was a production assistant on a TV movie Randall starred in called Sidney Schorr, A Girl's Best Friend. This was back in the 1970s and David was an aspiring writer. He was chatting with the movie's screenwriter on the set one day, picking his brains about writing. Randall saw them talking and had David fired — for no reason other than that he didn't think a lowly production assistant had any business conversing with the screenwriter.

    An interesting pronouncement to make, expectially as a new member.

    You have seemingly taken one individual’s comments, and posted them as an absolute. I’ve personally never heard anything negative about the man. Met him occasionally at screenings, and always found him warm, intelligent and accessible.

  10. Well excuse me, but David would not have made up a story like that. I'm glad you had better experiences with Mr. Randall — perhaps you were luckier than David in that you didn't have to work with him.

    And by the way, what does my being a new member have to do with anything?

  11. Robert Harris

    An interesting pronouncement to make, expectially as a new member.

    You have seemingly taken one individual’s comments, and posted them as an absolute. I’ve personally never heard anything negative about the man. Met him occasionally at screenings, and always found him warm, intelligent and accessible.

    I met Tony Randall when he was doing the play of “The Odd Couple” with Jack Klugman on the road at a local theater. A friend who worked there got my wife and I invited backstage after and the two of them couldn’t have been nicer. Tony was asking if we could hear everything ok and Jack was concerned because of his limited speaking ability but assured them it was a great performance. They graciously autographed the program which topped off a wonderful evening.

  12. Big Gay Andy

    Well excuse me, but David would not have made up a story like that. I'm glad you had better experiences with Mr. Randall — perhaps you were luckier than David in that you didn't have to work with him.

    And by the way, what does my being a new member have to do with anything?

    Uh-oh.

  13. God forbid any of us should call each other here "mean old queen". The cutting part is "old". More seriously in the context of Marilyn by the time she did Got to Give all hell was breaking loose in her life. I like both her and Randall as movie actors very much (her more so) but Cukor was withering, with reason. (He was also withering about Judy for similar reasons, this according to the author of Full Service.) Stella Adler was a big part of the problem. And the louses she married, every one of them (except Di Maggio.) I really like Let's Make Love a lot, and the screen chemistry with Montand is pretty visible. It's a much better movie than reputation suggests, that whole early 60s Cukor period is very rich.

  14. "Odd" by whose standards?

    Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that I have Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of high-functioning autism and which sometimes results in my coming off as insensitive or, to use your word, odd. I was once told by a fellow member of another chat group that I was "one of the strangest people on this planet." Asperger's often robs people of the ability to distinguish between appropriate versus inappropriate social behaviors. It also impedes the ability to empathize with others (to "put yourself in his place" etc.). So if it seems like I am being rude, please know that it is unintentional. I have nothing but respect for you, Mr. Harris, and the outstanding work you've done.

  15. Big Gay Andy

    Well excuse me, but David would not have made up a story like that. I'm glad you had better experiences with Mr. Randall — perhaps you were luckier than David in that you didn't have to work with him.

    While your tale is anecdotal, one person's "experience" should not be taken as definitive. You were not there, you received the story second hand. I've heard countless "horror" stories about so called difficult actors from second hand sources as in "I know a guy who worked with XYZ and she was a real bitch!". I dismiss such stories myself. I'd heard stories for several years about how "difficult" Kiefer Sutherland was to work with. I worked for one day on the series 24 and he couldn't have been nicer. In fact, he went out of his way to be nice to me. I did see him lose him temper on the set just once but that was because the person his anger was directed at was behaving in a totally unprofessional manner. But no doubt when that person relates that story to others, Sutherland was just being plain mean while withholding the fact that he was behaving unprofessionally. My point being that your friend related his side of the story (quite possibly leaving something out). Mr. Randall might have seen the situation quite differently.

  16. Thomas T

    While your tale is anecdotal, one person's "experience" should not be taken as definitive. You were not there, you received the story second hand. I've heard countless "horror" stories about so called difficult actors from second hand sources as in "I know a guy who worked with XYZ and she was a real bitch!". I dismiss such stories myself. I'd heard stories for several years about how "difficult" Kiefer Sutherland was to work with. I worked for one day on the series 24 and he couldn't have been nicer. In fact, he went out of his way to be nice to me. I did see him lose him temper on the set just once but that was because the person his anger was directed at was behaving in a totally unprofessional manner. But no doubt when that person relates that story to others, Sutherland was just being plain mean while withholding the fact that he was behaving unprofessionally. My point being that your friend related his side of the story (quite possibly leaving something out). Mr. Randall might have seen the situation quite differently.

    Very good point, Thomas.

    I'm not clear how Tony Randall could have got someone fired. That kind of clout was the preserve of a few really big stars. Although, once or twice, he did have the leading role in a minor movie, Tony Randall was never a big star and normally played supporting roles.

