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  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Year: 1953
Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, George Winslow, Marcel Dalio, Taylor Holmes, Norma Varden, Howard Wendell
Genre: Musical, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  8 (from 2 votes)
Review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, directed by the humungously talented Howard Hawks reunites a team of old friends from Monkey Business, which is a better film for my money, but then you’d have to prefer Ginger Rogers to Jane Russell to agree with me. There’s Charles Coburn leering over his paunch, the little kid with the gruff voice, and of course Marilyn Monroe.

The plot is simple: a couple of showgirls are on the hunt for men. The brunette wants a hunk, the blonde wants a millionaire. They sail to France, get embroiled in a series of unlikely shinanigins during the cruise, sing for their supper in Paris and finally having found the men of their dreams, get married in matching frocks. Fab, and so far so good.

But if there’s a problem with the film, and perhaps this is nit-picking... it’s Marilyn and her interpretation of Lorelei. The film is based on the novels of Anita Loos and in the books Lorelei Lee is vulgar, stupid, ignorant and utterly dedicated to her pursuit of filthy lucre. Her mis-use of language, her utter single-mindedness and her complete failure to understand the world echo Richmal Compton’s William, a classic comedy character. But Marilyn misses this, preferring to rely on her soft sugar-coated glamour and therefore failing to hit every joke square on the head.

Still, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes still leaves modern offerings like Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge absolutely standing at the starting line. The songs and dance routines are top notch, the frocks are everything they should be – glitzy, glam and vulgar as hell – the Olympic team working out in the gymnasium have become iconic in their own right, and Jane Russell’s rendition of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is a treat not to be missed.

So what are you waiting for?
Reviewer: Samantha David

 

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