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   GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES (1953) 

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CAST
Marilyn Monroe
Jane Russell
Charles Coburn
Elliot Reid
Tommy Noonan
George Winslow
Taylor Holmes
Howard Wendell
Norma Varden

DIRECTED BY
Howard Hawks

PURCHASE


DVD



About Monroe




Time: 91 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Musical/Comedy/Romance


GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES is a funny, classy, sexy musical that shows exactly why Marilyn Monroe is still popular today. One can say that it features a classic Monroe performance...that of the dumb, sweet blonde. It may be true that Monroe's character isn't the smartest in the room, but she sure knows what she wants and she goes after it with ruthless ambition. This film plays to one of her strengths – screwball comedy. Monroe uses her assets well, playing her blatent sexiness for all its comic worth. She mines gold in her role as a diamond-loving showgirl looking for love and money. Her performance proves that a woman can be naive and still outsmart all the men in the room.

This may be a musical, but not in the traditional sense. Monroe and Russell play showgirls, so the singing and dancing mainly take place to show them in their line of work. There are several sequences outside the theater – Russell dancing with Olympic athletes by a pool and the pair singing outside a Paris cafe – but they help the story along and showcase the ample talents of the leads so I don't think anyone will complain all that much. In fact, the dance number by the pool is quite sexy and entertaining for men and women. These two little girls from Little Rock are well aware of their feminine wiles and use them to the hilt. They may be from the wrong side of the tracks, but there's not a man alive who wouldn't travel the extra distance to visit them there.

As a romantic comedy, the thrust of the picture is to get Lorelei (Monroe) and Dorothy (Russell) happily married. Lorelei already has her husband picked out, millionaire Gus Esmond (Noonan). They happen to be in love, but his father thinks she's just out to get their fortune. Lorelei sees no problem with marrying a man for his money, as it's just as easy to fall for a rich man as a poor one. Dorothy, on the other hand, seems to gravitate to the muscular poor men with no futures. On their cruise across the Atlantic, each woman makes it her job to look after the other – Dorothy to see that Lorelei doesn't do anything improper to anger Gus's father and Lorelei makes it her goal to find a suitable wealthy man for Dorothy.


"Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn't marry a girl just because she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help?"

Neither's plans go exactly well. Lorelei hooks up with Sir Francis Beekman, an elderly married aristocrat in charge of a diamond mine. She does nothing improper, she just can't resist the allure of a man with diamonds, which gets her into trouble not only with Gus, but the authorities as well. After being fixed up with a 7-year-old by Lorelei, Dorothy takes her love life into her own hands. She strikes up a "friendship" with Mr. Malone (Reid) only to discover that he's been spying on Lorelei for Mr. Esmond and his reports aren't good. When Dorothy discovers his true occupation, she cuts him out of her heart...or at least tries to. Due to a misunderstanding, the gals end up in Paris with no money and no place to stay. So they do what any good performer would, they join a show and sing for their supper. In the end, with a little help from her friend, Lorelei ends up with the man of her dreams. Dorothy doesn't do to badly either. At least for a little girl from Little Rock.

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES would have been just another forgettable musical if it weren't for the talent of Monroe and Russell and their director Howard Hawks. Though it could be perceived as fluffy, Hawks gives the film wit and zest through snappy dialogue and fabulous musical numbers. Monroe's classic song and dance routine to "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" is sexy, vibrant and fun. Monroe knows how to capture an audience and this sequence is proof positive of her star power, as is Russell's pool side romp. These are women to be reckoned with, though they never lose their femininity. Of course, how could they, wearing the wonderful outfits they do, with curves like that. Even though they're not the smartest gals on the block, Hawks makes sure they never lose respect. Monroe's argument about marriage, where she compares a rich man to a pretty girl, is not only funny, but amazingly well-put. This is a first-class film that will make you laugh and keep you humming for days.



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