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Howard Hawks
Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe, Charles Coburn
Writing Credits:
Charles Lederer

Showgirls Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw travel to Paris, pursued by a private detective hired by the suspicious father of Lorelei's fiancé, as well as a rich, enamored old man and many other doting admirers.

Rated NR

Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby 4.0
French DTS 5.1
Castilian Dolby 1.0
Italian Dolby 1.0
German DTS 51
Russian DTS 5.1
Czech Dolby 1.0
Thai Dolby 1.0
Turkish Dolby 1.0
Brazilian Portuguese
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 96 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 7/31/2012

• Newsreel
• Trailers


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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes [Blu-Ray] (1953)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 20, 2019)

1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was far from Marilyn Monroe’s first film, and it wasn’t even the initial hit in which she appeared. Marilyn had a small part in 1950’s All About Eve, a flick that won the Best Picture Oscar for that year.

However, based on a survey of her résumé, Blondes seems to be Marilyn’s first big success as a lead, and it was the one that firmly set her up as the legend we know today. Blondes also strongly set a pattern that Monroe would be unable to shake: the ditzy, greedy blonde bimbo.

In Blondes, Marilyn plays Lorelei Lee, a lounge singer engaged to Gus Esmond (Tommy Noonan), a wealthy but dull Daddy’s boy. It seems that Daddy is intent on stopping this union, so Gus ships Lorelei off to France where they can soon be wed.

Along to keep her dizzy friend’s excessive tendencies in check, Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) serves as Lorelei’s levelheaded singing partner and friend. She thinks Lorelei needs to find something other than money to love in a man, while Lorelei believes that Dorothy should become more materialistic.

Much of the film takes place on their boat cruise to France, where the two encounter a series of men and have a generally wild time before nasty reality sets in on the continent. Some snags interfere with Lorelei’s plans, and the duo need to set things right.

Movies like Blondes pretty much define the concept of light-hearted, escapist fare, and for that kind of flick, this becomes a fairly entertaining piece. One shouldn’t go into the film with great expectations, as they’ll likely be dashed.

At its heart, it’s a slick and frothy piece that pops a few tunes, provides a few laughs and goes on its merry way. Is there anything wrong with that?

Heavens, no! I have no objection to this sort of pleasant, insubstantial program. However, I couldn’t help but think that had Blondes not featured the world’s most legendary sex symbol, few people would remember it.

Still, there’s nothing wrong with the film, and Blondes keeps things loose enough to largely maintain my attention. As longtime readers know, I don’t care for musicals, so I definitely could have lived without this film’s various production numbers.

All of them look nicely flashy, but even the film’s famous rendition of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” leaves me cold, as I kept wishing I were watching the video for “Material Girl” instead. At least Blondes didn’t go overboard with the showtunes, so these don’t become a big distraction.

Ultimately, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes provides a slight but generally entertaining experience, though the movie has few genuine strengths. Its lead actresses are certainly adequate, and the supporting cast adds competent performances.

Director Howard Hawks moves the film along at an acceptable pace, and I find a few laughs along the way. Other than Lorelei’s creepy habit of referring to her boyfriend as “Daddy” and too many showtunes, I find few complaints. Blondes offers a dated tone and features a thin plot, but its charms make it a fairly fun piece.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus D

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes appears in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an exceptional visual presentation.

Sharpness worked well, with only a smidgen of softness on display. Those instances failed to make an impact, so the vast majority of the flick felt tight and precise.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to mar the presentation.

A Technicolor spectacular, the movie’s hues dazzled. The image came with a broad palette that consistently offered rich, vivid hues.

Blacks seemed deep and dense, while low-light shots became smooth and well-depicted. I found nothing about which to complain via this wonderful transfer.

While the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack didn’t live up to the highs of its picture, I thought it worked acceptably well for a program from this era. The soundfield showed modest spread throughout the movie.

In the front channels, I heard a little breadth to some effects, most of which operated in an ambient manner, and the music also demonstrated passable stereo imaging. Surround activity remained slight and really played little role in the affair.

The rear speakers added some atmosphere to the audio, but they essentially were not a factor. The 5.1 track adapted the original monaural - which also appears on the Blu-ray - and it didn’t reinvent the wheel, which was fine with me.

Audio quality seemed fine for its era. Speech could be a bit thin but the lines remained intelligible and lacked edginess.

Effects were a bit bland but they showed reasonable fidelity. Little low-end appeared but the various elements seemed acceptably clear and accurate.

Music remained fairly clean and crisp. Dynamics were nothing special, although the track occasionally featured some modest bass response that seemed good for the age of the material. Ultimately, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes offered an auditory experience that felt fairly solid for its age.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the DVD version? Audio showed a bit more range and scope, whereas visuals seemed tighter, smoother and more dynamic. This became a superior rendition of the film, particularly in regard to picture quality.

A few extras appear, and we locate a Moveietone Newsreel that lasts 50 seconds. We see Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell as they imprint the sidewalk cement in Hollywood. It’s a forgettable clip.

Trailers finish the disc. We get three ads for Blondes itself as well as promos for How to Marry a Millionaire, River of No Return, The Seven Year Itch and There’s No Business Like Show Business.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes doesn’t deserve consideration as a film classic, and it mainly stays memorable because of its legendary star, Marilyn Monroe. Nonetheless, it offers a moderately entertaining and winning piece. The Blu-ray brings excellent visuals and positive audio but it lacks much in terms of supplements. Expect a terrific release for a decent movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 4
4 3:
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