Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Jane Russell, I’m sorry that this is what we have to remember you by.

“Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is not a great film.  Marilyn Monroe is lovely.  Her performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” deserves to be remembered.  But we have to wait a very long time for that number, and after it’s over, the film might as well be over too.

From the flat opening song and dance routine, complete with silly hand movements and forgettable lyrics, through the cringe-inducing acrobatic number starring Jane and the Olympic team onboard the ocean liner, we keep hoping that the film will improve.  All those pointy breasts and awful hats.  Even in Paris their style doesn’t improve.  The nightclub where the two American girls perform is trashy, the whole Paris sequence with its leering Frenchmen and tarty showgirls is depressing.  Ugly Americans abroad might be a better title.

Marcel Dalio, what are you doing in this film?  Here’s the man who played in Renoir’s “Grand Illusion” and “Rules of the Game,” who played opposite Humphrey Bogart in “Casablanca” and “To Have and Have Not.”  In this film he plays a cartoonish magistrate in the scene where the Jane Russell character is pretending to be Marilyn Monroe’s character.  What a waste of talent!

(4 March 2011)