Let's Make Love


1h 58m 1960
Let's Make Love

Brief Synopsis

A millionaire uses a fake name to infiltrate a musical making fun of him.

Film Details

Also Known As
Billionaire
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Release Date
Aug 1960
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Company of Artists, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 58m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

French billionaire Jean-Marc Clement is notorious for his lust for money and beautiful women. Clement has settled in New York City, where one day at Clement company headquarters, Howard Coffman, an employee in the public relations department, becomes alarmed when he reads an article in Variety announcing that his boss is to be lampooned in an off-Broadway theatrical revue. Eager to render his boss a sympathetic character, Coffman suggests that Clement attend the rehearsal at The Circle in the Round Theater to demonstrate his sense of humor. At the theater, Clement is smitten when Amanda Dell, the troupe's female singer and dancer, slinks down a pole clad only in a sweater and tights, and then whips off her sweater and throws it in his face.

When the show's director mistakes Clement for a fledgling actor who has come to audition for the part of the billionaire, Clement, hoping to get closer to Amanda, hits upon the idea of posing as Alexander Dumas, a struggling performer. His ploy works as Amanda coaches him on how to play the pompous billionaire, whom she holds in contempt as a "rich louse." When a call is put out for fresh jokes, Clement decides to impress his fellow thespians by presenting some new material. Coffman commissions comedy writer Charlie Lamont to pen some jokes, but the plan backfires when Oliver Burton, the company's producer, asks Lamont to judge the comedy material and he accuses Clement of stealing his joke. After Clement protests that he bought the joke from a stranger at Lindy's, Amanda comes to his defense by testifying that she witnessed the transaction. Touched by Amanda's act of kindness, Clement tells her that his day job is selling fake jewelry and shows her a genuine diamond bracelet that he has bought for one of his paramours, offering to sell it to her for five dollars. When Amanda buys the bracelet, Lily Nyles, another performer in the troupe, asks to buy one for her sick mother and Amanda graciously offers to sell hers.

After Amanda leaves, Clement tells Lily, who made the mother story up, that the bracelet has been treated with radioactivity to make it shine, and she throws it back at him. One day, Abe Miller, the manager of The Theater in the Round, receives a notice requiring the company to pay one year's rent in advance. When Coffman traces the ownership of the theater to Clement Enterprises, he angrily accuses Clement of betraying the troupe. Realizing that the unreasonable demand is the handiwork of his aide-de-camp, George Wales, Clement arranges for Wales to pose as George Welch, a retired merchant, who offers to finance the entire production for fifty-one percent control. When Wales urges Clement to reveal his true identity to Amanda, Clement refuses, fearful that she will no longer relate to him as a person but rather as a power-wielding billionaire.

To improve his woeful acting skills, Clement hires Milton Berle to coach him in the art of comedy. After several resounding failures, Berle manages to teach Clement a funny pantomime about a subway rider. Asked to assess the troupe's performance, Berle sits in on Clement's pantomime and cheers him on. Impressed, Burton offers to sign Clement for the run of the play, but when Clement demands a fifty-dollar raise for both him and Amanda, Burton fires him but is overruled by Wales. Aware that Amanda is dating Tony Danton, the show's star, Clement fantasizes about taking Danton's place in the love sequence he performs with Amanda. To accomplish this, Clement hires Bing Crosby to teach him to sing and Gene Kelly to coach him in dance. Clement then woodenly sings the new song with Amanda, which ends in a heartfelt embrace.

When Danton, a recovering alcoholic, begins to drink again in fear of losing his role to Clement, Amanda decides to go out to dinner with Clement and delay him, thus allowing Danton an opportunity to perform the tune for Wales. Over dinner, Clement confesses his love to Amanda and proposes to her. When he finally reveals his true identity, Amanda thinks that he is deluded, identifying with his part in the play, and flees in fright. To convince Amanda of his identity, Clement instructs Wales to file an injunction in Clement's name to close the show for an invasion of privacy. After Clement suggests to Amanda that she charm the womanizing billionaire into allowing the show to go on, they all troop to the Clement building. When Amanda asks to see Clement, his dumbfounded secretary ushers them into an empty office. Taking a seat behind the desk, Clement summons his staff to take dictation. Finally realizing that Clement was telling the truth, Amanda becomes angry and runs into the elevator, pushing the down button. While broadcasting endearments over the intercom, Clement recalls the elevator to the top floor and after joining Amanda in the car, they embrace.

