Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Hawks, 1953)
While this film musical offers many reasons for watching it, none top the terrific and influential production number “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” featuring Marilyn Monroe and a bevy of chorus boys, among them a young George Charkiris. Along with others, Madonna drew inspiration from it, down to Marylyn’s pink gown, the red set, and the chorus boys for her “Material Girl” video.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is pure cinematic confection, very bright, very colorful, in a way television, the revolutionary media competitor of the time, wouldn’t match for a decade, and not truly match until the advent of high definition broadcasting. It’s a typical gold-digger story line, with Marylyn as Lorelei Lee, who seeks rich men and pretty much sums up her philosophy in “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” and in her cagey pitch to father of her intended Esmond, Sr.
Interesting features include the handling of sex in some sparkling repartee that leaves the nitty-gritty details unsaid but also unmistakeable, the colorful though brief travelogue footage of Paris in the early 1950s, and the treatment of color. Those who enjoy watching color films from the various decades notice how reds, greens, golds, and the rest of the color wheel, differ depending on the time period. For instance, early 1950s red is a tone you don’t see these days, as is true with many other shades in films like this, as you can see for yourself in the trailer linked below.
If you’ve never seen the movie, treat yourself tonight. If you have, maybe it’s time to take another look. Take a minute to watch the trailer.