CLASS OF ’53: GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES

This is the beginning of my semi-spontaneous series of films from the year 1953. I’ve selected nine (9) films to watch from the year of 1953 that I’ve never seen. I doubt I’ll blog about all of them but we’ll see what shakes out from this.

gentlemen-prefer-blondes

This may be my fourth/fifth film by Howard Hawks that I’m watching, it’s definitely my third film starring Marilyn Munroe and I’m starting to believe that both aren’t quite my cup of tea entirely.

Let me take that back. I’m wrong. Hawks has given me the whimsy of Only Angels Have Wings, the tenacity of His Girl Friday, the lunacy of Bringing Up Baby and the dark beauty of Rio Bravo. So why am I thinking that this might not work out? A 4 for 5 batting average ain’t bad (or so my baseball friends tell me).On the other hand seeing Marilyn in playing the famed dumb blonde that people satirize her for. It was insufferable.

There’s something to the dumb blonde though. And this is something I’m curious about with movies, the character keeps a point close to the chest as the film winds up. As she’s attacked for being dumb and money-grubbing in her pursuit of men and her general looseness she comes right back at these judging men. She makes it clear that the dumbness is all a ruse, it’s a way to disarm these men and make them more comfortable so she can have a relationship with someone she loves. The money-grubbing isn’t the primary but secondary desire of the love; and just a benefit. Just as a women being beautiful being a benefit to all of these attractions men have of women, but at times it can seem as though that’s all the man cares for.

So do I forgive a movie that had me suffer through all the ditsy blonde moments without this context and trying to brush it under in one simple expository moment? I’m not sure. I don’t think the film could have as heavy an effect with it’s point if it let me in on the brilliance of Munroe’s character’s intentions. For the entire movie I sat there judging her. Calling her a gold digger and in the same breath being lost in her beauty. It’s a weird thought.

More to the point I kind of want to take a minute to praise Jane Russell for her showing in this film. While Munroe’s ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ performance is the stand out as it relates to general spectacle and musical bombasticness, Russell’s character is what kept me in this film. For an actress with 31 credits over 50+ years she stole the show. I walked in looking forward to Munroe and walked out loving Russell.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes didn’t hit me as the essential that was promised, but it definitely left some thoughts on my mind as it left me.

It’s interesting to me that besides the mention of the famed song I barely talk about the music in this musical… hmmm.

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Author: Andrew Robinson

This is my blog. There are many others like it, but this one is mine. My blog is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my blog is useless. Without my blog, I am useless. I must fire my blog true. I will. Before God I swear this creed: my blog and myself are defenders of my mind, we are the masters of our enemy, we are the saviors of my life. So be it, until there is no enemy, but peace. Amen.

  • I can’t help but smile at the unintentional homoeroticism on display during “Is Anybody Here for Love?”

    This movie is a godsend.

    • Ye that song was pretty good as well… weird I didn’t think of it when typing this up.

  • Aw, this is one of my favorite movies – I never thought of the reveal that Lorelei is playing dumb as trying to brush her dumb blonde persona under the rug, but I guess you could read it that way. It’s been forever since I thought of Monroe’s persona as actually being dumb rather than playing dumb, so maybe it just didn’t occur to me. Of course, Russell is actually MVP here, though I love Monroe as well.

    • As long as we can all agree on the true MVP of the movie.

      Thanks for stopping by.