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Elliott Reid, Jane Russell, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953)

Elliott Reid, Jane Russell, “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” (1953)
Movie Reviews

The 1953 film musical comedy, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," based on the popular stage musical, paired voluptuous actresses Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 – February 28, 2011) and Marilyn Monroe (June 1, 1926 – August 5, 1962) in the lead roles. Other members of the cast included Elliott Reid, Tommy Noonan, Charles Coburn, Norma Varden, and child actor George Winslow. The film was directed by Howard Hawks and Travilla designed the costumes. The film was a huge hit at the box office and received positive critical reviews. Monroe was given the part of gold-digging Lorelei Lee on her 26th birthday in 1952, while still filming "Niagara."

Synopsis, via IMDb:
Showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei’s fiancé, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.

Some film trivia, via IMDb:
The story was based on an ocean voyage to Europe that Anita Loos took on the same boat taking the US Olympic Team. Whichever ship she actually took, the liner that is mentioned in this film was the SS Ile de France. The famous liner was actually used in the film The Last Voyage (1960), but it has a more heroic place in history. It was the SS Ile de France that played a major role in the rescue of the passengers from the Italian liner Andrea Dorea in 1956, after the latter ship collided with the Swedish ship Stockholm off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. The SS Ile de France was decommissioned shortly before the filming of The Last Voyage (1960) in which she was partially sunk for several key scenes. When filming was completed, she was towed to the scrap docks.
 
The teaming of Russell and Monroe proved to be so successful, critically and commercially, that Fox wanted to re-team the duo. A December 1954 item in the Hollywood Reporter’s "Rambling Reporter" column indicated that the studio wanted Russell and Monroe to star in the film How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955). Monroe passed on the project because she didn’t like the script. In January 1955, the studio cast Sheree North as Curly (the part intended for Monroe) and Betty Grable as "Stormy Tornado" (originally intended for Russell).
 
For the "Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend" musical number, Monroe was originally going to be dressed in nothing but bands of black velvet and masses of rhinestones, creating the illusion of a woman-sized diamond necklace. However, this design was deemed too revealing and vetoed by the studio in favor of the now iconic pink dress.
 
During a story conference for this film with Darryl F. Zanuck, director Howard Hawks suggested to Zanuck that the studio change Marilyn’s look and screen persona a bit, so that Marilyn would be more of an actress and less of a blonde bombshell type. The results in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" made Marilyn a massively huge film star in the 1950s and early 1960s.
 
When told she was not the star of the film, Marilyn was quoted as saying: "Well whatever I am, I’m still the blonde."
 
The play "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" opened at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 1949 and ran for 740 performances starring Carol Channing. The original play of the same name opened in 1928 and ran 128 performances.

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