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  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
    • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
    • Runtime:91 min
    • Release Date:2014-09-22 00:05:26
    • Director: Howard Hawks
    • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Musical, Romance
    • Studio:
MOVIE REVIEW:Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Auhtor:

   

This very premise of this musical comedy seems like a joke in itself.
Here we have Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, two actresses whose
stardom was founded upon their physical assets rather than their actual
talent, cast side by side in one movie. It's as good as announcing that
this is first and foremost a picture about sex appeal. But it's not all
about exploiting the allure of these two women. One of the big jokes of
Anita Loos's story is the fact that Lorelei and Dorothy view themselves
view men in as just a cynical manner as many men viewed them. And
really the picture is just as much about eyeing up men as it as eyeing
up women.

And Monroe and Russell weren't quite the untalented bimbos their studio
promoters thought of them as. Russell can act after a fashion, with a
smooth performance that is true to her single-minded character.
Although Russell got top-billing and was paid far more, she clearly
knew the principal character was Monroe's, and she acknowledges this by
never trying to upstage her co-star. Monroe on the other hand works
feverishly at promoting her persona. Admittedly she has very little
range, but within that range she does considerable things, taking up
every conceivable angle to show off her allure. Neither of these women
were going to win any awards for their work here, but the point is they
both absolutely fit the bill for their characters, and not just in the
physical department.

For some reason, the production was handed to director Howard Hawks,
probably for his noted adeptness with comedy. Hawks keeps things
simple, allowing the cast long takes for the funnier routines to play
out, but he seems ill-at-ease with the musical format, with no sense of
flow or exaggeration. There's some great choreography though by an
uncredited Jack Cole, the finest example of which is probably the
turning of athletic training into dance for the "Ain't there anyone
here for Love?" number. Incidentally there is a rather glaring goof in
that routine, as when Russell walks between the two lines of men doing
knee-stretches, one of the guys on the left towards the back totally
fluffs the move. A chorus girl would never have got away with that, but
I guess none of the male production crew would admit they were paying
attention to all those men's bottoms! Perhaps the most notable thing
about Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is that it introduces (to the cinema at
least) several classic songs that have since become very familiar. The
liveliness and audacity of Jules Styne/Leo Robin numbers "Diamonds are
a Girl's Best Friend" and "Bye Bye Baby" are perfect the picture.
However the best tune for my money is Hoagy Carmichael's wonderfully
bluesy "When Love Goes Wrong, Nothing Goes Right". And although the
picture may take the form of an integrated musical (one of the
"bursting into song" kinds), the ostentatious splash of the songs seems
somewhat at odds with what is really a rather self-contained comedy.
I'm reminded a lot of the 30s non-integrated musicals in which the
numbers were speciality pieces for which the story took a break. It
seems that, with all the fuss over the two leads, the picture lost the
co-ordinated approach needed for a classic musical. Still, whether one
is after ear-candy, eye-candy or simply a few good gags, there are lots
of little treats here, putting Gentlemen Prefer Blondes squarely in the
category of good fun.

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This hilarious musical comedy with excellent production values,
glorious Technicolor and terrific dialog is well matched by the
effervescent casting and ideal characters. Deliciously 50s in style and
risqué antics, with Jane Russell's outrageous gym song/dance number and
Marilyn's unforgettable DIAMONDS' number GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES must
have been one of the most profitable and well attended films of the
decade (and beyond) worldwide. In a year that added THE BANDWAGON and
CINEMASCOPE and HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE, cinemas must have rocked
with delight and surprise at this clever level of new Hollywood. So
successful was GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES that it was remade at RKO as
THE FRENCH LINE and again by UA in 1955 as GENTLEMEN MARRY BRUNETTES
each time incredibly with Jane Russell. Each film is basically the
same: two showgirls get on an ocean liner and go to France. BLONDES
does have ridiculous storyline especially with Russell's incredulous
'falling in love' with her antagonist, but overall the delicious
hilarity of Monroe, the gasp-worthy costumes, and child actor George
Winslow (and the hand kissing scene) makes GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES a
DVD classic to treasure. The quality of the print as seen on my DVD
player is astounding, making the whole fruit salad more appetizing.
Teens today would love it and like SINGIN IN THE RAIN it should be a
family movie night staple.

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From the stunning opening number with the dazzling dresses in sparkling
red (eat your heart out Dorothy with your ruby red shoes!) the film is
absolutely wonderful. Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russel are the showgirls
and best friends who arrive in Paris for Lorelei's (Monroe) wedding. Of
course Lorelei likes diamonds and everything goes wrong.

This is true entertainment that is impossible to fault. The two female
leads are sublime, oozing sexuality and confidence, but especially in
Monroe's case, perfect comic timing. There are some hilarious moments
in this: when Lorelei gets stuck in the porthole and then pretends to
be enjoying the view-with the help Henry Spofford or there is the scene
where the girls get Ernie drunk and pour water over his trousers is
just brilliant. Another fine scene is where Dorothy pretends to be
Lorelei in court. In fact I laughed so much during this and when I
wasn't laughing I was smiling.

The film looks great in it's glorious technicolour which is even more
vivid in the array of costumes and make up: the outfits the girls sport
are so stunning it becomes a shame there aren't more costume changes.
Diamonds of course abound given more spectacle to the costumes. But
there's more to this than costumes and firstly that's the two leads.
Jane Russel and Marilyn Monroe are so perfect in these roles and Monroe
really is Monroe in this. Everything she is loved for is here, her
wonderful facial expressions with her subtle widening of her eyes or
pouting of her lips make watching her mesmerizing. Despite her
characters 'blondness' she is very clever and that we get to see that
and that she isn't dumb blond makes her more likable. Secondly there is
the fact that for a film in 1953, the film really does have women
firmly in the lead, in a strong and confident manner and one that, as I
said, oozes sexuality and more importantly from the women. Dorothy
flirts with the entire Olympic team and later sings and dances with
them as they train only in tan coloured briefs. Every time Lorelei
enters a room she turns heads and when she kisses her fiancé he vagues
out. But with all this the women are completely in control of actions
and not only are aware of the reactions to them, but also how to
control it. Empowerment? Of course.

This is a screwball comedy of course and so any notion of women's
empowerment is very underlying and perhaps back in 1953 it would have
gone more or less unnoticed. But at the end of it, this is about
entertainment and if this film doesn't entertain you, make you laugh
and make you leave you with a smile on your face with it's
deliciousness then you probably not go and see films.

More of my review at my site iheartfilms.weebly.com

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