The Celluloid Pantry: Food Fantasies and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

The Celluloid Pantry: Food Fantasies and How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)

Nora Maynard
Mar 27, 2007

What are you dreaming of?

In How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), three fortune-hunting models, Pola (Marilyn Monroe, right), Schatze (Lauren Bacall, left), and Loco (Betty Grable, center), pool their resources to rent out a swank, fully furnished Sutton Place apartment (at $1000/month!) in the hopes of snagging rich husbands.

Over a lunch of hot dogs and champagne, the three sit on the terrace and scheme. Loco, a salt-of-the-earth girl with a big appetite, thinks the fella from the deli was kind of cute, but Schatze quickly puts the kibosh on that idea. "The thing you've got to remember is this: that a gentleman you meet among the cold cuts is not as attractive as one you meet, say, in the mink department at Bergdorf's....Well, kids, where'll we eat tonight, Stork or 21?"

That night, the three women dream in a kind of cartoon shorthand that reveals their deepest desires. Schatze goes shopping with a wealthy Texas tycoon, Pola flies on the private jet of an oil magnate, who takes her to Arabia and showers her with jewels, and, lastly, Loco is shown licking her lips as she sleeps. Instead of an elaborate dream scenario with money and millionaires, we get a simple beauty shot of a hot dog on a plate with mustard and cold beer.

What kind of food are you dreaming of? For me, right now, on the East Coast at the end of a long winter, it's got to be tomatoes or strawberries still warm from the sun.

- Nora

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