So, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a Howard Hawks joint…wait what? Howard Hawks did this? Howard Hawks, known for his westerns and screwball comedies, actually made two musicals in his career: Danny Kaye’s A Song is Born (not to be confused with Judy Garland’s A Star Is Born), and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. And, Netflix finally threw us a bone and put this one on streaming.
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell are two showgirls and inseparable friends who are out vixening each other on a cruise liner as they’re trying to marry their respective rich man of their dreams. Marilyn is engaged to a rich husband believing that marrying for money is the only way she can be financially secure. Jane, on the other hand, has a fetish for the hunks. One part screwball comedy, and one part musical, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is positively brimming with energy from start to finish. The most well known and infamous number is Marilyn Monroe’s Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend, where she dances around a stage with men offering her jewels while she sings about needing money in order to pay the rent because she’s getting old. Diamonds actually isn’t the materialistic number everybody poses it out to be, as Marilyn is ranting against the fickle nature of men having extramarital affairs that eat up a woman’s youth without actually committing. I’m sure there have been thinkpieces upon think pieces about that number.
The number I want to discuss is the Jane Russell’s number Ain’t There Anyone Here For Love, featuring an all-male Olympics team doing a bunch of exercises dressed only in a pair of flesh-toned short shorts while Jane walks around like she owns them. The men are only there for aesthetics, never actually singing, and sometimes not even moving as Russell leans up against their bodies. This girl want a man with big muscles and red corpuscles (yes, that is an actual rhyme from the song…sheesh), and found a jackpot at this gym. This woman was thirsty long before women were actually allowed to be thirsty.
Anyways, if you want a movie with women who actually are trying to get their men on their own terms (instead of a man trying to get a woman on his terms), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is actually not terrible. Yeah, there’s a lot of male gaze ogling of Monroe and Russell (the image of Marilyn Monroe stuck in a porthole while in a tight black dress is indelible), but damn these women know what they want and they aren’t afraid to go after it, even if it pisses off everybody else.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes streams on Netflix