Title: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Language: English, French
Genre: Musical, Comedy
Director: Howard Hawks
Cinematography: Harry J. Wild
Recently I have been caught in the web of Marilyn fever, after MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (2011) and the season finale of SMASH (even Uma Thurman could pull off a slender doppelgänger Marilyn), I decide watch this musical/burlesque to quench my thirst and hope to know more about her, the mysterious actress whose shallowness is rather not compatible with our requirement of an eternal icon (after her two more prominent flicks, SOME LIKE IT HOT 1959 and THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH 1957).
The film pairs a soft kitten Marilyn with a pointed Jane Russell, to counterpart not only the hair color, also conceive two precious opposite temperaments between them, and they’re indeed BFFs to each other (at least in the film they claim to be). In this Howard Hawk’s vaudeville, with the help of Russell, the showgirl comfort zone is the haven for Monroe to perform right on her own track and never mitigates its plain entertaining function, given that one could forget about the tacky script (one unexplained plot hole, how the detective fathom the whereabouts of the tiara?).
As a musical, the film’s highlight is no doubt the classic musical numbers, an extravagant DIAMONDS ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND, a faintly saccharine WHEN LOVE GOES WRONG and a stunning open track A LITTLE GIRL FROM LITTLE ROCK.
While adamantly preaching the equality between women’s beauty and men’s money, the film could barely survive under the circumstance now, but these two actresses should not take the blame and on the contrary, it is their persistent endeavor makes the film still watchable after almost 60 years.
Marilyn is never a versatile player, all her films I have watched so far have strenuously concocted her image as a blonde slightly dumb but with a genuine naiveness beneath her luscious body, even she is a fervent gold digger, her portrayal emits a sort of realness which could arouse rather a ghost of empathy than contempt. So what will be the next Marilyn’s movie for me? Any suggestion?