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Let's Make it Legal (1951)

Claudette Colbert , Macdonald Carey , Richard Sale  |  NR |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Claudette Colbert, Macdonald Carey, Zachary Scott, Barbara Bates, Robert Wagner
  • Directors: Richard Sale
  • Writers: F. Hugh Herbert, I.A.L. Diamond, Mortimer Braus
  • Producers: Robert Bassler
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 20, 2004
  • Run Time: 77 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001FR55W
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,251 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Let's Make it Legal" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A still-gorgeous grandmother (Claudette Colbert) divorces her husband Hugh (Macdonald Carey) because he's a compulsive gambler. Their daughter (Barbara Bates) does all she can to get them back together, but problems arise when Victor (Zachary Scott), Mom's high school sweetheart-turned-millionaire, suddenly arrives in town. Even though a breathtaking beauty (Marilyn Monroe) is hot on his trail, Vic only has eyes for "Grandma"- driving ex-husband Hugh to the brink of comic insanity as he wages a wild and unforgettable battle to win his wife back.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love Triangle December 26, 2005
Let's Make it Legal is a film about a couple who are divorcing. The wife (Claudette Colbert) has decided that she has had enough of her husband's (MacDonald Carey) gambling and calls it quits. It is obvious that he still loves her and their grown daughter (Barbara Bates) does all she can to fix them up again. However, an old flame (Zachary Scott), now a well-known political figure, comes into town and practically sweeps the newly single wife off her feet, creating a stir in the family.

Although this film has been entered into the Marilyn Monroe collection and features her photo on the cover, this is one of her early roles and therefore she is hardly in the film. Her part is as a client of Carey. She performs the way a new actress would, slightly forced but undeniably sexily.

The real star of this film is Claudette Colbert, obviously older than she was in her prime but still quite beautiful. She plays her part confidently as the epitome of a desirable woman who takes care of her family with ease and still has time to do the things that make her happy.

Zachary Scott is attractive and somewhat reminiscent of Clark Gable, a co-star of Colbert's in several films. However, he does not have the same chemistry with her that Gable did.

MacDonald Carey, however, does. Even in the few scenes in which his character gets along with his former wife, sparks fly.

Barbara Bates is very beautiful as the daughter of the separated pair. She plays her part sympathetically as the new adult who cannot do anything for herself. She is appropriately childlike.

Overall, this film is better than one might expect. It is peppered with witty dialogue and a sweet plot. It is certainly no masterpiece, but it is a nice way to spend 76 minutes.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Movie from the Pre-TV Era March 16, 2004
By A Customer
Let's Make it Legal was an enjoyable movie from an era before the pervasiveness of television necessitated that movies be done on scales grand enough to compete with the small screen. This is just a simple little story with an impressive cast. Great for the Robert Wagner fan, as it was one of his first roles, and he is featured prominently. Claudette Colbert is great as always. And, to the reviewer who said we shouldn't watch it because Marilyn Monroe is only on screen for eight minutes, it should be remembered that not everyone is looking for Marilyn Monroe.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colbert delights in B-comedy charmer January 4, 2006
Claudette Colbert adds her special charms to LET'S MAKE IT LEGAL, a charming B-comedy from Twentieth Century-Fox, which also features Marilyn Monroe in one of her early "cheesecake cameo" roles.

Claudette Colbert plays Miriam, who is in the final stages of divorcing her gambling husband Hugh (Macdonald Carey). But Hugh wants to stay married and is willing to pull every trick in the book to ensure Miriam stays with him. Competition arrives in the form of Victor (Zachary Scott), Miriam's highschool sweetheart, a self-made millionaire who quickly begins wooing her all over again. It's going to be the battle to end all battles as Hugh and Victor go head-to-head in their efforts to win Miriam.