Film Details

Also Known As
Billionaire
Genre
Comedy
Romance
Musical
Release Date
Aug 1960
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Company of Artists, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 58m
Sound
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Score

1960

Articles

Let's Make Love


By 1959 Marilyn Monroe, fresh off her success in Some Like It Hot (1959), was an international superstar. French actor-singer Yves Montand was also a major star, but only in Europe. He hoped that appearing with Monroe in Let's Make Love (1960) would ignite an American film career as well. The film didn't lead to American stardom for Montand, but his affair with Monroe during production turned out to be another nail in the coffin for Monroe's already-shaky marriage to playwright Arthur Miller.

Montand plays Jean-Marc Clement, a stuffy French billionaire living in New York. When he becomes the target of a satirical off-Broadway revue, he goes to the theater where the show is rehearsing to check it out. The director mistakes him for a lookalike actor auditioning for the role of Clement, and the billionaire, enchanted with leading lady Amanda (Monroe), decides to play along with the deception. That includes hiring guest stars Milton Berle to teach him comedy, Gene Kelly to teach him to dance, and Bing Crosby to teach him to croon. It's a lightweight backstage musical romance that relies heavily on the charms of the two stars, and Monroe, at least, delivers, offering a sizzling version of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" which ranks with "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) as one of her best musical numbers. Playing a humorless tycoon, Montand struggles with his English, and is forced to conceal his musical talent in a less appealing role.

Let's Make Love was a film nobody really wanted to make, except 20th Century Fox executives. In late 1955, Monroe had signed a new four-picture, seven-year contract with Fox that also allowed her to make films for other studios. But four years later, she had made only one picture for Fox, Bus Stop (1956), under that contract. While Monroe worked on Some Like It Hot in 1958, her husband had finished the screenplay for The Misfits (1961), and the couple was preparing that film for production through their own company. However, Fox insisted that she had to make another film for the studio first. Reluctantly, Monroe agreed to star in the least objectionable script offered by Fox, a comedy by Oscar®-winning screenwriter Norman Krasna, called The Billionaire.

Originally intended as a vehicle for Yul Brynner, it was now slated to star Gregory Peck as the uptight mogul, with George Cukor set to direct. Monroe and Miller reluctantly agreed, but after seeing the script asked that her role be expanded. Unhappy with the new emphasis on the leading lady, Peck bowed out. According to various sources, the part was also offered to Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, and Charlton Heston. Meanwhile, Yves Montand (who had appeared in a French film version of Arthur Miller's The Crucible in 1957 with his wife Simone Signoret) had earned raves for his recent one-man musical show in New York, and with Monroe and Miller's enthusiastic approval, producer Jerry Wald offered him the part of the billionaire. Following a rewrite and new title, Let's Make Love, production got underway in January, 1960.

Monroe hosted a welcome reception for the Montands, and the two couples were soon inseparable. Montand and Signoret, both active in leftist politics in France, greatly admired the political content in Miller's work. The couples had adjoining bungalows at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and ate dinner together every night, as Montand practiced his English, and they discussed the script. But cracks in the Miller-Monroe marriage soon became evident. Miller did some uncredited rewrites on Let's Make Love, doing so resentfully both because he felt it took him away from what he considered his more important work, and because he thought Let's Make Love was beneath him. The tension between Monroe and her husband only added to her anxiety. Director George Cukor, known for his talent at soothing temperamental actresses, did what he could to help. "She was very sweet, but I had no real communication with her at all," he recalled. "You couldn't get at her...As a director I really had very little influence on her. All I could do was make a climate that was agreeable for her. Every day was an agony of struggle for her, just to get there."

Montand was suffering his own frustrations because of his difficulties with the language and the inadequate script, and their insecurities drew him and Monroe closer together. In April, after Signoret had returned to Europe and Miller had left to work on pre-production for The Misfits, Monroe and Montand began an affair. It ended with the end of production, when Montand returned to Europe and his wife. Monroe divorced Miller shortly after production wrapped on The Misfits. In her autobiography, the wonderfully-titled Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be, Simone Signoret wrote affectionately and compassionately about Monroe: "She will never know how much I didn't hate her, and how I understood that story, which only concerned the four of us, although it seemed to obsess the whole world."

