After the film has been underway about 12 minutes, the screen goes suddenly dark (the scene is rehearsal of an off-Broadway show) and a lone spotlight picks up Marilyn Monroe wearing black tights and a sloppy wool sweater. She announces, with appropriate musical orchestration, that her name is Lolita and that she isn’t allowed to play (pause) with boys (pause) because her heart belongs to daddy [words and music by Cole Porter].
This not only launches the first of a series of elegantly designed [by Jack Cole] production numbers and marks one of the great star entrances ever made on the screen, but is typical of the entire film – which has taken something not too original (the Cinderella theme) and dressed it up like new.
Monroe, of course, is a sheer delight in the tailor-made role of an off-Broadway actress who wants to better herself intellectually (she is going to night school to study geography), but she also has a uniquely talented co-star in Yves Montand. Latter gives a sock performance, full of both heart and humour, as the richest man in the world who wants to find a woman who’ll love him for himself alone.
Whenever the story threatens to intrude with tedium, there’s a knockout Cole Porter musical number.
1960: Nomination: Best Scoring of a Musical Picture