Barbara Bates and a young Robert Wagner co-star. Marilyn Monroe's role of Joyce, a client of Hugh's, is quite small, but Fox has issued this film and a few others as supplements to the `Marilyn Monroe Diamond Collection' box sets. Fans will enjoy it, but fans of Claudette Colbert will love it even more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lets Make It Legal September 12, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
What a delightful movie set in the time when couples still slept in separate single beds. The idea seems ritzy for that time period and so common place now. The cast is excellent. Marilyn Monroe has a very small part. You notice Marilyn and keep thinking about her even after the film is over. I have so enjoyed this movie and I hope you will too, but only if you like the older movies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
LET'S MAKE IT LEGAL is a brisk (77 mins.) romantic-triangle black-and-white dialog comedy from 1951. A middle-aged couple (Claudette Colbert, Macdonald Carey) are on the verge of divorce because of his gambling problem when a beau from high-school days (Zachary Scott), who since became a nationally prominent industrialist, shows up to woo Claudette, at which point the Macdonald Carey character redoubles his efforts to win her back.

The playing tone is bright and the players give their all. Although Colbert plays a premature grandmother, she is as warm and witty as ever. It was fun seeing Carey play a highly comedic role with a distinct physical component, and he certainly seemed to enjoy playing it. Zachary Scott (whom most moviegoers are more likely to remember as the decadent aristocrat Monte Beragon in 1945's MILDRED PIERCE) is a delightful study in narcissism: watch how the camera catches his unctuous face and bright lying eyes as he goes after his high-school sweetheart from over 20 years ago. Young contract players Barbara Bates and Robert Wagner play the divorcing couple's daughter and son-in-law who still live with the folks with their new baby, and fall into a war of nerves: she wants her folks to get back together while he is cheering for Scott's character.

And Marilyn? She was still only partway through her build-up phase, between the time she signed her second contract with 20th Century-Fox in 1950 following her brief comic turn in ALL ABOUT EVE, to the full-blown star of NIAGARA and GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES in 1953. As always, she holds the screen whenever she is on it, but her role here is quite brief, probably no more than ten minutes' playing time spread over several scenes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute fertilizer!
A leading candidate for worst ever movie. The characters played by the 5 leads, Colbert, Carey, Scott, Bates & Wagner are among the most moronic and repugnant ever assembled in one... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Ken Taylor (Manchester, England)
5.0 out of 5 stars This film is so much fun! If you like the old classic romantic...
This film is so much fun! If you like the old classic romantic comedies, you'll love Claudette Colbert and Macdonald Carey in this one. See a young Robert Wagner too. Read more
Published 28 days ago by VintageMovieLover
5.0 out of 5 stars a marilyn monroe picture
I always love watching marilyn exude her special charm and sex appeal while turning in a good performance and done very well too
Published 6 months ago by drusilla p.
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT CLASSIC
Though this film is riddled with 1950's ideology... "the way we never were" kind... it is charming and sweet, with a little humor and a terrific cast. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lira
4.0 out of 5 stars really enjoy
I had wanted this movie because I like Claudette Colbert and MacDonald Carey - but didn't for a while because I had read a bad review in one of my movie books - but it is very... Read more
Published 17 months ago by mystery enthusiast
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
I first saw this movie on TCM. I fell in love with it. Marilyn Monroe is her beautiful self. Had to have it in my DVD library. Thank you!
Published 20 months ago by Linda Nelson
3.0 out of 5 stars i.a.l. diamond drama on marriages and community life
I must commend the robert wagner commentary on this film,on darryl Zanuck and his influence on 20th and this film,and talk of the studio system,and tales of claudette colbert... Read more
Published on May 7, 2012 by Anthony Marinelli
3.0 out of 5 stars simple, yet very enjoyable
I enjoyed this movie very much. I was surprised at the amount of well-known stars. Cute and comical--they don't make movies so simply and yet enjoyable any more.
Published on December 31, 2010 by springbuck
3.0 out of 5 stars Claudette Colbert's Last Romantic Comedy
The final screen comedy of one of the cinema's greatest comediennes, Claudette Colbert, LET'S MAKE IT LEGAL is a predictable by the numbers effort that even an ever appealing and... Read more
Published on November 6, 2010 by Tee
4.0 out of 5 stars Cute movie
Great cast, but with the front cover having Marilyn Monroe, she should have been in the movie more than 5 minutes. Read more
Published on January 15, 2009 by Lisa C
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