As for Let's Make Love, the reviews were mixed. Most found the script labored and trite, but had praise for the stars. The film "has taken something not too original (the Cinderella theme) and dressed it up like new," according to Variety. "Monroe is a delight...Yves Montand...gives a sock performance, full of heart and humour." Brendan Gill of The New Yorker wrote, "If playing the romantic lead in a picture as big and many-colored and empty as the Grand Canyon has left M. Montand unscathed, what wonders could he perform in a trifle, modestly written and directed?" Unfortunately, it was not to be. Montand's American film appearances were limited to big, empty films such as My Geisha (1962) with Shirley MacLaine, and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) with Barbara Streisand. But he remained one of France's most beloved stars until his death in 1991.

Let's Make Love was nominated for an Oscar® for scoring of a motion picture, but lost to Song Without End (1960).

Producer: Jerry Wald
Director: George Cukor
Screenplay: Norman Krasna, Hal Kanter (additional material), Arthur Miller (uncredited)
Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp
Editor: David Bretherton
Costume Design: Dorothy Jeakins
Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler, Gene Allen
Music: Lionel Newman, songs by Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen
Principal Cast: Marilyn Monroe (Amanda Dell), Yves Montand (Jean-Marc Clement), Tony Randall (Alexander Coffman), Frankie Vaughan (Tony Danton), Wilfrid Hyde White (George Welch), David Burns, (Oliver Burton), Michael David (Dave Kerry), Mara Lynn (Lily Nyles), Dennis King, Jr. (Abe Miller), Joe Besser (Charlie Lamont).
C-119m.