  17. Well. here's MY take: I met Mr. Randall in person years ago outside "21" in NYC and he was a complete gentleman with a big smile on his face! As for Let's Make Love, I only watch to see the fabulous "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" number in the beginning of the film- THEN I change the channel, knowing it's all downhill from there! Yes, I actually sat through this film once and Marilyn deserved better from Fox!

  18. Thomas T

    While your tale is anecdotal, one person's "experience" should not be taken as definitive. You were not there, you received the story second hand. I've heard countless "horror" stories about so called difficult actors from second hand sources as in "I know a guy who worked with XYZ and she was a real bitch!". I dismiss such stories myself. I'd heard stories for several years about how "difficult" Kiefer Sutherland was to work with. I worked for one day on the series 24 and he couldn't have been nicer. In fact, he went out of his way to be nice to me. I did see him lose him temper on the set just once but that was because the person his anger was directed at was behaving in a totally unprofessional manner. But no doubt when that person relates that story to others, Sutherland was just being plain mean while withholding the fact that he was behaving unprofessionally. My point being that your friend related his side of the story (quite possibly leaving something out). Mr. Randall might have seen the situation quite differently.

    Not to go too far off topic but I was a big fan of 24 and that is in line with what I frequently heard about Sutherland. He was prepared and professional in terms of his job and he quite reasonably wanted the same from everyone else. So if a person was doing their job, he was cool but if they weren't, they might want to watch out.

  19. david hare

    Wasnt Stella the voice coach (from hell.) whom Prem banned from the set of River of no Return, after many tantrumsz?

    I think that her coach then was Natasha Lytess(a psuedonym btw – her real name was Tala Forman and you can see her on an episode of WHATS MY LINE? under that name on youtube)

  20. I agree with Charles in the previous post. After the sensational “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” opening, I usually change the channel as the movie is all downhill from there. Both Marilyn Monroe and director George Cukor deserved better material. And, except for the sexy angora sweater in that musical number, Monroe’s wardrobe by the usually-reliable Dorothy Jeakins is surprisingly unattractive and unflattering. Monroe was so understandably displeased with it that she wisely hired Jean Louis to design her wardrobe for her next two pictures — “The Misfits” and the uncompleted “Something’s Got to Give” — to memorable effect.

  21. To be fair to Dorothy Jeakins, Marilyn appears plumpish in Let's Make Love, and I suspect her weight was fluctuating much like Garland's did when she was at her lowest ebb dealing with her prescription drug addiction during her final couple of years at MGM. Jeakins probably had her hands full trying to alter the clothes to make Marilyn camera-ready.

    And I don't mean to sound critical or unfeeling of Marilyn whom I am very fond of in her films. I played the soundtrack album to this film a lot when I was growing up.

  22. It was around this time that Marilyn was late for an interview with a female journalist who, annoyed at having been kept waiting, cattily remarked to Marilyn "Gained a little weight, haven't you, dearie?" to which Marilyn famously replied "My husband likes me plump."

  23. Matt, you're very gallant to come to the defense of costume designer Dorothy Jeakins, who, as you say, may have had her hands full in trying to keep an obviously plump Marilyn Monroe camera-ready, but I still think her wardrobe for the star in "Let's Make Love" is glaringly unattractive. Marilyn was also plump — and pregnant! — during the making of "Some Like it Hot", but Orry-Kelly designed incredibly sexy costumes for her to wear in that one and deservedly won an Oscar for his efforts.

  24. Big Gay Andy

    […] and in exchange she agreed not to have her pain-in-the-ass acting coach, Paula Strasberg, on the set anymore.

    More like "pain-in-the-Strasberg".

  25. david hare

    […]Stella Adler was a big part of the problem. […]

    Please, do tell…in what way was Stella Adler a big part of the problem.
    You'll need to elaborate on this very cryptic statement.

  26. david hare

    Wasnt Stella the voice coach (from hell.) whom Prem banned from the set of River of no Return, after many tantrumsz?

    From where do you derive your information concerning Stella Adler?

  27. philip*eric

    I think that her coach then was Natasha Lytess(a psuedonym btw – her real name was Tala Forman and you can see her on an episode of WHATS MY LINE? under that name on youtube)

    You are correct it was Natasha Lytess.

  28. philip*eric

    I think that her coach then was Natasha Lytess(a psuedonym btw – her real name was Tala Forman and you can see her on an episode of WHATS MY LINE? under that name on youtube)

    Nice research philip*eric.
    And to be clear, Stella Adler was an acting coach and director; not a vocal coach.
    If any private training for an established star were to come from Stella Adler, it would be in very specific circumstances;
    such as Burt Lancaster who enlisted her for his character development and preparations towards "Atlantic City".

  29. Garysb

    Here is the incomplete last Monroe film, "Something's Got To Give" put together for a documentary, A remake of " My Favorite Wife" in case in you want to see the entire story. Or " Move Over Darling" with Doris Day and James Garner , who replaced Monroe and Martin after Monroe's death.

    Thanks for posting!!!!

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