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Three Girls in a Room


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No, this is not something from the Playboy channel. This is about tonight's airing of How to Marry a Millionaire. The theme of three women sharing living quarters, more or less, and looking for husbands--preferably rich, has been employed many times. I believe it all goes back to an obscure 1932 movie called variously, The Greeks Had a Word for Them, or Three Broadway Girls. It concerned three former Ziegfeld girls/golddiggers who could be characterized as the original frienemies, because each are trying to get the advantage, at one time or another, of the other. It's a delightful, well written film with good performances by Joan Blondell, Madge Evans, and Ina Claire. Lowell Sherman also makes his usual urbane, sardonic appearance, and directs, as well. It's one of the few pre-code enforcement movies that has the courage of its proposition, and doesn't end up reaffirming societal norms. It gave birth to a number of offspring, increasingly, and then decreasingly, sanitized as the years passed, including:


Three Blind Mice (1938), with Loretta Young, Marjorie Weaver, and Pauline Moore


Moon Over Miami (1941) with Betty Grable, Carole Landis, and Charlotte Greenwood


How to Marry a Millionaire (1953) with, well you know.


Three Coins in the Fountain (1954) with Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, and Maggie McNamara


The Pleasure Seekers (1964) with Ann Margaret, Carol Linley, and Pamela Tiffin.



There is one other movie, Three Wise Girls (1932) which does not seem to be in the lineage, because according to IMDb, it actually came out a week or so before The Greeks. It stars Mae Clarke, Marie Prevost, and significantly Jean Harlow. Supposedly, Harlow was wanted by Sam Goldwyn for the lead in The Greeks, but was not loaned by Howard Hughes, who had her contract. But perhaps someone didn't mind using the idea to steal a march on Mr. Goldwyn, using the lady he wanted.

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