Movie of the Week: ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953) – AHFW’s movie of the week travels back 67 years to celebrate Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell’s breezy romp “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, a film that offers a madcap platform for the ladies to showcase their comedic talents and sex appeal.  The plot follows a straight-forward, simple folly, but the picture works on all levels, and Monroe and Russell are at their very best.

Lorelei (Monroe) and Dorothy (Russell) work as a lounge/club act, and on stage, they exclaim – through song – that they are two girls from Little Rock.  From Little Rock or not, these two ladies know what they want.

Lorelei loves money and owns an affinity for diamonds.  She hopes to marry Gus Esmond Jr. (Tommy Noonan) – whose father is loaded with dough – but when the girls end up on a cruise ship heading for France, Lorelei befriends Sir Francis ‘Piggy‘ Beekman (Charles Coburn) – an elder millionaire – who just happens to own a diamond mine.  Dorothy recognizes the obvious: Lorelei is talented in handling men.

She even asks if Lorelei has “Novocaine in her lipstick.”

Dorothy is the more pragmatic one, but Lorelei insists her brunette buddy is dumb, because she always falls in love with some good-looking guy without any consideration of his financial standing.

As different as they are, Lorelei and Dorothy always support each other and enjoy their adventure across the ocean.  Monroe and Russell play up the bodacious blonde bombshell and quick-witted attractive thinker personas extremely well and stretch their vocal cords, including Monroe’s famous “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”.

The film’s title might be “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, but Monroe and Russell stand on equal footing, and director Howard Hawks’ movie bathes in overarching whimsical tones which speak to a more sentimental era, when love and romance almost always have happy endings.

Image credits: 20th Century Fox; Trailer credits: Marilyn Monroe Diamond

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