Resourceful Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall), spunky Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable), and ditsy Pola Debevoise (Marilyn Monroe) rent a luxurious Sutton Place penthouse from Freddie Denmark (David Wayne), who is avoiding the IRS by living in Europe. The women plan to use it to attract and marry millionaires.

When money is tight, Schatze pawns some of Freddie's furniture, without his knowledge of course; as winter approaches, the furnishings gradually vanish.

One day, Loco carries in some groceries, assisted by Tom Brookman (Cameron Mitchell) who is very interested in Schatze, but she knows from prior marital experience what he is — a "gas pump jockey" — and tries repeatedly to brush him off, without success. She has her sights on bigger game: the charming, classy widower J.D. Hanley (William Powell) whose worth is irreproachably large. All the while she's stalking the older J.D., Tom keeps after her. After every one of their dates, she tells him she never wants to see him again. She refuses to marry a poor man again.

Meanwhile, Loco becomes acquainted with a grumpy businessman, Waldo Brewster (Fred Clark). He's married, but she agrees to go with him to his "lodge" in Maine, mistakenly thinking she's going to meet a bunch of Elk’s Club members. When she learns the truth, she wants nothing to do with his plans. Unfortunately, she comes down with the measles and has to stay in the lodge until cured. She is nursed back to health with the help of a strapping young man named Eben (Rory Calhoun), who she thinks owns most of the surrounding land. She has no trouble transferring her affections to the handsome outdoorsman and they become engaged. When she finds out that he's just a forest ranger, guarding against fires on "his" land, she is very disappointed, but she loves him and is willing to overlook his financial shortcomings.

The third member of the group, Pola is hilariously nearsighted, but hates to wear her glasses where any man might see her. As she puts it, "Men aren't attentive to girls who wear glasses." (a takeoff of Dorothy Parker’s "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.") She falls for a phony Arab oil tycoon, not knowing he's really a crooked speculator. Luckily, when she takes a plane to meet him, she misreads an airport sign and ends up on the wrong plane. She sits next to a man, also wearing glasses, who thinks she's "quite a strudel" and encourages her to put hers on. It turns out that he is the mysterious Freddie Denmark; he is on his way to Kansas City to find the crooked accountant who got him into trouble with the IRS. He doesn't have much luck when he tracks the man down (he gets beaten up), but has much more success with Pola.

Loco, and Pola are reunited with Schatze just before her wedding. She finally managed to overcome J.D.'s qualms about their age difference. Tom shows up and is recognized by the groom. It turns out that Tom is by far the richer of the two men. J.D. has an inkling how things are going to turn out, so he is not too surprised when Schatze finds herself unable to go through with the wedding because she doesn't love him. J.D. leaves graciously and Schatze, against her better judgment, ends up marrying Tom.

Afterwards, the three happy couples end up at a greasy spoon dining on hamburgers. Tom breaks the news to Schatze that he is extremely wealthy, naming all the things he owns, but she thinks he's kidding. He then pays the bill, pulling out an enormous wad of money. The three women faint dead away. The men then drink a toast to their unconscious wives.

Oscar
1 Nomination
0 Awards

Golden Globes
0 Nominations
0 Awards
“How to Marry a Millionaire” is not often mentioned amongst the great films of its era. For the star of the film is not Bacall, Grable or even Monroe, it’s Cinemascope. The first romantic comedy to be filmed using the new expansive film medium, Fox executives concentrated on little else. It’s a shame, because with three fantastic leads it could have been a good old-fashioned screwball comedy.

However, with that said, I still believe it to be a great source of comedy from a wonderful cast. Lauren Bacall has always been one of my favorite actors, and she and William Powell do work wonderfully together.

With as many times as I have seen this move, I was really struck at the wonderful performance that Betty Grable turned in. She was perfect! With all the wonderful work I have seen in many of her films, “How To Marry A Millionaire” shows her to be a wonderful comedic actress, playing a "dim blonde" who really isn't that dim. What a talent!

Marilyn Monroe is always a delight - I think that she was a much better actress than she is generally given credit for, and with “How To Marry A Millionaire” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” it erases all doubt about her talents. (With the exception of “The Prince and the Showgirl” which she acts circles around Laurence Olivier!) This film is proof positive that Marilyn was a gifted comedian with impeccable timing- and not just another pretty face walking around on a luscious body. Marilyn is downright hilarious as the beautiful girl, who is too vain to wear glasses in public, but "blind as a bat" without them. Watching her character discretely grope her way through life and continuously bump into things, while retaining her dignity is a treat. While this movie may be a mere comic trifle, the film succeeds marvelously thanks to Marilyn and the film's other two leading ladies.