Friday, September 2, 2011

Film | Gentlemen Marry Brunettes

A few weeks ago I started watching the 1955 film Gentlemen Marry Brunettes starring Jane Russell and Jeanne Crain on Netflix, but I was unable to finish it due to the fact that Netflix hates me. So I finally got around to finishing it last night. To be honest as I started watching the first 24 minutes or so, I wasn't sure how this picture was going to turn out. I went into it knowing the studio was trying to bank off of the success of 1953's Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but how could it be as good without the dynamic of Jane and Marilyn?

They definitely tried hard to give the same dynamic in the characters' personalities, but it just never quite seems to mesh well. You didn't even have the different in looks because Jane and Jeanne's looks were very similar, both sporting short brunette hair. I am pretty sure Jane was given the role to try to separate her from the stereotypical roles she had been given as the brassy strong willed women, but in this one I felt it was an extension of the jail scene in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. You know the scene where Dorothy is pretending to be Loreli with her soft voice and naive personality? That is what Jane's character is in this movie and I just couldn't buy it.

Now it may seem like I really didn't like this movie at all, but I did. It was a movie with a simple plot, beautiful Travilla costumes, and decent musical numbers. It was not one of those unbearable movies you must force yourself to watch, but it just tries to be something that it is not. Maybe that is my fault because I went in expecting Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 2.0. The film didn't help make me think otherwise either. The opening scene has Jane and Jeanne coming out of a curtain (ala Two Little Girls From Little Rock), show girls trying to make it in Paris, even the opening title song is similar to the previous film. I did enjoy the movie and would definitely watch it again, but maybe not as soon as I would watch it's much better predecessor.

I do have to talk about the costumes in this film because you can definitely tell they were designed by Travilla. There are some recycled designs from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and even How To Marry A Millionaire. Here are the things I noticed...

- Jane wears a green wrapped top like Marilyn does in the scene where she is caught with Pinkie
- Jeanne and Jane wear a costume dropped from GPB, it can be seen in some of the costume tests of Marilyn Monroe.
- Jeanne wears a silver version of Marilyn's gold lame gown
- Jane wears a similar costume that Marilyn wears on the plane in How To Marry A Millionaire. (the one that looks Egyptian?)

To be honest, this was one of my favorite things to do while watching the movie. After I seen the first couple of similarities... it was like a seek and find to locate others.

This was a delightful movie and great singing by the two girls and I would suggest it to anyone who is a fan of Jane Russell (the main reason I watched this film) or Jeanne Crain.

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