Last night I watched “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, a classic comedy starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. I wasn’t really sure what to expect – part of me wondered whether the comedy would have been dated (it was released in 1953) or a bit wooden, or perhaps the acting wouldn’t be up to scratch… But I was quite wrong.
If you’ve never seen the movie, I’ll just outline the basic plot. Lorelei Lee (Monroe) and her best friend Dorothy Shaw (Russell) are part of a cabaret act. Lorelei is engaged to millionaire Gus Esmond (Tommy Noonan) and he sends her to Paris on a cruise to wait for him before they get married. However, Esmond’s father has hired private detective Malone (Elliot Reid) to keep an eye on Lorelei, who is a serial manhunter and gold-digger.
I think it’s because some of the issues and themes running through the movie are so relevant today that makes this a very fresh and vibrant film, even 57 years on! Today we’ve got people looking for sugar daddies and marrying for money, and Lorelei is the perfect embodiment of this kind of person – in some ways she’s quite smart. Even though Lorelei is the classic dity blonde, she’s clever enough to use her looks and charm to her own advantage and sometimes she says some impressive things that surprise certain characters.
Of course, the comedy is hilarious. Monroe’s humour is that of a silly blonde, so we laugh at most of her comments (“Excuse me, is this the way to Europe, France?”). Russell, the infinitely smarter and wiser of the two, pulls wise-cracks left right and centre, and the massive difference between the two produces brilliantly funny results. For me though the most funny parts are the rare moments when Henry Spofford III turns up. Lorelei has mistaken his name to be that of a man, but he is actually a boy of around eleven or twelve. The more adult nature of his lines and the voice that he uses instantly makes anything he says hilarious – when Lorelei gets stuck in a tight spot he says “All right. I’ll help you for two reasons. The first reason is that I’m too young to be sent to jail. The second reason is you got a lot of animal magnetism.” Classic.
What am I doing? I haven’t even got the musical numbers yet! Every one is brilliantly performed, instantly recognisible and have a wry sense of humour. Of course, this is probably the most famous:
All in all I was realy surprised by how much I enjoyed the film. I wasn’t expecting to laugh much at all but I was completely wrong to judge the film before I’d even seen it. Before watching this, I’d only seen Monroe in two films before, the classic “Some Like It Hot” and her last, dramatic role in “The Misfits”. She was brilliant in both, and after watching “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” I think Monroe had more to her than just a pretty face. If you haven’t already seen it then I recommend you try to: you won’t be disappointed!