Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gene Marshall: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is one of my favorite movies from the Golden Age of Hollywood. A classic cast (Marilyn Monroe & Jane Russell), memorable songs (“Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend”), a light & breezy script (Charles Lederer, Joseph Fields, and Anita Loos) all boxed together in glorious Technicolor. What a treat! And it holds up very well some 45 years later. In this special edition, Gene is modeling one of Marilyn’s gowns, worn during a hilarious scene where her voluptuous curves get caught in a porthole window. It takes the quick-thinking of a pint-sized hero (played by George Winslow) to save her. I love his line to Marilyn here: “You've got a lot of animal magnetism!”

Jane and Marilyn never looked lovelier (I almost sound like Louella Parsons):

For this photo, I used a screen shot from the movie as the background. Looks like Piggy (played by Charles Coburn) is about to find Gene! From the storycard:

1955. It was the 20th anniversary of 20th Century Fox, and they were celebrating with a gigantic gala. All Hollywood was invited to attend, wearing a costume from any of the 20th Century Fox's many successful films to the gala event.

Monolithic arranged to borrow some prints of some of 20th Century Fox biggest hits so that their roster of stars could pick and choose their favorite 20th Century Fox costumes. There, in a private screening room on the Monolithic lot, Monolithic’s best and brightest huddled in the darkness, costume department personnel close at hand, eager to see which costumes would suit them best.

“Hmmmmmm,” thought Gene Marshall, as the rest of the viewers laughed as the beautiful Lorelei Lee ever-so-clumsily-on-purpose spilled her drink on her co-star’s suit in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” “That's my dress – sexy and smarter than anybody would guess – just like Lorelei! I could get away with that! I know what I prefer—thanks ever-so!”

And with that, she was off to the hairdresser’s to change her hair to a breathless shade of blonde…

As a side bonus, here are some costume tests of Marilyn herself wearing this outfit, designed by Travilla. You’ll note that there is no jacket in these photos, even though it appeared in the final movie.

A publicity shot with Gilbert Roland at the piano accompanying Marilyn & Jane Russell:

To see more Marilyn Monroe photos, visit my regular website.

To see more Gene Marshall photos, visit my regular website.

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