Monday, 8 February 2016

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

This is the first Marilyn Monroe film I ever saw, when I watched nearly twenty years ago as part of a university course.  I was pleasantly surprised at the time by how much I enjoyed it.

I'm happy to report that I enjoyed it again on the re-watch.  Monroe and Jane Russell work very well together, with Russell playing the more intelligent but also more idealistic of the pair to Monroe's apparently-dumb-but-sometimes-wickedly-perceptive blonde bombshell.

Monroe is Lorelai Lee, a voluptuous showgirl (not the naughty type) who plans marriage to a wealthy young man named Gus ... the only thing is that Gus's father is really the one who holds the purse strings, and he has no time for this gold digger.  And make no mistake, wealth is most definitely a factor in Lorelai's calculations.  Her affection for Gus is genuine, but as she tells her best friend Dorothy "It's easier to love a man when you're not spending all your time worrying about money".  It's not for nothing that she later sings "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend".

It's refreshing to see a 1953 film deal frankly - if humorously - with the romantic needs and aspirations of women, rather than simply having them as an ornament for the man to collect.  There's even some some evidence of catering to the (heterosexual) female gaze, as exemplified by the musical number "Ain't there anyone here for love?"

The near flesh-coloured shorts are not an accident, I suspect

Now not everyone is going to like this film, not least because it is a musical, with all the song and dance interludes that entails.  But I at least found it a breezy, charming bit of fun with several laugh out loud moments.  Check it out if you want to see a female buddy movie and don't mind that the plot is more or less all about their romantic aspirations.

No comments:

Post a Comment