Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
I can honestly say that watching "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" was some of the most unfiltered fun I've had, watching a movie in a long time. As far as leading ladies go from the time period that Marilyn Monroe is from, I'm more prone to watch movies with Audrey Hepburn as the lead. I confess, I had only seen one film before this that had Miss Monroe as the lead—"Some Like it Hot". I loved her in that film and was thinking that the charm that she had in the gender bending comedy might have been a one-hit wonder...I'm not sure why.
Lorelei Lee (Monroe) is a gold digger, there's no other way to put it. She likes money, jewelry and men with both. She thinks that love can only be built upon the foundations of wealth and she plans her marriage accordingly. Swearing that she'll only marry a man if he has money, she sets out to convince her best friend, Dorothy Shaw (a remarkable Jane Russell) of the same thing. Now, Lorelei has already found 'love', she's engaged to a man named Gus Esmond who is head-over-heels with her but maybe the feeling isn't reciprocated.
Dorothy can be swayed by whatever handsome man walks into the room. If Lorelei is in it for the money, Dorothy is in it for the looks. But Dorothy thinks that money shouldn't be a part of love and here the viewer is supposed to agree with her, which I did.
Esmond's father doesn't like the idea of him marrying Lorelei so he constantly nags his son. Lorelei decides to go to Europe so that Gus's father can't bother them there and if Gus doesn't come she'll make him so jealous that he'll have to come and get her and then they can elope. At least, that's the plan.
But the father has hired a private detective to tail Lorelei to see if she's as 'loose' as her reputation says she is.
Monroe plays a very ignorant and money loving showgirl who can't help but be seduced by big glowing gemstones. At one point she imagines a large diamond hovering over a man's head and it makes her weak at the knees. But as funny as she is in this movie, which is very funny at times, Jane Russell outshines her in every scene. Even in the musical numbers, Russell has a more powerful voice, far outdoing Monroe's famous husky sustain.
But Monroe is hilarious in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and her character has the best lines in the movie, such as "I can be smart when it's important" and "I want you to find happiness and stop having fun." This is also the film that sees her singing the iconic song "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend".
It's one of the best musicals I've seen and definitely one of the best comedies from this era of film. I like that the director, Howard Hawks, chooses to have his two lead girls be such powerful figures in the film. They are strong and they don't sugarcoat their opinions. One number has Dorothy singing in a gym full of men exercising, about how she'd like to be in a relationship. The men dance in the typical female fashion in the number, clearly reversing the stereotypical roles.
Fun, fast, sultry, and loud—"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" is a great amount of fun.
Score: 4 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones