In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) en Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) are two showgirls and best friends. Lorelei leaves her wealthy fiancée Gus (Tommy Noonan) behind to go to Paris to perform with Dorothy. On the boat Lorelei and Dorothy get a lot of attention from men, including a private detective hired by Gus’ suspicious father….
Jane Russell – Dorothy Shaw
Marilyn Monroe – Lorelei Lee
Tommy Noonan – Gus Esmond Jr.
Charles Coburn – Sir Frances ‘Piggy’ Beekman
Elliot Reed – Ernie Malone
Norma Varden – Lady Beekman
George Winslow – Henry Spofford III
The original trailer of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:
– The film is based on a stage musical, which is based on a book from 1925 by Anita Loos entitled Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Illuminating Diary of a Professional Lady.
– This was the second film version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the first has been lost. It was made in 1928 and starred Ruth Taylor and Alice White.
– The movie was meant to be a vehicle for Betty Grable, who needed it to spice up her career. But Marilyn Monroe gained in popularity so quickly, Fox decided she was a younger and less expensive blonde bombshell.
– Although the press was hoping for a catfight, Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe got along very well. Marilyn would ask Jane advice about dating an athlete, Marilyn was dating Joe DiMaggio and Jane was married to quarterback Bob Waterfield, and Jane was often the only person that was able to get the notoriously insecure Marilyn out of her dressing room.
– Marilyn received considerably less money than established star Jane. Jane reportedly earned between $100,000 and $200,000 for her appearance, while Marilyn was under contract for $1,500 per week.
– Choreographer Jack Cole created the dance sequences and he and Marilyn proved to be such a great combination that they continued to work together on five more films.
– Jane Russell fell into the pool in the ‘Ain’t There Anyone Here For Love’ scene by accident, but the director thought it looked good and kept it in the film.
– Because Marilyn and Jane proved to be such a successful pairing, Fox wanted them to star in How To Be Very, Very Popular as well. But Marilyn did not like the script and it was later filmed with Betty Grable and Sheree North.
– A sequel was made, based on the book’s sequel, entitled Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. Jane Russell stars in this as well, but Marilyn was otherwise engaged. Therefore Jeanne Crain was cast. In Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, Jane and Jeanne play Dorothy Shaw’s daughters.
Best Written American Musical – Charles Lederer – WGA Award
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes remains an all time classic and is still a favorite amongst movie lovers around the world. It’s Hollywood at its best: the film adaption of a successful and fun musical, by iconic director Howard Hawks, starring two popular and talented actresses. The comedy and the dialogues remain sharp and sexy even after half a decade.
But even though the script, music and directing is of high standard, it is the chemistry between Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell that makes the film so appealing. Both actresses were in the prime of their careers and the film shows their talent and comedic timing at its best.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is not only a classic film, it is also the film that catapulted Marilyn Monroe into stardom. She illuminates the screen as Lorelei Lee and although she came to resent the ‘dumb blonde’ persona she was always associated with, she played Lorelei to perfection and made the character likable.
Choreographer Jack Cole deserves credit as well, as he is the force behind the sexy dance moves in songs like the iconic Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend.
Read more about Marilyn Monroe’s life.