Thursday, December 5, 2013

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

Gentlemen Prefer BlondesWhile it will never compete with the likes of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, GIGI, or MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, this 1953 confection is nonetheless a real charmer. Based on a popular Broadway show which was itself based on the famous novel by Anita Loos, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES tells the story of two cabaret performers--blonde bombshell Loreli Lee, who is determined to marry for money, and brunette beauty Dorothy Shaw, who prefers to marry for love. When Loreli's engagement to a millionaire's son goes awry, the two set sail for Europe, and comic complications ensue. The story is traditional fluff, pure and simple, and there is nothing in the least innovative or unexpected about the film as a whole--but it is all extremely, extremely well done.

The score is bright, including such tunes as the famous "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"--and all the musical numbers are cleverly staged and filmed. The overall look of the film is also eye popping: the ladies are dressed to perfection and the color cinematography is truly joyous. The script is full of comfortable wit, director Hawks keeps it moving at a nice clip, and the cast includes such enjoyable performers as Charles Coburn, Tommy Noonan, Norma Varden, and George Winslow. But what really makes the film memorable are Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, who simply sparkle with star quality and play their with roles in a twinkle-in-the-eye style.

Monroe and Russell have remarkable chemistry on screen, and although neither were really singers they each had enjoyable and very distinctive singing voices; their performances are so pleasantly amusing that you can't help but smile. Both also had a way with comedy, with Monroe offering her quintessential 'not so dumb blonde' and Russell matching her all the way as the wise-to-you brunette determined to keep Monroe out of trouble. And so well do they work together it is hard to pick a favorite between the two. Call it fluff, froth, foolish--but even jeweler Harry Winston couldn't refuse this good time, even at the risk of a diamond or two. Thoroughly enjoyable for any one still capable of a smile.

Arguably, along with the 'Seven Year Itch', this lighthearted 50's musical comedy is the most definitive 'Marilyn' film. In particular for her memorable 'Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend' number, so adorable in its (and her)innocent mocking self parody and brought to life again several decades later in Madonna's, 80's' Material Girl' Video.

This pairing of 'Monroe' and 'Russell' as two voluptuous show girls from 'Little Rock'" in search of fun and a man or two on their way to Paris aboard a cruise ship, is pure Hollywood sugar coated entertainment and escapism.

Marilyne is just so funny and cute as the wide eyed, but gold digging, 'Lorelei', the supposed 'Dumb Blonde' who knows what she wants however, and why. In suitable contrast Jane Russell plays 'Dorothy' the more serious, switched on and streetwise Brunette. Who on the other hand, lets her heart(rather than her bank acccount)rule her head when it comes to men and plays a kind of big sister role to her more naive, but materialistic focused compatriot.

Though it may be said that for the most part 'Russell' is somewhat eclipsed by the 'platinum' ultra luminous presence of the 'eternal woman-child' Ms Monroe. She undoubtedly brings a lot of energy to the role, and the camaraderie and chemistry they deliver as a pair contribute much to the films charm and success.

There are several very entertaining 'showgirl' type musical numbers throughout. But I confess I enjoy Marilyn's ditzy remarks, balanced by a her cunningly disguised 'knowingness' the most. Sooo cute when she refers to the ship's portals as 'round windows' and innocently tries on a diamond tiara around her neck. Then, at the end justifies and explains her money driven ways to her finance's contemtuous Father,in the most surprisingly clever way. Pure 'Marilyn' in all her pure, unique celluloid magic!

Buy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Now

A kiss on the hand

May be quite continental,

But diamonds are a girl's best friend.

A kiss may be grand

But it won't pay the rental

On your humble flat

Or help you at the automat.

Men grow cold

As girls grow old,

And we all lose our charms in the end.

But square-cut or pear-shaped,

These rocks don't loose their shape.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend.



Black Starr!

Frost Gorham!

Talk to me Harry Winston.

Tell me all about it!

There may come a time

When a lass needs a lawyer,

But diamonds are a girl's best friend.

There may come a time

When a hard-boiled employer

Thinks you're awful nice,

But get that ice or else no dice.

He's your guy

When stocks are high,

But beware when they start to descend.

It's then that those louses

Go back to their spouses.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes gave Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell the perfect opportunity to showcase their numerous talents. They sing beautiful numbers including "(We're Just) Two Little Girls From Little Rock;" "Bye Bye Baby;" "Ain't There Anyone Here For Love" and "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." When Marilyn and Jane dance to some of these numbers their beauty and talent strike the viewer as incredible. Tommy Noonan turns in a strong and convincing performance as Gus Esmond, the American man who wants to marry Lorelei, who is played by Marilyn Monroe. Charles Coburn and Norma Varden perform as Sir Francis 'Piggy' Beekman and Lady Beekman, super rich people who got their wealth from diamond mining in South Africa. The crisp, clear color reflects the hard work to restore this movie and the sound is excellent, too! Jule Styne and Leo Robin provide wonderful music and lyrics for the classic songs in this picture.