by Margarita Landazuri
Let's Make Love

Let's Make Love

By 1959 Marilyn Monroe, fresh off her success in Some Like It Hot (1959), was an international superstar. French actor-singer Yves Montand was also a major star, but only in Europe. He hoped that appearing with Monroe in Let's Make Love (1960) would ignite an American film career as well. The film didn't lead to American stardom for Montand, but his affair with Monroe during production turned out to be another nail in the coffin for Monroe's already-shaky marriage to playwright Arthur Miller. Montand plays Jean-Marc Clement, a stuffy French billionaire living in New York. When he becomes the target of a satirical off-Broadway revue, he goes to the theater where the show is rehearsing to check it out. The director mistakes him for a lookalike actor auditioning for the role of Clement, and the billionaire, enchanted with leading lady Amanda (Monroe), decides to play along with the deception. That includes hiring guest stars Milton Berle to teach him comedy, Gene Kelly to teach him to dance, and Bing Crosby to teach him to croon. It's a lightweight backstage musical romance that relies heavily on the charms of the two stars, and Monroe, at least, delivers, offering a sizzling version of "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" which ranks with "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) as one of her best musical numbers. Playing a humorless tycoon, Montand struggles with his English, and is forced to conceal his musical talent in a less appealing role. Let's Make Love was a film nobody really wanted to make, except 20th Century Fox executives. In late 1955, Monroe had signed a new four-picture, seven-year contract with Fox that also allowed her to make films for other studios. But four years later, she had made only one picture for Fox, Bus Stop (1956), under that contract. While Monroe worked on Some Like It Hot in 1958, her husband had finished the screenplay for The Misfits (1961), and the couple was preparing that film for production through their own company. However, Fox insisted that she had to make another film for the studio first. Reluctantly, Monroe agreed to star in the least objectionable script offered by Fox, a comedy by Oscar®-winning screenwriter Norman Krasna, called The Billionaire. Originally intended as a vehicle for Yul Brynner, it was now slated to star Gregory Peck as the uptight mogul, with George Cukor set to direct. Monroe and Miller reluctantly agreed, but after seeing the script asked that her role be expanded. Unhappy with the new emphasis on the leading lady, Peck bowed out. According to various sources, the part was also offered to Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, and Charlton Heston. Meanwhile, Yves Montand (who had appeared in a French film version of Arthur Miller's The Crucible in 1957 with his wife Simone Signoret) had earned raves for his recent one-man musical show in New York, and with Monroe and Miller's enthusiastic approval, producer Jerry Wald offered him the part of the billionaire. Following a rewrite and new title, Let's Make Love, production got underway in January, 1960. Monroe hosted a welcome reception for the Montands, and the two couples were soon inseparable. Montand and Signoret, both active in leftist politics in France, greatly admired the political content in Miller's work. The couples had adjoining bungalows at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and ate dinner together every night, as Montand practiced his English, and they discussed the script. But cracks in the Miller-Monroe marriage soon became evident. Miller did some uncredited rewrites on Let's Make Love, doing so resentfully both because he felt it took him away from what he considered his more important work, and because he thought Let's Make Love was beneath him. The tension between Monroe and her husband only added to her anxiety. Director George Cukor, known for his talent at soothing temperamental actresses, did what he could to help. "She was very sweet, but I had no real communication with her at all," he recalled. "You couldn't get at her...As a director I really had very little influence on her. All I could do was make a climate that was agreeable for her. Every day was an agony of struggle for her, just to get there." Montand was suffering his own frustrations because of his difficulties with the language and the inadequate script, and their insecurities drew him and Monroe closer together. In April, after Signoret had returned to Europe and Miller had left to work on pre-production for The Misfits, Monroe and Montand began an affair. It ended with the end of production, when Montand returned to Europe and his wife. Monroe divorced Miller shortly after production wrapped on The Misfits. In her autobiography, the wonderfully-titled Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be, Simone Signoret wrote affectionately and compassionately about Monroe: "She will never know how much I didn't hate her, and how I understood that story, which only concerned the four of us, although it seemed to obsess the whole world." As for Let's Make Love, the reviews were mixed. Most found the script labored and trite, but had praise for the stars. The film "has taken something not too original (the Cinderella theme) and dressed it up like new," according to Variety. "Monroe is a delight...Yves Montand...gives a sock performance, full of heart and humour." Brendan Gill of The New Yorker wrote, "If playing the romantic lead in a picture as big and many-colored and empty as the Grand Canyon has left M. Montand unscathed, what wonders could he perform in a trifle, modestly written and directed?" Unfortunately, it was not to be. Montand's American film appearances were limited to big, empty films such as My Geisha (1962) with Shirley MacLaine, and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970) with Barbara Streisand. But he remained one of France's most beloved stars until his death in 1991. Let's Make Love was nominated for an Oscar® for scoring of a motion picture, but lost to Song Without End (1960). Producer: Jerry Wald Director: George Cukor Screenplay: Norman Krasna, Hal Kanter (additional material), Arthur Miller (uncredited) Cinematography: Daniel L. Fapp Editor: David Bretherton Costume Design: Dorothy Jeakins Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler, Gene Allen Music: Lionel Newman, songs by Cole Porter, Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen Principal Cast: Marilyn Monroe (Amanda Dell), Yves Montand (Jean-Marc Clement), Tony Randall (Alexander Coffman), Frankie Vaughan (Tony Danton), Wilfrid Hyde White (George Welch), David Burns, (Oliver Burton), Michael David (Dave Kerry), Mara Lynn (Lily Nyles), Dennis King, Jr. (Abe Miller), Joe Besser (Charlie Lamont). C-119m. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Arthur Miller (I) revised the script so that more emphasis was given to his wife, Marilyn Monroe. Gregory Peck, originally cast opposite Monroe, left the project, unhappy about the way his role and been diminished. He said the script was "now about as funny as pushing Grandma down the stairs in a wheelchair."

Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, 'Stewart, James' , and Yul Brynner all turned down the male lead. Yves Montand was cast after starring in Sorcieres de Salem, Les (1957), based on a play also written by Miller.

himself

himself

himself

Notes

The working title of this film was Billionaire. The picture opens with a prologue that traces the history of the "Clement" family. According to a November 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, Tommy Rall tested for a role, but he did not appear. According to studio publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, the project was initially conceived as a vehicle for Yul Brynner. When Brynner was not available, Gregory Peck was signed for the lead, but backed out because he thought the part was too slight. After the studio's attempt to hire Charlton Heston failed, Stephen Boyd tested for the role. According to a December 10, 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, Marilyn Monroe was intent on securing Rock Hudson as her co-star.
       Studio publicity noted that playwright Arthur Miller, Monroe's husband at the time, rewrote and expanded her role of "Amanda," although the extent of Miller's actual contribution to the film has not been determined. The Variety review listed the character played by Wilfrid Hyde White as "John Wales," but he is addressed as "George Wales" in the film. The production was halted due to a Screen Actors Guild strike, which ran from 7 March-April 18, 1960. Let's Make Love marked the motion picture debut of British pop star Frankie Vaughan and the American screen debut of French singing star and actor Yves Montand. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Scoring of a Musical Picture.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States September 1960

Released in United States Summer August 1960

CinemaScope

Released in United States Summer August 1960

Released in United States September 1960