Let's Make Love (1960)
Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, not 16x9, Dolby Digital 2.0 (3.:03)
Featurette-Restoration Comparison (0:56)
|Year Of Production||1960|
|Running Time||113:43 (Case: 118)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (53:21)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||George Cukor|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 4.0 L-C-R-S (384Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Ah, the film that epitomises the secret wish of millions of men over the last fifty years - Let's Make Love. Her penultimate completed film also sees Marilyn Monroe doing more for woolly jumpers than any other person of the last century! Whilst the ravages of her tortured life were starting to show on the lady, she was still well capable of sizzling on celluloid and Let's Make Love is arguably the last time that she did this. Often parading around in little more than underwear, swimsuit and jumper, she remains as sensual here as she ever did, which is probably a good thing as it would be fair to say that much of this film is not of the highest quality. Whilst certainly enjoyable enough, it simply is not as taut as one would have expected; the story leaves something to be desired, and some of the casting is not exactly convincing. It is also fair to say that the musical numbers here are not exactly of the highest quality either, although the immortal Marilyn Monroe does attack them with gusto.
The film begins with a little rundown, a quite humorous one, of the Jean-Marc Cléments of history. This is a little introduction as to the wealth of the current Jean-Marc Clément (Yves Montand), as well as an explanation of the predilection of the lineage for beautiful women. Jean-Marc, aside from being a very wealthy man, happens to have a very strong eye for the ladies, an eye that has in the past caused some problems. These problems have resulted in his mentor/assistant John Wales (Wilfrid Hyde-White) having appointed to the firm a public relations man in the form of Alexander Coffman (Tony Randall). It is his job to basically keep Jean-Marc out of the papers. So when a news item appears in the entertainment trade rag Variety about an off-Broadway show in rehearsal that will be ridiculing famous people, including Jean-Marc Clément, naturally Alexander thinks it should be brought to the attention of the boss. Equally naturally (I told you this was not a great story) it is decided that Jean-Marc and Alexander will go down to watch a rehearsal just to prove that Jean-Marc is not really worried by what the show might lampoon him over. Their introduction to the show is Amanda Dell (Marilyn Monroe) doing the steamy number My Heart Belongs To Daddy by the equally immortal Cole Porter. Of course, the moment that Jean-Marc claps eyes on Amanda, he is besotted. Now the fun really begins. Turns out that today is the audition day for the Jean-Marc Clément role, and naturally enough Jean-Marc Clément wins it. Naturally enough, Amanda Dell does not like the public perception of the wealthy man, plus she seems to have a thing for her current leading man, Tony Danton (Frankie Vaughan). So how exactly is Jean-Marc going to win the lovely Amanda's hand in marriage, as he claims to John Wales? That little journey is broadly what the bulk of the film is about as John Wales and Jean-Marc Clément try to sway the lovely Amanda towards Jean-Marc, without actually revealing he is Jean-Marc. Of course, you don't need a cheap compass to see what direction this film is taking, but what the heck.
Whilst the film is billed as a musical comedy of sorts, it would be fair to say that it is not especially musical and not especially comedic. Indeed, the few places where this does get quite amusing is when Jean-Marc employs three greats of show business to teach him the ropes: Milton Berle (comedy obviously), Bing Crosby (singing obviously) and Gene Kelly (dancing we presume). Their cameos playing themselves are really some of the highlights of the film, especially that of the increasingly exasperated Milton Berle. Marilyn Monroe is not actually inspiring in the role, but that can be partially explained by the fact that this really was a contractual obligation film. Whilst not inspiring however, she still radiates that sensuality and tosses in the right sort of innocence and worldliness mix that makes the character believable enough. The main problem is that Yves Montand is not exactly convincing in any way. Whilst playing a Frenchman was obviously designed to cover the fact that his English pronunciation was not exactly the best, most of the time he seems to flounder around as if he has no idea what he is doing. That too may be deliberate in which case it was a seriously overstated, hammy performance that does not convince at all. If you look at the list of leading men who apparently turned down the role before he got it, you might get an inkling that the script was not being perceived with the highest regard. Thankfully Frankie Vaughan was somewhat more at home in his role, but then again all he was asked to do was play himself - a singer. Easy enough for a singer one guesses. The remaining two leading cast members are the highlights though, even with both roles being quite small. Tony Randall and Wilfrid Hyde-White are professionals and basically incapable of turning in rubbish performances, so we get good solid stuff from them that certainly balances out the weaker aspects of the casting.
