Lorelei Lee: A Hawksian Woman

Kathleen Murphy‘s essay, ‘Balls of Fire: Women in the Films of Howard Hawks’, posted today at Parallax View, includes a paragraph on Gentlemen Prefer Blondes:

‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes posits Russell and Monroe as Hawksian comrades-in-arms, professional practitioners of extreme sexual style in a world of impotent nebbishes and nerds. Critic Molly Haskell likened this charismatic duo to a pair of ace gunfighters. Given the state of manhood in this surreal, primary-colored movie (the musclebound Olympic team won’t give Russell so much as a glance as she bumps and grinds her way through “Anyone Here for Love?”), the girls’ only worthy mates are each other.’

Murphy also mentions Marilyn’s earlier role in Monkey Business:

‘This is another comic quest for equilibrium: a scientist and his wife are trapped in roles that make for a sexless, sterile marriage. Treating perpetually distracted professor-hubby Grant as though he were a retarded child, Rogers comes off as a no-nonsense mama rather than a desirable mate. When an ape accidentally discovers a formula for restoring youth, the two backtrack into cathartic adolescence and childhood—with sex-object Marilyn Monroe and lecherous old coot Charles Coburn as funhouse mirrors reflecting out-of-whack libido. As usual in Hawksian comedy, there are moments of something very like true horror, as when Rogers cradles the infant she believes her husband has become, literally.’

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