In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Lorelei and Dorothy are best friends who couldn’t be more different. One is on the hunt for a rich husband and the other just wants to have fun with all the hunky fellas she can find. After Lorelei becomes engaged to a bumbling playboy, the duo make a transatlantic journey in the hopes that the father of Lorelei’s beau won’t get in the way if they’re all in Paris. Of course, the trip doesn’t go quite as planned for the girls as Dorothy’s tempted by a handsome stranger and Lorelei meets a man who’s swimming in diamonds.
Riotous is the best word for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell are laugh-out-loud funny as Lorelei and Dorothy. Between Monroe’s sugary/spacey delivery and Russell’s prowling, the duo dash through their misadventures with aplomb. The beaus in the film are entirely inconsequential because Dorothy and Lorelei’s relationship is so darling. The girls never compete for men (Dorothy likes them tall, dark, and handsome and Lorelei likes them rich) so they’re constantly trying to help each other come out on top. It was sweet to see such a wonderful female friendship at the center of such a wacky Rom-Com.
This dynamic duo’s most hilarious scene in the film occur around the midpoint when the girls are forced to steal back incriminating evidence from a beau. Monroe’s desperation escalates as she gets stuck in a porthole, attempts to roofie a private detective, and makes swift work of separating a man from his pants. Russell’s great in these scenes but Monroe’s comedic timing and physical comedy are flawless as her character uses her very specific wits to survive and thrive.
Russell’s best moments, meanwhile, come during the song and dance numbers. She has two particularly hilarious performances. In one, she delivers a spot on impersonation of Lorelei (going so far as shimmying to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” for a crowd) and in the other, she serenades a horde of Olympians dressed in nude-toned bathing suits. The latter is a sight to behold, and it’s genuinely a shame we don’t get scenes like that in films today.
Howard Hawk’s direction is, not surprisingly, fantastic. He brings the funny and gets the actors to perform it to perfection. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes quickly reminded me of how much I cackled watching his Cary Grant features when I was younger. It’s a shame I haven’t seen much more of his oeuvre. . .at least not yet.
If you’ve somehow missed watching Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (like me), absolutely give it a watch. It’s hysterical, filled with great female characters, and did I mention the Olympians in nude bathing suits?
If You Like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Also Check Out. . .
- Bringing Up Baby
- His Girl Friday
What are you favorite Classic Films?