Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

List of Winners
Muriels HOF
Top 10 Lists
Rules and Regulations

(1953, directed by Howard Hawks)

- inducted 2019 –

“The 1953 comedy Gentleman Prefer Blondes begins with an explosion of music and Technicolor wonder as stars Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe sing ‘Two Little Girls from Little Rock’ while dressed in glittering red gowns. The pre-credit sequence promises joy and sexy fun and pure giddiness, and luckily the film, a Howard Hawks helmed adaptation of a 1949 Broadway hit starring Carol Channing, delivers. The rather nonsensical plot follows these showgirls on a cruise to Paris, zeroing in on their taste in men. The cynical Dorothy (Russell) likes them to be tall, good-looking, and handsome. What's in their wallet doesn't matter. Meanwhile, the more starry-eyed Lorelei (Monroe) is quite blunt about what makes her heart tick. She loves diamonds, and plenty of them.

“Throughout the movie, potential love interests appear: Lorelei's nerdy daddy's boy rich guy fiancÚ Gus (Tommy Noonan), a private investigator (Elliott Reid) who develops a thing for Dorothy, a wealthy older man nicknamed ‘Piggy’ (the priceless Charles Coburn) smitten with Lorelei, and a whole bunch of athletes who make up the US Male Olympics team on board the ship. But ultimately, what matters here, and what the movie work so well, is the chemistry between Russell and Monroe. They work beautifully together, developing a bouncy comical rapport that makes the viewer grin. Even as the story takes some creaky but still entertaining turns (a missing tiara, a young boy passing himself off as a worldly gentleman), Russell and Monroe command attention throughout.

“People most remember the musical numbers from the film, and for good reason--two of them are especially unforgettable. What's interesting to note is that there are only 5 songs in the movie. And only 3 (‘Two Little Girls from Little Rock,’ ‘Bye Bye Baby,’ and ‘Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend,’ written by Leo Robin and Jules Styne) are from the original song-heavy Broadway musical. Two of the songs (‘Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?’ and ‘When Love Goes Wrong,’ written by Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Adamson) were written for the movie. There is a long stretch between musical number #3 (‘Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?’) and #4 (‘When Love Goes Wrong’).

“In this regard, Gentleman Prefer Blondes reminds me of the 1944 classic Meet Me in St. Louis, another movie remembered for its music but not really containing many actual numbers. Thanks to Charles Lederer's witty, innuendo-heavy screenplay (up for a Writer's Guild of America award for Best Written Musical; it lost to the Leslie Caron vehicle Lili), the non-musical scenes crackle. Yet when those musical numbers happen, the movie soars to another level.

“Much has been written by ‘Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend,’ the transcendent Monroe number with the star in an iconic pink dress surrounded by suitors under her spell. Many stars have paid homage to this glorious sequence, with Madonna's clever ‘Material Girl’ video perhaps the most memorable. Equally fun and vibrant is Jane Russell's hilarious ‘Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?’ which has her playfully delivering sports-punny lyrics about needing some affection while the aforementioned stoic jocks, dressed in nothing but their flesh-colored briefs, perform impressive gymnastics routines around her. Oh, what naughtiness do they get away with here! Both songs capture the stars at their best, and represent their characters' POV about love. The other numbers are also quite good, and Russell's Dorothy, dressed as Monroe's Lorelei for a courtroom scene (love her Monroe impression), does a knockout ‘Diamonds’ herself in a reprise.

“Monroe and Russell are so good together, you wish that they too had a reprise. Another match-up. They make a great comic team. Alas, that never happened. A project fell through in 1954. But at least we have this sunny charmer with its subversive sexiness and lovely happy ending. The chameleon-like director Hawks (who could do comedy, gangster films, westerns), brought out the strengths of all involved, and delivered a memorable comedy with music that still stands the test of time.” ~ Brian Wilson

Principal cast: Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, George Winslow, Marcel Dalio, Taylor Holmes, Norman Varden, Howard Wendell, Steven Geray, with uncredited appearances by Harry Carey Jr., George Chakiris, Larry Kert, Noel Neill, Steve Reeves
Screenplay by Charles Lederer
Based on the musical comedy by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos
Produced by Sol C. Siegel
Director of photography: Harry J. Wild
Art direction by Lyle Wheeler, Joseph C. Wright
Set decoration by Claude Carpenter
Wardrobe director: Charles Le Maire
Gowns by Travilla
Film editing by Hugh S. Fowler
Music and lyrics by Jule Styne and Leo Robin
Orchestrators: Earle Hagen, Bernard Mayers, Herbert Spencer
Musical director: Lionel Newman
Vocal director: Eliot Daniel
Makeup by Ben Nye
Sound by Roger Herman, E. Clayton Ward
Special photographic effects by Ray Kellogg
Choreography by Jack Cole
Makeup artist, Miss Monroe: Allan Snyder (uncredited)
Original music by Leigh Harline, Lionel Newman, Hal Schaefer, Herbert W. Spencer (all uncredited)
Singer (high notes for Marilyn Monroe): Marni Nixon (uncredited)

Duration: 91 minutes
Languages: English, French
Filmed in color (Technicolor)
Sound mix: Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Cinematographic process: Spherical
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Printed film format: 35mm

Produced and released in USA by Twentieth Century Fox
Premiered in Atlantic City, New Jersey on July 1, 1953
USA release date: July 31, 1953

Awards and honors:
- WGA Awards, 1953 – Best Written American Musical (nominated)

Enter supporting content here