Retro Review: Let’s Make Love (1960)

Even as a boy, I was always captivated by Marilyn Monroe. She did typify the blonde bombshell female so popular during a certain era, but there was something else too. She had a vulnerability, a touching innocence, and both are things that instinctively make women attractive to certain men, I believe. Some people thought she wasn’t that great an actress, and traded on her looks and figure to achieve fame. I disagree, and think she was an outstanding actress at times, and her good looks actually concealed much of the talent underneath. She had a tragically short life of course, and perhaps didn’t cope well with the fame that surrounded her. But she was undoubtedly a rare combination, someone who was incredibly good to look at, but also knew her strengths when it came to choosing parts.

This film is far from being one of her best. The casting of the non-actor and British crooner Frankie Vaughan was uninspired, to say the least. Yves Montand plays a stereotypical Frenchman, and at times is embarrassing to watch on screen. Even with some genuinely funny moments, and many great musical numbers, it is an implausible tale of a poor dancer and singer being wooed by a millionaire who gets his girl in the end. Despite all this, it remains my favourite Monroe film, because of her. With all the nonsense going on in the background, and some ham acting from many cast members, we get to focus on her. We see her at a time when she was arguably not only at her most attractive, but imbued with a confidence sometimes lacking in more serious films she made.

Co-written by Arthur Miller, directed by the estimable George Cukor, and shown in a lovely Cinemascope print, it was a delight to watch her at the cinema in my childhood. I have watched this film many times since, and never cease to be amazed by her looks, and her subtle skill too.
Watch it just for her.

33 thoughts on “Retro Review: Let’s Make Love (1960)

  1. Always nice to see you write about the classics as well. Haven’t seen all of her movies but I completely agree with you: she really was a terrific actress as well. Adding this one to my to watch list as I haven’t yet seen it. As I am at work right now I will watch the trailer for it when I get home. Wonderful post Pete😊

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I have definitely a love for the golden oldies as well, but I do know I haven’t seen half as many as you have. I have said it to you before, but I think it’s amazing the amount of knowledge you have about movies 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You just have to live long enough, Michel. Remember, I didn’t have TV, other than 2 channels, until I was 17, then just 3 channels. No Internet either, until I was 49. No VHS until I was 26, and no DVD until I was close to 40. And definitely no streaming services, until very recently.
          From the age of 7, with my parents, and until I was almost 30, all I did was to go to the cinema, and watch almost anything.
          I was a member of the British Film Institute (National Film Theatre) in London, from the age of 14, until I moved to Norfolk, aged 60.
          I lived, breathed, and died films. Any films. That’s the history of it, for me. 🙂
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That really sounds terrific and I now totally understand why you have so much knowledge. For me it’s pretty much my mum who got me interested in movies. She is a reall movie buff…and still is today. Me and my parents still go out to the cinema pretty much every month. I don’t think I could ever live without movies. It’s pretty much one of the most important things in my life, and I would not have it any other way 😊😊

            Liked by 1 person

        2. If we ever met, it would be my ambition to just discuss films, and to hopefully introduce you to many films you might never have thought of watching. I love your cinematic enthusiasm so much!
          Please give my regards to your lovely Mum, a fellow film fan! 🙂
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Haha, that would definitely be a really fun conversation! Well, who knows maybe one day: I still plan on travelling to England one day (it’s on my bucketlist so to speak 😊😊).
            Haha, and I will definitely do that Pete, thanks! 😊😊

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Pete, I have eighteen Marilyn Monroe films on DVD, including early efforts like “The Asphalt Jungle” and “All About Eve.”

    I enjoy all of Marilyn Monroe’s films, including “Let’s Make Love.” However, my all-time favorites are:
    “Niagara”
    “The Seven Year Itch”
    “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”
    “How to Marry a Millionaire”

    Marilyn Monroe is beautiful and bubbly in “The Prince and the Showgirl.” I’m fully aware of the real life conflict between Monroe and Laurence Olivier, but it doesn’t spoil the film at all. In fact, in view of the characters being played, the conflict may have actually helped the film. My only complaint is the poorly executed coronation sequence.

    It’s too bad that Marilyn Monroe did not finish “Something’s Got to Give.” I think she was at the peak of her beauty in that film. Although there are some iconic moments in “Let’s Make Love,” it’s clear that Monroe had put on some weight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think she looked even better with that extra weight! 🙂
      I am aware that you are also a huge fan, David. And even though I am not that fond of ‘The Prince and The Showgirl’, I would watch it for Marilyn, every time.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Her look (as much as her “looks” – they are different – makes it hard to pull away when she is on screen at any time I find. Even in the short interview and behind the scenes clips that are shown now and then she just “shines”. Hypnotic.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As much as I liked some others back then, like Diana Dors, Jayne Mansfield, and Anita Ekberg, Monroe was unique in her looks and character. She seemed to be like an appealing child, in the body of a grown woman. No matter how many times I watch her, that fascination never diminishes.
      Thanks, John.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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