Film Review of Lets Make It Legal: A Husband Who Loves Gambling and Roses, an Old Flame Who Loves His High School Sweetheart and His Reputation, and a Wife Who Wants to be Number One
A wife asks her husband to choose between her and gambling. He cannot believe it when she divorces him for not choosing. Will roses and a secret strategy for winning her 20 years ago suffice to get the couple back together in “Let’s Make It Legal”?
Let’s Make It Legal is a comedy by writers I.A.L. Diamond and Frederick Hugh Herbert; producer Robert Bassler; and director Richard Sale. Responsibility for cinematography, editing, and music is by Lucien Ballard; Robert Fritch; and Cyril J. Mockridge and Lionel Newman. The filming location is Santa Monica’s Miramar Hotel.
The film is based upon “My Mother-in-Law, Miriam” by Mortimer Braus. It lasts 77 minutes. It premiered on October 31, 1951 in Los Angeles. It was released by 20th Century Fox on November 6, 1951.
The film begins with Hugh and Miriam Halsworth (Macdonald Carey and Claudette Colbert) fighting over Hugh’s roses. It is the last day of their 20-year marriage.
The house belongs to Miriam. It is home to daughter Barbara (Barbara Bates), son-in-law Jerry (Robert Wagner), and granddaughter Annabella (Joan Fisher). Everyone seems happy there except for Jerry, Hugh’s publicity assistant.
Victor Macfarland (Zachary Scott) checks into Hugh’s hotel. He dates to Hugh’s high school years, when both sought Miriam’s love. He expects to be appointed U.S. representative to an international financial conference.
Jerry encourages Victor to contact Miriam. He hopes for Miriam’s and Victor’s marriage. He and Barbara then will have to buy their own home.
But Miriam begrudges Victor suddenly leaving town 20 years earlier. She gets angry when Victor sends flowers. She gets angry with Hugh for gambling. It makes no difference that this time he wins, with the horse Annabella.
Hugh bets that Victor will not marry Miriam. He lets Victor know that Miriam is a grandmother. But Victor proposes after Miriam agrees to date but not to any overnight stays.
Miriam and Victor arrange to marry before Victor’s appearance at a confirmation hearing. Victor cancels the wedding when he must report immediately to D.C. At the airport, he explains his departure 20 years previously. He tells Miriam to avoid scandal.
Miriam calls Hugh and threatens to destroy his roses. Hugh comes over drunk with Jerry, who is separated from Barbara and staying in Hugh’s hotel. They get arrested for trespassing while removing the roses. Barbara and Miriam post bail. The incident turns into the hottest news.
Victor asks to postpone the marriage until his appointment. Miriam breaks the engagement. Hugh displays the loaded dice which he used in the crap game for Miriam’s love 20 years ago.
The film ends with Hugh’s and Miriam’s reconciliation.
Let’s Make It Legal is an entertaining comedy which includes Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) as Joyce Mannering, Victor’s most beautiful and persistent admirer.
Copyright: Saturday, August 11, 2012 by Derdriu