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USA 1953
Directed by
Howard Hawks
91 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Howard Hawks' only musical opens with a gaudily-staged duet between Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe as the "Two Girls from Little Rock" although until the classic Monroe song "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" the musical aspect of this reworking of a stage play based on Anita Loos' book of the same title is relatively incidental.

The film splits into two characters the single one of the book and Charles Lederer's script lacks the former's sly humour. The male-female stereotypes are pretty tiresome, particularly the 1950s typical male drooling over the lubricious female form, but Marilyn made her mark as the flirtatious gold-digger, Lorelei Lee, in her first lead role, even if in hindsight it all seems a little sad. The other main attraction of the film is Charles Coburn's turn as Sir Francis 'Piggy" Beekman with the scene in which he first encounters Lorelei, priceless. Jane Russell, under contract to the Howard Hughes-owned RKO, and a B grade regular best known for her chest size, appears in her most memorable film.

FYI: The scene in which Russell gets knocked into the water was an accident but was deemed the best take. There was a sequel of sorts, Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (d. Richard Dale, 1955) with Russell trying to be Marilyn (which she had already failed at in the original) and Jeanne Crain trying to be Russell.




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