Oh to be wisecracking, lipsticked Jane Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes for just one day. As a tween I was fascinated (as most girls are) by the Marilyns and the Audreys of the silver screen, and I still do have a soft spot for the delicate Miss Monroe, recently revived by camptastic US series Smash. But from the first time I watched Gentlemen… it was Russell’s heart-shaped face, heavy-lidded, wide-set eyes and sarcastic drawl that elicited a lifelong girl crush. I recently downloaded the film to my iPad (it’s a go-to for flights with no on-board entertainment) and something about the current World Cup fever made me giggle thinking about the sequence below.
If you haven’t seen the movie – SEE IT – Russell’s character Dorothy accompanies Monroe’s Lorelei on a cruiser to Europe from America, and while the Blonde of the title is luring millionaires to their doom, she’s looking for a handsome good-for-nothing on the lower decks. It blows my mind that all people remember from this film is Monroe twittering Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend when Russell is in the picture. She is captivating throughout, cutting a tall, robust figure with killer outfits, scarlet lips and a quip for every occasion. She seems to have been equally sassy in real life, though infamous for her intensely conservative, Republican views in her later years.
This scene is the culmination of her frustration at realising that the whole toned and tanned US Olympic team is on board – but they train all day and go to bed at nine. In a city of blokes glued to a TV screen watching men kick an object around a field, sweat, shove and bite each other (as I understand it), sometimes a girl just wants a bit of romance. Guess I just have to wait for a hot private detective to come sniffing around – if it’s good enough for Jane…
Get your fix: three of the best Russell lines in GPB:
‘I like a man who can run faster than I can.’
‘Now let’s get this straight, Gus. The chaperone’s job is to see that nobody else has any fun. Nobody chaperones the chaperone. That’s why I’m so right for this job.’
‘Remember, honey, on your wedding day it’s all right to say “yes.”‘