Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe

'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' is a musical comedy film made in 1953, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. The movie was adapted from the 1949 stage musical of the same name, starring Carol Channing, which was itself based on the famous 1925 novel by Anita Loos. A silent movie version, starring Ruth Taylor and Alice White had been made in 1928.

Typical of the 1950's, 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' is an acerbic comedy about gold digging, unafraid to mix sentimental dreams with brittle sarcasm, glamorous magic with a materialist sense of what a girl must do to get by - a set of merry contradictions immortalized in Monroe's oft-imitated number, "Diamonds are a Girl's best Friend."

The film tells the story of two showgirls and close friends - Lorelei Lee, the blonde bombshell played by Marilyn Monroe, who is determined to marry for money, and Dorothy Shaw, the beautiful brunette played by Jane Russell, who wants to marry for love.

When Loreli's engagement to a millionaire's son is ended, the two girls join a cruise to Europe, looking for love. They are followed by a private detective hired by the father of Lorelei's ex-fiancé and many comic complications ensue. There is a happy ending of course, as each girl finds love and they have a double wedding, walking down the aisle singing "Two Little Girls from Little Rock".

The story is traditional and thin and the film contains nothing unexpected or innovative, but the script is witty and director Howard Hawks keeps the action moving at a nice pace.

The cast is a strong one and includes such quality performers as Charles Coburn on peak form as Sir "Piggy", Tommy Noonan, Norma Varden, and George Winslow. But what really makes the film memorable is the appearance together of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, who simply take over and dazzle with star quality. They complement each other nicely and neither falls into the trap of overplaying her role at the expense of the other.

The musical numbers are bright and cleverly staged and add to the movie's sheer entertainment value. The big set-piece numbers are just fabulous with the highspot being Monroe's rendering of the famous "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend". All in all 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' is fabulous entertainment, a real musical comedy gem.

Main Cast

Marilyn Monroe ... Lorelei Lee
Jane Russell ... Dorothy Shaw
Charles Coburn ... Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman
Elliott Reid ... Ernie Malone
Tommy Noonan ... Gus Esmond
Taylor Holmes ... Mr. Esmond Sr.
Norma Varden ... Lady Beekman


Director ... Howard Hawks
Producer ... Sol C. Siegel
Screenplay ... Charles Lederer
Original Story ... Taken from novel by Anita Loos and play by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos
Music ... Hoagy Carmichael, Eliot Daniel, Lionel Newman
Cinematography ... Harry J. Wild
Format ... Color (Technicolor)
Distribution Company ... 20th Century Fox
Release date ... July 18, 1953
Running time ... 91 minutes

Academy Awards

No Nominations: