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Posted: August 6th, 2022

The Analysis of the Film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a 1953 musical comedy film directed by Howard Hawks, based on the novel of the same name by Anita Loos. The film stars Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell as two showgirls, Lorelei Lee and Dorothy Shaw, who embark on a transatlantic cruise to Paris. The film is a comedic and satirical take on the cultural stereotypes and gender roles of the time, and it has since become a classic of Hollywood cinema.
The film is notable for its depiction of the characters of Lorelei and Dorothy, who subvert traditional gender roles and expectations. Lorelei, played by Monroe, is a blonde bombshell who uses her beauty and charm to manipulate men for her own gain. She is portrayed as a modern, independent woman who is unafraid to use her sexuality to get what she wants. Dorothy, played by Russell, is a more down-to-earth and practical character who acts as a foil to Lorelei’s antics. Together, the two characters serve as a commentary on the societal pressures and expectations placed on women during the 1950s.
The film also addresses the theme of materialism, as the characters are constantly seeking wealth and luxury. Lorelei’s desire for diamonds serves as a metaphor for the American Dream and the cultural obsession with material wealth in the 1950s. The film also satirizes the upper-class society of the time, depicting them as shallow and superficial.
Moreso, noteworthy for its use of music and dance. The film features several iconic musical numbers, including “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Bye Bye Baby,” which have since become cultural touchstones. The choreography and costume design also contribute to the film’s overall aesthetic and add to the comedic tone.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes has been widely praised for its comedic timing, its performances, particularly Monroe’s and Russell’s, and its memorable musical numbers. The film was a box office success and is considered a classic of Hollywood cinema. The film’s legacy continues to be felt today, and it is considered a significant representation of the cultural attitudes and gender roles of the 1950s.

The Analysis of the Film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953
It was around the 1950s that popular culture began to shift some assumptions about American materialism and gender norms, resulting in a surge of unhappiness and rebellion against these social gatherings. While their husbands were fighting in World War II, the financial authority achieved by women enabled them to move beyond sabotage and find their own feminine identities, a process that continues today. Television was also rising in popularity, prompting women to take advantage of it to encourage Hollywood studios to experiment with fresh approaches in order to attract more people. The film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) was directed by Howard Hawks and depicted the shifting roles and preconceptions of women in society. The film’s stars, Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe, were both known for their sexy feminine representation in the public eye at the time of its release. A symbolized feminist issue is confirmed by both of the film’s female actors’ performances, in which their parts are ironic and challenging standardization, ultimately resulting in empathetic female identification. As a result, this paper examines the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in order to learn about gender politics, the concept of American consumerism, the male gaze, and female assertion and solidarity in order to understand more about these topics.
While simultaneously perverting and challenging the notion of the male gaze, the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes does so through the use of two female characters, Dorothy Shaw and Lorelei Lee, who utterly determine their power and influence over men. The determining masculine gaze projects its desire onto the female figure, which is dressed in a manner consistent with the film’s style. The traditional exhibitionist role of feminists is one in which they are both presented and looked at at the same time, with their appearance implicit for powerful erotic and visual impact. As a result, their physical appearance symbolizes the desire of women to be noticed by others. Simply put, the male gaze, a look for anxiety and want that contributes to the glamorization of female characters in film, shows the potential of aggressiveness as a physical violence that encompasses both male activity and female impassiveness. A combination of the narrative cinema of scopophilic pleasure and the empirical man’s visual position created the male gaze that was present in the world in 1950. This was the visual position of empirical man as well as the virtual observer position. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is unquestionably a classic example of feminist objectification, in which women are depicted as valuable commodities and as the pinnacle of female achievement. It was decided that the song Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend would be used to portray the triumphant desire of women for financial freedom (see ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blonds…’ at 1:09:50). Lee performs the song Diamond are a Girl’s Best Friend in a stunning pink outfit with long gloves, accompanied by a group of men dressed in a coordinating color on the background stage. Lee’s performance attracts the traditional male gaze perspective, which is used to portray the spectator throughout the series. In the film Gentlemen prefer Blondes, one of the most memorable musical sequences in the history of cinema is produced. Also included is a precise representation of femininity throughout the 1950s.
Apart from that, the moment in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes where Lorelei meets a wealthy diamond mine owner named Piggy contains a political symbol, offering a peek of imperialism lurking beneath the surface of conventional exotism in the film. With the predicted economic boom following World War II, being able to afford expensive things was a steady quality of life indicator (Wagner, 644). Piggy is a fictional character who represents an American perspective on consumerism that was common during this time period (Hohls, 15). Another important aspect is the fact that Piggy owns a diamond mine in Africa, which depicts racial injustice and the widespread civil rights activities that were prevalent during that time period. When Lee discovers Piggy’s profession, he has an unique shot on his face that looks like a large diamond in the making. Lorelei’s exact portrayal of Piggy was exhibited in this photograph. In addition, the scene in which Dorothy observes the Olympic athletes serves as a reversal of the traditional objectification of women, demonstrating how their position and responsibilities in society are evolving.
Despite all of the gender disparities and social terrains explored in the film, Lorelei and Dorothy’s endearing support for one another and their relationship endure. The most powerful moment of feminist unity was witnessed at the conclusion of the video, when the two female actors swapped their roles. Dorothy pretended to be Lorelei, and she appeared in court to testify in the case of the stolen diamond tiara, which she had lost (Mendelman, 36). It is in this great moment, portrayed by Dorothy, that the inauthenticity of Lee’s dumb-blond feature is demonstrated, as well as the ease with which a simple phony appearance by another women might deceive uninformed males. Dorothy launches an attack on the judge with the song Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend, which happens to be Lee’s favorite. The guys in the courtroom, for some reason, seem to love Dorothy’s unplanned performance and turn out to be the perfect audience for her. In the courtroom, Dorothy’s exuding confidence and assertiveness brought the system of justice and seriousness crashing down around her. As a result of the film’s establishment of feminine sovereignty, the male gaze is overturned and subverted. Dorothy and Lorelei act in accordance with their motivation and endeavor, whereas Russell is pursuing love and Monroe’s character is pursuing money. The two are unyielding and unwavering in their ideas and thoughts, and they do not allow the surrounding environment to influence them. Women’s suffrage and empowerment in the face of patriarchal views are reflected in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, thanks to the wonderful bonding and enchantment between Dorothy and Lorelei.
In a word, the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of the most important films for promoting female revolt, solidarity, and empowerment in recent history. There are numerous situations in the film that depict how women’s roles and status are altering over time. As a result of the fact that the film’s director granted his female characters ownership of their desires and ideals, it is an amazingly commonplace film that nevertheless mirrors contemporary issues such as sexual assault.

Works Cited
Hohls, Vyonne Linda. The representation of women in Hollywood film musicals: a qualitative, critical and visual analysis of gentlemen prefer blondes and Nine. Diss. 2017.
Howard, Hawk. Gentlemen Prefer Blonds. 1953
Mendelman, Lisa. “Sentimental Satire in Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The Sentimental Mode: Essays in Literature, Film and Television (2014): 36-55.
Wagner, Johanna M. “Repositioning Lorelei’s Education: Mind, Body, and Sex (uality) in Anita Loos’ Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” College Literature 44.4 (2017): 644-674.

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