Saturday, June 15, 2013

She's No Dumb Blonde

Delivering her performance with a conspiratorial twinkle in her eye and impeccable comic timing, Marilyn Monroe gives the smartest portrayal of a dumb blonde ever captured on screen in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Her lush, startling beauty was in full bloom at age 27, and captured in vibrant technicolor. Friendly onscreen chemistry with Jane Russell (as adept as Monroe with a wisecrack and a song-and-dance number), brisk direction by Howard Hawks, and able support of veteran character actors like Charles Coburn and Tommy Noonan helped make this the vehicle that launched Monroe into superstardom.

But her bosses at Twentieth Century Fox were determined to keep her down. Monroe asked for a raise of her $1,250-a-week salary upon learning that Russell was being paid $100,000 for the same film. They refused.  "Remember, you're not a star yet," they scolded her.

"Well," she told them pointedly, "whatever I am, I am the blonde!" 

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