‘Blondes’ in Chicago

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes will be screened at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center today at 6pm, and also on Tuesday, October 2nd, with an introduction by film scholar Fred Camper, as part of an ongoing series, ‘American Cinema of the 1950s’.

Nina Metz has reviewed this definitive musical comedy for the Chicago Tribune.

 “A blatant critique of materialism wrapped up in an iridescent bow, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes indulges in Hollywood musical glitz while also offering some not-so-subtle commentary.

‘The seeds of feminism were slowly taking root,’ Camper said. ‘Women’s roles were very traditional in films, but often critiqued within those films. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a good example of that because it’s a parody of those cliched, stereotypical views of women.’

On its face, the film wasn’t typically Howard Hawks’ style…The so-called Hawksian woman was your savvy tough-talker who could hold her own with the guys. That’s not exactly the setup in Blondes, but there’s no mistaking Russell’s nod to the Hawks archetype. She delivers her lines with a sharp self-possessed wit that stands in stark contrast to Monroe’s winningly dumb, cream puff of a performance.

We all lose our charms in the end, to quote from Monroe’s big number, but even a movie as garish as this one has a funny way of escaping the same fate.”

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