Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is yet another musical (gosh, they seem to be never ending on this list) directed by the always versatile Howard Hawks and starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell in what seems to be a star vehicle for the two. I know it’s based on a stage musical that preceded them, but it still seems like the film was designed for these two leading ladies; I guess that’s how perfect they are in their roles – you can’t imagine anyone else playing the parts.
Marilyn Monroe is of course a cultural icon, and it is largely thanks to this film that many of her signature traits became widely popular and influential. Monroe’s breathy delivery gets grating after a while, but it is a truly iconic performance that due to its uniqueness manages to stand the test of time. Jane Russell is as much her equal in performance and stature as the poster would seem to represent, and the film indeed centers on the two women and their various personal madcap misadventures; Monroe being the rambunctious gold digger and Russell trying to rein her in while still having a good time herself. Both have their various foibles, which of course only serves to endear them to the audience.
The film has its moments, mostly comedic, and it’s when the characters aren’t singing that the film succeeds, which indeed runs contrary to the purpose of a musical, but also says much about the strength of the rest of the film. There are still plenty of musicals left on the list, but I hope they have some sort of special factor going for them that placed them on the list other than just being good musicals, because I am quickly tiring of more of the same. I can’t fault the film for this; as I mentioned, I was quite enjoying it when the characters weren’t singing, but I know the road ahead is going to be harder with each musical that comes my way.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10