Let's Make Love Review

Tony Randall plays Alexander Coffman, the press agent/public relations man for glamorous playboy and billionaire businessman, Jean-Marc Clement (Yves Montand). When Coffman gets wind of a satirical off-Broadway revue that is setting his employer up as a figure of fun, they both attend a rehearsal to see what is going on. While there Clement inadvertently gets signed up to play himself in the revue. It is there he sees Amanda Dell (Marilyn Monroe) perform Cole Porter’s ‘My Heart Belongs To Daddy’, and he falls for her (and who wouldn’t after that performance!). As a billionaire, Clement is used to having women fall over him, but Amanda is more impressed by the charming and talented singer, Tony Danton (Frankie Vaughan). In order to woo the girl and have her love him for who he is rather than for his money, Clement hires the funniest comedian in America (Milton Berle), the best singer (Bing Crosby) and the greatest dancer (Gene Kelly) to improve his own talents and win the girl.

Kind of a My Fair Lady in reverse (a film Cukor would direct four years later), Yves Montand is appropriately stiff and business-like as Jean-Marc Clement, but never convinces when he has to play a looser, funnier and more romantic role. There is also a lack of chemistry with Monroe which hampers credibility somewhat and dulls the romantic comedy aspect of the film. The film is entertaining enough and has its moments, but it lumbers towards a silly conclusion with none of the comic timing, pace or skill that you would expect from a director like George Cukor.

Marilyn Monroe however performs brilliantly in a film that is very slight for her abilities, giving a very natural and charismatic performance. She is absolutely riveting every time she is on the screen, and it is beautiful to watch her simply melt at the end of the film, making a very silly ending a lot more memorable than it deserves to be.

The film is presented on DVD with a good 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. The original print appears to have been in not quite as good a condition as some of the older films that have been restored for this collection, so Let’s Make Love doesn’t look quite as pristine as her earlier musical There’s No Business Like Show Business. Colours are a touch faded and the image can appear rather soft in places, lacking definition through a fine grain. A few artefacts and some haze can be seen on the negative also, but not to a distracting degree. Despite the minor faults though, this looks very good indeed and much better than could be expected.

Again, the sound isn’t quite as strong as on other releases in the Monroe collection. The restored soundtrack on There’s No Business Like Show Business was able to make a convincingly wide and dynamic mix from the original 4 channel sound, but here the Dolby Digital 4.0 soundtrack, which seems to be sourced from the original mono soundtrack, remains for the most part fixed in the main channel. There is a little bit of panning of voices to the left and right speakers which doesn’t feel natural. Some hiss and echo can be noticeable at times, while the limitations of the original master are evident on one or two occasions through obvious ‘punched-in’ overdubs and occasional wavering in the sound. There is one cut out in the sound for a second around the 7:30 minute mark – although I’m not sure if this is an error on the master or just a fault with the preview disc I was given to review. Overall though, the sound is more than adequate.

Extras on the disc itself are light. There might possibly be contextual and historical information on the film included in sleeve notes or on the extra disc in the collection this DVD belongs to. These were not present when the disc was being reviewed. What is included on the DVD is a Theatrical Trailer presented in 1.85:1 letterbox and running to just over three minutes. It wisely features Monroe prominently in her show-stopping (and damn near heart-stopping) performance of 'My Heart Belongs To Daddy'. A very short, less than one minute Restoration Comparison is included that isn’t especially enlightening on the restoration process for this particular film. The only other extra is a wonderful Still Gallery of 20 black and white behind the scenes and promotional stills for the film.

Let’s Make Love is an average film that would be completely forgettable where it not for the presence of Marilyn Monroe. As it is, her evident charm and acting ability, along with a number of decent song and dance numbers and a pretty good presentation on DVD make this one certainly worth a look.

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