Ever wanted to start your weekend with three of Hollywood’s greatest bombshells? Well you can do just that this Saturday at Roanoke’s historic Grandin Theatre with their screening of the 1953 classic comedy “How to Marry a Millionaire.” The movie stars Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe and Lauren Bacall as three models trying to achieve the title’s action with hilarious complications. It’s this month offering in the Grandin’s Classic Film Series presented by Friendship retirement community. It will screen in the main auditorium at 10 a.m. and admission is free.
Though Betty Grable struggled to get started, this stunning triple-threat equally adept at acting, dancing and singing became the biggest female star of the 1940’s. Yet she is now probably most famous for her iconic World War II pin-up poster in swimsuit and heels looking back over her shoulder. Her unforgettable million dollar legs were insured for that amount through Lloyds of London by 20th Century Fox. Tragically, she made only two more theatrical films after “How to Marry a Millionaire” and died at 56 years of age.
She plays Loco Dempsey, the aptly named dimwitted fellow model and friend of Pola Debevoise, a hilarious and poor sighted Marilyn Monroe. Pola asks Loco to share a ritzy apartment lease acquired by gold digging model Schatze Page (Bacall). Mistaken assumptions and various romantic complications ensue till things work out for the best in Nunnally Johnson’s Writers Guild of America nominated screenplay. The movie also received an Oscar nomination for its lovely costumes.
Though she was 10 years younger than Grable, Monroe died just nine years after this movie at the even more tragic age of 36. Hollywood’s ultimate blonde bombshell was a much better actress than may be remembered and garnered Golden Globe nominations for “Bus Stop” (1956) and “Some Like It Hot” (1959). Coming to attention in the serious 1950 classic films “The Asphalt Jungle” and “All About Eve,” she hit sex symbol status right before this movie with “Gentleman Prefer Blondes.”
Lauren Bacall still outlives both her co-stars today and will turn 90 in September. She even earned a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for the 1996 film “The Mirror Has Two Faces.” The husky voiced beauty’s Harper’s Bazaar cover photo landed her a role in Howard Hawks’ 1944 classic “To Have and Have Not” at only 19 years old opposite future husband Humphrey Bogart. She instructed him on how to whistle in this more entertaining version of “Casablanca” that began one of Hollywood’s greatest pairings on and off the big screen.