The film starts as Lorelei and her girlfriend Dorothy Shaw embark on a ship for France. Although Dorothy plans to chaperone Lorelei, Lorelei has different plans and soon Dorothy's quest for a man distracts her from overseeing Lorelei anyway. The ship carries a male Olympic relay team and they certainly attract Dorothy's attention. A cast of characters are also on board, the most notable of which are Sir Beekman, who longs for an affair with a younger woman. His wife, Lady Beekman, travels with him. These characters all together on the same ship prove to be the ultimate formula for high jinks on both the high seas and overseas! Lorelei and Dorothy proceed to sink their claws into rich men for their money. However, unbeknownst to Lorelei, her fiancé's father, Mr. Esmond, Sr., employs a detective onboard. The detective, Ernie Malone, must follow Lorelei and find evidence that she will be unfaithful to her fiancé Gus Esmond. Mr. Esmond, Sr. can then destroy all plans for the wedding of Lorelei and Gus. Gus's father believes that such a marriage would be unsuitable for his son.

The scenes in Paris offer stunning backdrops and a wonderful idea of what Paris looked like in the early 1950s. After a few ups and downs Lorelei and Dorothy unexpectedly appear to be in a lot of financial trouble and they get jobs in a show to make money. Lorelei performs the unforgettable song and dance number "Diamond's Are A Girl's Best Friend" with male back up dancers. However, things become even more complicated when Lorelei stands accused of stealing a tiara that belonged to Lady Beekman. Actually, Sir Beekman gave the tiara to Lorelei in a weak moment because he found her to be beautiful--too bad he never told Lady Beekman! Lorelei and Dorothy sing the beautiful number "When Love Goes Wrong (Nothing Goes Right)." The cops begin to nip at their heels and Lorelei--or someone quite like her--appears in court because Lady Beekman wants her tiara returned to her. The ensuing court scene boasts a comedic, campy quality to it. Awesome!

Do things work themselves out at the end of this picture? Well, folks, there are no spoilers here--watch this movie and see for yourselves!

Marilyn Monroe fans will thrill to this great picture and Jane Russell fans will enjoy it just as much. People who enjoy musical comedies will also like this picture.

Read Best Reviews of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Here

World weary after watching Ted Koppel's reading of the names of all the U. S. soldiers who have died in Iraq-at least those we have the names of-I needed a little Christmas in May and found it by watching again this little cotton candy movie. Based on the work by Anita Loos, directed by Howard Hawks and starring Mariyn Monroe and Jane Russell, GENTLEMAN PREFER BLONDES was just what the doctor ordered. With great musical numbers, hooty costumes-particularly those of Ms. Russell-and a plot as silly and inane as is humanly possible-can anyone be so dumb as to think that a diamond tiara goes around her neck-the film will convince you, if only temporarily, that the world is not going to hell tomorrow in a wheelbarrow. It's interesting to see how much movies got away with in the oppressive 50's as evidenced in the quite sexy number with Ms. Russell and the scantily clad males from the U. S. Olympic Team, her fellow travelers on the boat trip to Paris.

Ms. Russell is no slouch as a comedic actress and gets off some good one-liners here. And Ms. Monroe, though often imitated, will never be equalled for what she was, the epitome of the blonde bombshell. This movie is now over 50 years old and will remain a classic.

Want Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Discount?

This is probably one of my very favorite Marilyn Monroe movies; just the perfect mix of comedy, dance, music, and eye-popping Technicolor. The Blu-ray looks amazing; clear crisp picture with just the right amount of film grain to look natural. The details are fantastic, too; you can even see Marilyn's jewelry with great clarity. The sound works just fine for a movie of its age; it does appear that some separation was done with some of the sound effects (noticed during the ringing of the bell for "Bye Bye Baby" where it came from a rear speaker, but nothing that is going to blow you away. Just clear sound that highlights the vocals of Marilyn and Jane Russell perfectly. The one drawback are the extras; very few to speak of. A few Marilyn trailers (which promote other Fox Blu-ray releases) and a short Fox Movietone Newsreel showing Marilyn & Jane Russell putting their handprints in the cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater. No restoration comparison, no interviews, no deleted scenes, and no commentary. Pretty disappointing when considering what an icon Marilyn is, even today. The one other oddity is that on the back of the case, the photo of "Marilyn" from "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" doesn't even look like Marilyn; either it's another model or she is so heavily photoshopped that it just doesn't look like her. A minor quibble. At least Fox seemed to put their best foot forward on the quality of the picture and sound, which truly is the bottom line for this release. If you're not familiar with the story, here it is in a nutshell. Jane Russell (playing Dorothy) & Marilyn (as Lorelei) are two showgirls looking for love. Dorothy is single, and Lorelei is tied to a nerdy man (played perfectly by Tommy Noonan) worth millions. Unfortunately, her boyfriend's dad doesn't approve of the relationship. In order to make his heart grow fonder, Lorelei separates herself from her honey by taking a cruise with Dorothy. Unbeknownst to the girls, the dad has the two followed by a detective. Dorothy falls for the detective which throws a wrench into the whole proceedings.

A number of memorable musical numbers by Russell ("Anyone Here For Love?") and Monroe ("Diamonds"). These two make a great combo, as you can really feel a genuine friendship with their on-screen chemistry. Highly recommended as one of Marilyn's most entertaining movies!

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