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Friday, 22 June 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Star of the Month - Marilyn Monroe

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a 1952 musical comedy starring Marilyn Monroe as a blonde fortune hunter and Jane Russell as her flirty sidekick.

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell write their names
in cement...
The film is directed by Howard Hawks, and co-stars Charles Coburn, Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Taylor Holmes and Norma Varden. Keep your eyes open during the song "Bye Bye Baby" to see George Chakiris in the chorus.

...The finished product
Diamond-obssessed gold digging showgirl Lorelei Lee takes to the sea with her friend Dorothy Shaw. On the voyage she meets Sir Frances Beekman, wealthy diamond mogul whose wife happens to own a diamond tiara. To cut a long story short, the tiara is stolen with Lorelei becoming prime suspect.

The film is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, and includes three songs from the show: "Just Two Little Girls From Little Rock", "Bye, Bye Baby" and the immortal "Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend". Two new songs were written for the film: "Ain't There Anyone Here For Love?" and "When Love Goes Wrong, Nothing Goes Right".

At the premiere of 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' Marilyn and Jane pressed their hands and footprints into cement outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

The film received great reviews and grossed more than double its production costs. It was followed by a sequel in 1955, "Gentlemen Marry Brunettes", again starring Jane Russell - but sadly no Marilyn.

Diamonds are a girls best friend

Marilyn as Lorelei sings "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"
The film is memorable for Marilyn's sequence in a pink dress singing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend". The sequence has been recreated by many, most notably Madonna in her music video for "Material Girl" and Kylie Minogue's live performance at the Fox Studios Opening in Sydney.

YouTube videos for each of these performances are available below:

Marilyn Monroe - "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend"

Madonna - "Material Girl"

Kylie Minogue - Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Other inspiration

Jane Russell's sequence "Ain't There Anyone Here For Love" inspired Kylie Minogue's 'Whatever Kylie Wants Kylie Gets' sequence in her 2005 Showgirl Tour.

Jane Russell - "Ain't There Anyone Here For Love?"

Kylie Minogue - "Red Blooded Woman/Where The Wild Roses Grow" (live from Showgirl: The Greatest Hits Tour, 2005)

Other musical highlights

Song: "Bye Bye Baby" - Jane Russell & Marilyn Monroe

Song: "When Love Goes Wrong, Nothing Goes Right" - Jane Russell & Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn and Jane in a deleted scene from the film

Did you know...

  • Marilyn Monroe replaced Betty Gable, who was originally meant to star as Lorelei
  • Marilyn Monroe was payed a salary of only $18,000, while Jane Russell was paid more than $100,000

Closing remarks

Of all of Marilyn's films, this is my favourite! I have seen the film at least 20 times, and every time I watch it, I enjoy it more and more. I strongly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys musicals, or just a good laugh.

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