Wednesday, January 21, 2015

288 of 1001 Movies: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

It was a random decision to finally watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and I didn't regret it. So far the 1940's had proven a strong time for movies, but the 1950's had a liveliness and upbeat nature that came out of the 40's. On top of that, the popularization of technicolor was taking flight, an it makes a film pop so amazingly. I'm a fan of technicolor. This movie provides some of the most memorable song movies of all time like, "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." Not only that but it has tons of memorable song and dance scenes, and the undertones definitely make it at least PG-13.

Summary: Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw are showgirls who have different perceptions about love. Lorelei believes you need to marry rich to be comfortable to focus on love, and Dorothy Shaw wants to find a passionate love despite the circumstances. Lorelei finds herself in trouble after she becomes engaged to Gus, a rich heir, and boards a cruise ship with a wealthy man who owns a diamond dynasty. The temptation lands her in trouble, and her friend Dorothy caught in an interesting triangle between a friend and possible love.

The movie stars Jane Russell as Dorothy, and Marilyn Monroe as Lorelei. I think the two actresses balance each other well. Russell has the charm of Katharine Hephburn. Unlike many movies at the time both sexes seem to mock and have fun with the stereotypes in the 50's culture, and even turn the tables while Dorothy's character admires the Olympic sports players who have boarded a ship with them.

The movie seems to make light of, while also giving thought to how women are known for marrying men with money, and men are known for marrying women who have looks. Dorothy's character wants in on known of that, but Lorelei is all about that.

The movie never becomes too deep, but it does analyze what has brought these characters to these conclusions as well. Lorelei only slightly indicates the hurt she has had in the past that makes her more reliant on diamonds and money for happiness than men, even though she seems to find a balance by the end.

What is most likable about the movie is how this seems to be a buddy comedy for women though. It's rare, especially for this era, to draw out women's friendships like this that will stick by each other as these two do. Many times we see women pitted against each other over men and vanity, but in this one they stick to one another.

By the end the movie calls out many double standards, and even ones that still exist today. It's impressive that Howard Hawkes has the range he does to direct the variety of movies he has brought to the screen.  While the topics have serious undertones, the movie itself always stays light. Some may like the fairy tale, and some may not, but considering this was the 50's it was set in, it's not exactly surprising. Regardless, this is at least a fun movie that catches the attention.

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