Movie Review: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1953 musical starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell.

Synopsis: American showgirl Lorelei Lee is set to marry her wealthy fiance in France and travels by ship to Paris in advance with her best friend, Dorothy, because of a planned performance there. However, her fiance's father believes she is only after his son's money and hires a private detective to find incriminating evidence against her so the wedding will be called off.


I had seen bits and pieces of this movie before but had not had a chance to watch the entire film until last night. After doing so, I have to say this movie/musical was considerably better than I thought it was going to be.

When I started watching this and saw it was a comedy, I figured it would simply focus on the typical blonde jokes, keep things relatively simple and be very predictable. That, however, was not the case and, as it turns out, the movie was actually very well written.

One thing I really liked about this movie was the various twists and turns the two friends faced. Lorelei (Monroe) was obsessed with diamonds (for reasons she explains when she sings "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend") and that obsession made it relatively easy for the private investigator (Reid) to find incriminating (though inaccurate) evidence against her. And, as an added twist, results in a warrant being issued for her arrest.

At the same time, her best friend, Dorothy (Russell), while a bit more level headed than Lorelei, had her own problems. In particular, when she developed feelings for the private investigator, she essentially had to choose between him and her long-time friend. The results of that dilemma weren't unexpected. But, it did lead to some interesting moments, especially when she tries to protect her friend by taking her place in court.

What really impressed me about this movie was the way it managed to stay upbeat but, at the same time, drew some attention to the double standard women faced back in the 50s (and even, to some extent, today) in regards to how they chose men. Lorelei, for example, was judged because she believed she needed to marry rich in order to succeed. Yet, there were plenty of men, including a wealthy diamond-mine owner (Coburn) who were willing to try to take advantage of her. Both her song about why diamonds are important and her impassioned speech to her future father-in-law (Taylor Holmes) were pretty inspiring when put in that context.

Final Opinion

This is a very entertaining musical and comedy that has much more depth to it than I was expecting. If you have not watched this film, I do recommend taking the time to do so at least once.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 12/22/2015, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 03/08/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
The library system here has Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. So I intend to re-see it.

Would you happen to have rated among the most comedic elements the scene in which Monroe's or Russell's character is stuck in a window?

candy47 on 12/24/2015

I love those 'feel good' musicals from the 50's.

Mira on 12/24/2015

Thank you for the review. The cover art seems rather sassy for 1953 even though it's about showgirls.

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