Wow, what costumes!  When we first see Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, those glittering tomato red dresses they’re wearing assault the eye (in a good way).  And these are just the women to wear them!—so we are compelled to think.

Howard Hawks’s film is savory, one of the drollest and most attention-grabbing musicals of the ’50s.  In terms of personality and appeal Russell gives as good as she gets from Monroe, and Marilyn is more focused-on than in Niagara, also from ’53.  Though far from brilliantly sung, the songs are dandy.  “When Love Goes Wrong” is a ballad both bluesy and friendly.  “Bye Bye Baby” is a catchy pleasure.

A kiss on the hand might be quite Continental (as the movie’s song “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” puts it) but Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, with its setting abroad, isn’t Continental, really.  Rather it seems all-American.

Cover of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"

Cover of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes