Monday, April 6, 2015

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is airing on TCM tonight at 8:00 PM as part of a night of movies starring Jane Russell. According to a search of the blog, I've never done a full-length post on it before, so now might be a good time to do it. I've said before that I'm not the biggest fan of musicals, but this is one where the plot is good enough to make the movie worth watchign. That, and it's actually got one or two interesting musical numbers.

Marilyn Monroe stars as Lorelei Lee, a nightclub singer who's engaged to Gus Esmond Jr. (Tommy Noonan). Lorelei is the sort of person who wants the finer things in life, and so has wanted to marry a rich guy like Gus. Gus' father, however, isn't so sure that it would be a good thing for his son to marry a chorus girl. So when Gus Jr. sends Lorelei and her best friend Dorothy Shaw (that's Jane Russell) to Paris on a transatlantic liner with a letter of credit, Dad hires the private detective Ernie Malone (Elliott Reed) to get the dirt on Lorelei. Dorothy, for her part, is there to try to prevent any dirt from happening.

The results are somewhat predictable. Needless to say there are a whole bunch of people on board interested in Lorelei and Dorothy. They're really more interested in Lorelei because Dorothy is more open about her desire for a millionaire: she wants one she can love first. Lorelei doesn't necessarily want to hurt men; she just wants those diamonds. So a whole bunch of people wind up portrayed as potentially upsetting Lorelei's relationship with Gus, chief among them being "Piggy", real name Sir Francis Beekman (Charles Coburn). He's got diamonds, but they're on a wife. The other predictable part is that Ernie the detective falls in love with Dorothy along the way to Paris, which is definitely going to complicate matters.

The ocean liner eventually makes it to Paris, and Gus Jr. has heard about what's gone on on the boat, so he's cancelled the letter of credit, leaving our two singers stranded without cash or a job. The job is easy to get, and as for the cash, there are still a bunch of millionaires around. But Gus shows up to try to reconcile with Lorelei, and Lady Beekman's jewels go missing with Lorelei and Dorothy being among the subjects....

As I said, the plot of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is predictable and nothing groundbreaking. But Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe are both quite entertaining in their portrayals of the two singers, making the movie entertaining if it were just a romantic comedy. It's a musical, though, and there are a couple of numbers of note. Everybody connects Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Monroe's performance of the song "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", which she does in a very pink scene. But there's another song to look out for, which Russell gets early on in the film. In "Anyone Here For Love?", Russell performs among the men of the US Olympic Team, who are on the ship on their way to the games. It's only the men, and I don't think any of them is wearing more than a pair of those skimpy shorts that people wore to do sports back in those days. No wonder there's a stereotype of musical theater being a haven for gay men.

The TCM Shop only seems to list one pricy, but big (15 films) box set available for purchase, while Amazon lists several DVD releases that all seem to be out of print.

No comments: