Director: Howard Hawks
Original Release: 1953
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Even before there was a stage play, there was a novel, written by Anita Loos and published in the Jazz Age, 1925. The sexual politics aren't exactly progressive but Dorothy and Lorelei are no fools, either. In fact, the women in the story run rings around the fellas from beginning to end. The dialogue is frequently very funny indeed and Jane Russell sparkles. For better or for worse, Marilyn is Marilyn. Her acting never quite lives up to the writing but she doesn't ruin it either. And my goodness, could that woman wear a dress!
The film had a budget of over $2 million, a lot of money in 1953. Surely, at least half of it was spent on costumes. How two struggling showgirls could afford so many high-fashion gowns is beyond me but the dresses are truly the highlight of the movie. Kudos to designer Travilla.
The music's fun, too. All of the songs from the Broadway show, including "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," were penned by Jule Styne and Leo Robin. New songs were supplied by Hoagy Carmichael and Harold Adamson. In yet another stage-to-screen controversy, many were upset that Carol Channing was not cast as Lorelei but I think history has afforded Ms. Channing her due. I would bet that for many people, it's Monroe we see singing "Diamonds" in our mind's eye but more often, it is Channing we hear. Thanks to YouTube, we can have both. (Credit the omnipresent Marni Nixon with an assist on Marilyn's. Her voice was dubbed in for the tricky spots.)
A twofer from Channing:
My Rating System:
5 = The best of the best. These are the films by which I judge other films.
4 = High quality films which I feel could hold up well in repeated viewings.
3 = The vast majority of films. They're fine. Once was enough.
2 = I wasn't even sure I wanted to finish it. It's not a 1 because I'm not prepared to say it's a terrible film - just not my cup of tea.
1 = A terrible film. An insult to the art form.