Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

2008 #56
Howard Hawks | 87 mins | DVD | U

Gentlemen Prefer BlondesIt’s easy to see how Gentlemen Prefer Blondes helped launch Marilyn Monroe as a sex-symbol superstar — her ditzy, breathy blonde, who may just be cleverer than she looks, is clearly the star of the film.

For starters, she gets the lion’s share of the best bits. Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend has justifiably become a classic song and there’s a solid routine attached, but the rest of the musical numbers are disappointingly weak. Jane Russell does get her fair share of good lines, but the most memorable comedic moment is Monroe’s: climbing out of a window, she gets stuck halfway and has to enlist the help of a little boy — and a big coat — to pretend she’s standing outside in the cold. That last one makes more sense in context…

Frankly, it’s all a bit sillier than I expected, more in line with the likes of Texas Across the River and the Road to… series than my memories of Some Like It Hot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (I enjoyed both those examples), but it didn’t gel with my expectations of a film that’s got a greater reputation than they do.

I suspect said reputation is founded on Monroe’s career-making performance. I don’t have anything against her, but I’m not especially a fan either; yet despite my indifference she’s easily the best reason to watch this. Famously, when told she wasn’t the star of the film Monroe replied, “well whatever I am, I’m still the blonde.” The clue’s in the title, people.

3 out of 5

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is on More4 today, Monday 6th April 2015, at 12:45pm.

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