Director George Cukor is of course better known for some truly wonderful films, foremost amongst them being My Fair Lady and contributions to Gone With The Wind. When you look at the wonderful direction of My Fair Lady, which barely has a weak moment in it, you do wonder how he turned in this effort. Okay, the script is not the best but even he should have been able to do something with the occasionally languid pace the film takes.
Overall, the film is not as bad as some critics have made out and it is a reasonably enjoyable way of whiling away a couple of hours. It is not exactly a high point in the career of Marilyn Monroe for sure, but the only way you could not get some enjoyment from this is by expecting something of the ilk of Laurence Olivier doing Hamlet. Whilst I would not be suggesting that this should be viewed before her really good films, there is certainly place in your viewing schedule for it. Besides, Marilyn is Marilyn after all, and she is always worthwhile watching.
Once again, the restoration job has been well done and there are broadly speaking few complaints here.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
So how few complaints are we talking about? Very few indeed, as my notes refer to only a couple of issues. In broad terms, this is a very nicely defined transfer with a high degree of sharpness, well in keeping with what we have come to expect from the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection. Definition could perhaps have been a little better here and there but that is a relatively minor quibble. Shadow detail is good and whilst grain is lightly evident here and there, the overall transfer is quite clear indeed. There is no low level noise in the transfer.
The colours here are well handled, although in one or two places where source material damage must have been very great, we could perhaps have wished for a little more depth to the colours. Whilst tending towards the more saturated end of the scale, there is no hint of oversaturation at all, and at times the transfer is quite vibrant. Like most films in the collection, there is no indication of colour bleed. Utilizing the Deluxe colour process, this is a smooth looking film.
There are no significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There are a few film-to-video artefacts, most notably aliasing - such as on the window sills at 5:12 and the shirt at 11:28. None of this is really that distracting. The restoration process has cleaned up the transfer very well and there are not really that many obvious film artefacts floating around the transfer. One noticeable example is at 51:21, but that is about the extent of the distracting efforts.
This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming mid-scene at 53:21. Whilst it is mid-scene, it is quite well handled and barely noticeable on my player (the only reason I noticed it was because my amp briefly switches from displaying Dolby Digital to Pro Logic as the sound format at a layer change).
There are eleven subtitle or titling options on the DVD. The English efforts sampled are good with only relatively minor dialogue omissions in general.
There are five soundtracks on the DVD, being the usual English Dolby Digital 4.0 soundtrack with a L-C-R-S configuration, a French Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, a German Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and a Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. I of course stuck with the English soundtrack.
The audio transfer is quite good and in general the vocals and dialogue come up well and are easy to understand. There does not appear to be any significant audio sync issues with the transfer.
The original music comes from Lionel Newman. Decent enough, but still overshadowed by the musical numbers a little too much.
Lacking any use of the low frequency channel, the overall soundscape, whilst quite frontal, is nonetheless quite a convincing effort. Certainly it has a bit more body and range to it than I was expecting.
|Surround Channel Use|
A fairly typical collection of extras, similar to most we have seen in the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection.
Fairly basic efforts, although reasonably decent looking and they are 16x9 enhanced.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is not 16x9 enhanced and comes with reasonable Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. The overriding impression is one of ever-present grain of a sizeable harvest.
After something like ten of these things, they do start to serve little purpose in the overall scheme of things, this one more so. Why? The comparisons here are firstly between the existing video master and the restored film elements (where the differences are obvious) and secondly between the restored film elements and the restored film elements. What? I can only presume that something was missed off the descriptions, because for the life of me I don't see why we need to compare restored film elements with restored film elements. The presentation starts out with the obligatory couple of pages of notes.
Twenty stills, a mixture of stills from the film and publicity shots.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As far as we can ascertain the Region 4 release misses out on:
The Region 1 version misses out on:
In broad terms there is again nothing significantly different between the two releases, so this is another comparison that ends up a draw on points.
Whilst not a highlight in the filmography of Marilyn Monroe, Let's Make Love is a better film than some critics would have you believe. Well up to the technical standards of the Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection, there is little reason to avoid this film.
|DVD||Denon DVD-1600, using S-Video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega (80cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|