Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) Movie Poster

Trivia for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

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  • The "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" number was later re-shot in CinemaScope, to be used as part of a CinemaScope demonstration held on the Fox lot in March of 1953. Producer Darryl F. Zanuck told "Daily Variety" that it only took 3-1/2 hours to shoot the number in CinemaScope versus four days for the original film version. The public finally saw the CinemaScope version ten years later when it closed Fox's documentary tribute to Marilyn Monroe: Marilyn (1963),
  • The story was based on an ocean voyage to Europe that Anita Loos took on the same boat taking the US Olympic Team.
  • Marilyn Monroe wears a gold lame' evening dress previously worn by Ginger Rogers in Dreamboat (1952).
  • In the "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?" sequence, Jane Russell's fall into the pool was an accident. When Howard Hawks saw the dailies, he kept it in the film.
  • Marilyn Monroe reportedly suggested the line "I can be smart when it's important, but most men don't like it."
  • When told she was not the star of the film, Marilyn was quoted as saying: "Well whatever I am, I'm still the blonde."
  • According to Marni Nixon, the studio initially wanted Marilyn Monroe's entire voice dubbed, as they thought her voice was silly. Nixon thought that was "awful", as she felt Monroe's voice suited her persona so beautifully. Nixon told The New York Times in March 2007 that she ended up only dubbing the operatic "no, no, nos" at the beginning of the song and the phrase "these rocks don't lose their shape".
  • Marilyn Monroe kept insisting on retakes despite approval of takes by director Howard Hawks. When Fox asked Hawks how production could be sped up he retorted: "three wonderful ideas: Replace Marilyn, rewrite the script and make it shorter, and get a new director."
  • At least one other number was shot, then cut. In the original theatrical trailer, Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe were shown among dancers, climbing the steps of a slide in a children's playground. The song was a French version of "Two Little Girls from Little Rock". Marilyn and Jane wear the costumes when Tommy Noonan corners them backstage in the French nightclub.
  • For this film Gwen Verdon coached stars Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe in both their dance and walk - Monroe with less sex, Russell with more. It's rumored that at one point in the film, Verdon dubs both Monroe's and Russell's swaying bottoms.
  • The ship model shown is the one used previously in Titanic (1953) and was refurbished to resemble the SS Ile de France, which is clearly named in the film. The model (2009) resides in the Marine Museum in Fall River, Massachusetts. Some of the ocean liner sets used were also left over from "Titanic".
  • Judy Holliday turned down the role of Lorelei Lee because she felt no actress other than Carol Channing (who played the part on Broadway) should be cast.
  • This was Jane Russell's one & only film with Marilyn Monroe. They got along well. Russell called Monroe "Blondl," according to her 1985 autobiography, and was often the only person on the set who could coax Monroe out of her trailer to begin the day's filming.
  • Originally bought by Fox as a vehicle for Betty Grable. After the success of Niagara (1953) (which featured Marilyn Monroe), however, the studio believed they had a more potent and far less expensive sex symbol than Grable (who was earning around $150,000 per picture vs. Monroe's $18,000).
  • A song written for Marilyn Monroe to perform in this picture, "Down Boy" (music by Hoagy Carmichael, lyrics by Harold Adamson), was rejected, but later sung and danced by Betty Grable in Three for the Show (1955).
  • In her very last interview, (10 years after making "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,") Marilyn Monroe recalls the lack of respect studio execs had for her, but makes a point of mentioning co-star, Jane Russell: "I remember when I got the part in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Jane Russell, she was the brunette in it and I was the blond. She got $200,000 for it, and I got my $500 a week, but that to me was, you know, considerable. She by the way, was quite wonderful to me."
  • The teaming of Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe proved to be so successful, critically and commercially, that Fox wanted to re-team the duo. A December 1954 item in the Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column indicated that the studio wanted Russell and Monroe to star in the film How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955). Monroe passed on the project because she didn't like the script. In January 1955, the studio cast Sheree North as Curly (the part intended for Monroe) and Betty Grable as "Stormy Tornado" (originally intended for Russell).
  • The play "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" opened at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 1949 and ran for 740 performances starring Carol Channing. The original play of the same name opened in 1928 and ran 128 performances.
  • Though the film was a 20th Century-Fox production, the original soundtrack album was released on MGM Records - the first time MGM's record label released a soundtrack album from a film MGM hadn't produced.
  • The song "Bye, Bye Baby", featured in this film was recorded by numerous singers in the 1950s and was on the music charts for more than six weeks.
  • It has been reported that, in preparation for her role as Lorelei, Marilyn Monroe attended the Broadway production of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" starring Carol Channing every night for over a month. This is untrue, as the stage version closed in September 1951, at which point Monroe was still toiling at Fox in low budget black-and-white programmers. In fact, studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck had purchased the screen rights of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) for its reigning musical star Betty Grable; it wasn't until Zanuck screened the rushes of Niagara (1953), Monroe's first starring vehicle in Technicolor, that he cast her in the role of Lorelei.
  • For the "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" musical number, Marilyn Monroe was originally going to be dressed in nothing but bands of black velvet and masses of rhinestones, creating the illusion of a woman-sized diamond necklace. However, this design was deemed too revealing and vetoed by the studio in favor of the now iconic pink dress.
  • Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
  • The role of Lorelei Lee was given to Marilyn on her 26th birthday(June 1, 1952) while she was filming Niagara(1953).
  • During a story conference for this film with Darryl F. Zanuck, director Howard Hawks suggested to Zanuck that the studio change Marilyn's look and screen persona a bit, so that Marilyn would be more of an actress and less of a blonde bombshell type. The results in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes made Marilyn a massively huge film star in the 1950s and early 1960s.
  • One of the male dancers in the 'Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend' number is an uncredited George Chakiris. 8 years later, He would appear in West Side Story and win Best Supporting Actor at the 34th Academy Awards.
  • Jane Russell made two movies in 1953 involving an ocean liner trip to France. "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds" was one, the other was "The French Line", which co-starred Joyce MacKenzie. Joyce MacKenzie and Marilyn Monroe were both chorus girls in the movie "Ticket to Tomahawk" three years earlier.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
  • Another uncredited chorus boy in the 'Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend' number is Robert Fuller, who, six years later, became one of the stars of the western TV series, Laramie (1959) as the former gunslinger, Jess Harper.
  • The vintage Citroën taxi cab in which Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell go on their shopping spree of Paris fashion houses is the same one Don Ameche drove while romancing Claudette Colbert in the 1939 comedy classic Midnight (1939), given a "facelift" by the 20th Century-Fox prop department.
  • The diamond tiara that Marilyn Monroe is falsely accused of stealing in this film was later worn by Patricia Medina as the "evil queen" in Snow White and the Three Stooges.
  • Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck had originally assumed the need to dub the singing voices of Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe until musical director Lionel Newman famously stitched together a vocal rendition of their opening number from multiple takes. As a back-up plan, an alternate set of recordings was made with Eileen Wilson dubbing Russell's voice, which can still be heard on several Monroe tribute albums. In the end, both ladies sang for themselves, and Russell went on to release an album of songs on the MGM label. Following the success of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), the notion of dubbing either actress' voice never resurfaced, and Jane Russell would go on to a very successful run on Broadway as Elaine Stritch's replacement in the show "Company" in 1971.
  • Included among the American Film Institute's 2000 list of the 500 movies nominated for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies.
  • In France the film was released without the song&dance number at the bar in downtown Paris, because Monroe and Russel are dancing with a few young boys of North-African descent, which at the time was deemed inappropriate by French authorities.
  • The film was a rarity: a Hollywood version of a hit Broadway show that bowdlerized the stage score yet ended up improving on the original. Indeed, only three songs were retained from the stage production, but the quality of those songs -- "A Little Girl from Little Rock," "Bye Bye Baby" and "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" -- is head and shoulders above any others in the score, while the two numbers that were interpolated for the screen version by another songwriting team -- "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?" and "When Love Goes Wrong" -- are both bona fide showstoppers. In all, there are only five numbers in the film -- each of which remain iconic-- as opposed to nineteen in the stage show, sixteen of which have been largely forgotten.
  • Choreographer Jack Cole had been devising stage movement for non-dancing female stars in Hollywood since the mid-1940s, accenting glamorous hand, arm and hip movements within basic dance steps to camouflage his leading ladies' lack of ability. Cole reached his zenith with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Faced with two stars who had no dancing experience whatsoever, he was determined to showcase them to their best advantage. Cole accomplished this by doubling and tripling the amount of isolations per beat, which meant that Russell and Monroe were actually performing a challenging series of steps in each of their numbers, made even more so by the necessity of their executing the steps, turns and arm gestures in absolute unison, which they did brilliantly. In the end, the choreography Cole devised was as intricate as a bona fide dance number. Jane Russell was so impressed by the results that she hired Cole as choreographer for Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955), the companion piece that Russell financed two years later. True to form, Cole concocted dynamic, humorous movement duets for Russell and her co-star, Jeanne Crain.
  • Much of the film's success was due to the distinctive sense of humor director Howard Hawks brought to the project, as well as a sharp and witty screenplay by Charles Lederer, who wisely bypassed much of the original stage script in favor of dialogue and situations tailored specifically to the strengths of Jane Russell, Marilyn Monroe and Charles Coburn. Lederer also dramatically reimagined the character of Henry Spoffard III, originally written as Dorothy's love interest on stage and reconfigured as an eight-year-old boy on screen, played by George Winslow.
  • Choreographer Jack Cole was adamant that Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) should be the only blonde apparent in the production number "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." The showgirls on the chandeliers are all brunettes or redheads, and the men flanking Monroe are all grayed at the temples. Rather than forcing the ladies of the ensemble to dye their hair, Cole affixed black netting around all of their faces that attached to their flowered headdresses in back, so that all of them appeared dark-haired on screen.
  • At the finish of "A Little Girl From Little Rock," Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe grab ahold of the back curtains and charge the footlights, which involves scaling two small flights of stairs in high heels. Upon close inspection, Russell can be seen eyeing the next flight of stairs at each plateau, while Monroe storms both flights without looking down once.
  • Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell spend much of this film walking, singing and dancing in absolute unison.
  • When Charles Lederer was adapting the stage production for the screen, his inspiration for the comic aspects of Lorelei Lee character played by Marilyn Monroe was his aunt, the silent-screen superstar Marion Davies.
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