Movie Monday: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953


As a child, I loved watching glamorous Hollywood musicals, and performing my favorite song and dance numbers with girlfriends in our driveway. I wonder what the neighbors thought? About a year ago, I decided to revisit the classic Marilyn and Jane movie (I've been a long-time fan of Jane Russell!), but sadly felt a little let down by all of the fluff. So I gave up about twenty-minutes in. I'm not sure if I just wasn't in the right mood, but after watching some Jane Russell clips on Youtube last week, I thought I'd give it another go. And I'm so glad that I did!

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Lorelei (Monroe) and Dorothy (Russell) are best friends and coworkers- dancing on stages and nightclubs around the world, and breaking hearts wherever they go. Lorelei is always watchful for possible diamond gifters, while Dorothy's ideal man has a cute face, can keep up with witty banter, and can show her a fun time. But things get serious when Lorelei snags a millionaire fiance, and Dorothy takes it upon herself to make sure her friend doesn't mess things up this time. It proves to be a difficult task when a private detective follows the girls to see how loyal the beautiful, blonde fiance really is.

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At first glance, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes might appear to be an escapist musical comedy with all of the glitter, costumes, and diamonds that we love from the '50s. And I'm sure it can be that way for most of the viewers. I, however, look at this movie as sort of a satirical view of current cultural norms from when this movie was made. Some norms don't change as much as we think, but I suppose as a culture, we do expect more of women in the brains department than we did in the '50s. The point of this film is that women and men are similar in the way they objectify one another and place expectations and fantasies on the shoulders of someone of the opposite sex. Is Marilyn's character really brainless and ditzy? No, she isn't. And it isn't revealed until the end. And is she justified in her gold-digger tactics? Certainly not- but she has proven her point that the opposite sexes are more equal than they seem.


13 Responses

  1. I LOVE this movie! My grandmother & I used to watch it together all the time when I was younger! Great choice.
    Savannah Marie

  2. I do have a soft spot in my heart for this film. Thanks for putting it back on my need to watch radar. :D You have such good taste!

  3. Zoe says:

    A while a go i got to see a little of it but switched off cause it was half way through. You have now prompted me to watch it all.

  4. *Swoon* is there anything more luminously glamorous than those two, in those red dresses? I haven’t actually watched the film in a while, but you’ve made me want to revisit it with my now-slightly-more-mature eyes. I recently re-watched Doris Day in ‘The Thrill of it All’ recently a film we completely loved as children – and was completely shocked by the take-home message!

  5. Gwyneth says:

    This is one of my favourites! I can watch it over and over. All of the outfits are sublime, and it’s just such a lovely way to spend an hour or so in a little Marilyn and Jane bubble!

  6. Stephanie says:

    This is one of my favorite movies! I love how they objectify the men just as much as the men objectify them. Plus Marilyn is hilarious the whole way through. Great write up

  7. Rochelle New says:

    This is seriously one of my all time favorite movies!

  8. kate says:

    I just picked up a whole bunch of TCM movies and have been all over the 50’s musical! Nothing like a little look back to lighten up the day!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I just saw this for the first time recently. I was shocked at how brainless the character acted and how willingly the men went along with it. I found that off-putting, but really liked Dorothy. But you’re right, her speech at the end really turned a lot of the show on it’s head. And it’s hard to beat the costumes!

  10. Courteney says:

    I love this movie! (I love Jane Russels black and white/yellow lined coat as well. I’ve been trying to find a pattern to make one like it).
    I would assume you’ve seen How to Marry a Millionaire as well? That’s another one of my favourite Marilyn movies.

  11. Mandi says:

    Courtney, I would love a jacket like that too! Maybe you could try designing a pattern based off of another pattern?
    Also, in case you are interested, here’s the post I did a couple of years ago on How to Marry a Millionaire:

  12. Jessica R says:

    Love this movie!! So glad you did a review of it!

  13. thursday says:

    This movie has such a special place in my heart. It sparked my life long love of Marilyn. As an adolescent girl I was crazy obsessed with her. I amassed a massive collection of biographies, photo books, VHS tapes, posters and other paraphernalia. I’ve watched this film enough times to know all the words. I even went so far as to memorize each movement from the Diamonds routine. Even now I’ll turn this movie on if I’m having a sick day. There’s something so perfect about the colours and music in this; I always feel at least a little bit better as the credits roll.
    Thanks so much for this happy reminder and possibly introducing it to a few new people. ?