By the 1920s, child actress turned screenwriter Anita Loos had already written dozens of silent films and two books on breaking into the film business. But it was her first novel, serialized in Harper's Bazaar, that made her name in publishing. Edith Wharton called it "the great American novel." In 1926, her tale of Lorelei Lee, the archetypal "dumb blonde" gold digger from Arkansas, made Loos an international celebrity. The novel was translated into several languages.

Her stage version of the story opened in New York in September 1926 and later toured successfully. In 1928, the first film version appeared featuring Ruth Taylor in the lead role. Loos wrote the titles (it was a silent film) with Herman J. Mankiewicz. Loos then wrote a sequel, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, published in 1928. It, too, was a hit.

Two decades later she co-wrote, with Joseph Fields, the book for a musical version, with music by Jules Styne and lyrics by Leo Robin. The show includes the songs "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend," "Bye Bye Baby," and "I'm Just a Little Girl From Little Rock." The original Broadway production opened December 1949 at the Ziegfield theatre. It starred Carol Channing and ran for 740 performances. (The first West End production, which starred Dora Byran, opened in 1962 and lasted for 223 performances.) Fox optioned the script for a Betty Grable vehicle, but decided to go with a sexier and less expensive Marilyn Monroe. Howard Hawks directed this 1953 version, which also starred Jane Russell. Two songs by Hoagy Carmichael were added to the film, "When Love Goes Wrong," and "Anyone Here for Love."

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Based on the novel and play by Anita Loos

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, and are at the top for their careers at the time of the film. Marilyn's most noteable scene is in which she preforms "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." That scene now the most famous of the film and the often emulated. Jane Russell as Dorothy gives a wonderful and believeable impression of Monroe's character Lorelei in the film, and a stunning voice in "Ain't There Anyone Here For Love." Many people don't know that Marilyn used a voice double for the high notes in "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend." Betty Grable was slated for the lead as Lorelei Lee, but when "Niagra" opened Marilyn was chosen as a more potent lead for less money.


Lorelei Lee a dumb blonde, and Dorothy Shaw a sassy brunette, are nightclub singers and dancers from Little Rock. Lorelei an infamous gold-digger lures Gus Esmond, the famous heir to a button empire, to fall in love and marry her. Gus's father disapproves highly of the marriage and distrusts Lorelei, but somehow is convinced into sending the girls (Lorelei and Dorothy) on a vacation to Europe. Lorelei and Dorothy are forced to manage the trip without Gus, because his father forces him to stay for an important "Button Conference," about a new invention called the zipper, which could cause the demise of the button industry. As the girls board the cruise liner, “Ile de France,” for Europe they discover that they have some interesting passengers aboard, including Detective Malone that is watching Lorelei’s every move for Esmond. As Lorelei begins an innocent friendship with a rich diamond mine tycoon, Sir Francis Beekman, who also has a very beautiful diamond tiara that Lorelei wants. Meanwhile Dorothy is spending a great amount of time and falling in love with Detective Malone. As Malone vigilantly watches Lorelei, he captures a suggestive photo of her and Sir Beekman. Now Lorelei and Dorothy have to find their way out of trouble, and discover if true love will prevail over all.

General Information:

Release: July 15, 1953

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Genre: Musical/Comedy/Romance

Duration: 92 minutes

Film: Three Strip Technicolor

Studio: Twentieth Century-Fox

Director: Howard Hawks

Assistant Director: Paul Helmick

Producer: Sol C. Siegel

Sound: Roger Herman Sr. and E. Clayton Ward

Original Music: Harold Adamson, Hoagy Carmichael, Leo Robin, and Jule Styne

Non-Original Music: Eliot Daniel and Lionel Newman

Voice Double for Ms. Monroe: Marni Nixon

Cinematography: Harry J. Wild

Editing: Hugh S. Fowler

Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler and Joseph C. Wright

Set Decoration: Claude Carpenter

Choreographer: Jack Cole

Costume Design: Travilla

Makeup: Ben Nye


Jane Russell: Dorothy Shaw

Marilyn Monroe: Lorelei Lee

Charles Coburn: Sir Francis Beekman ("Piggy")

Elliott Reid: Detective Ernie Malone

Tommy Noonan (I): Gus Esmond

George Winslow: Henry Spofford III

Marcel Dalio: Magistrate

Taylor Holmes: Esmond Sr

Norma Varden: Lady Beekman

Howard Wendell: Watson

Steven Geray: Hotel Manager

Henri Letondal: Grotier, the Prosecutor

Leo Mostovoy: Ship's Captain

Alex Frazer: Pritchard

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