How to Marry a Millionaire ★★½

The huge, vacant apartment inhabited by these soft-hearted manhunters is a fitting symbol: this is the first film shot in CinemaScope, and the capable but uninspired Negulesco shows off the possibilities of the format like it’s an empty house just put on the market. He sets up all these expansive canvases, from the vast penthouse to the snowy hills of the Maine countryside, but seems satisfied with merely showing off the size of the frame, rather than spatially utilizing it. Lateral movement or exploitation of the wide gulfs between the characters is negligible, except for the one shot where the three ladies converge in a triangular pattern upon the camera, growing into titanic goddesses as they draw near. The film’s entire half-assed approach is summed up by the pointless first scene - basically a four-minute overture slapped onto a frothy sex comedy - which sets a tone of empty grandiosity and wastes the entire screen by flatly plopping a 40 piece orchestra inside it, replete with Doric columns to fortify the scope.