Before Pamela Anderson, before Claudia Schiffer, before Madonna – there was Marilyn Monroe, the ultimate bombshell. In 1953 she played the lead role in Howard Hawks’ production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes – a musical that tracks the high jinks of two showgirls looking for fun, fellas and most importantly jewelry on the high seas.
In arguably the best comic performance of her career, Monroe plays Lorelei Lee – the seemingly dumb blonde who cuts through stereotypes with razor sharp wit to defend both her honour and her values: “Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn’t marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?” – she may be hit the bleach, but stupid she is not.
In a series of hip hugging pencil skirts and spray-on gowns Monroe is every inch the sex kitten. The most memorable look comes in the shape of a hot pink ball gown she wears as she performs ‘Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend’ – in a production later immortalised by Madonna in the ‘Material Girl’ video.
That’s enough about the clothes – did we just say that? It’s Lorelei’s well documented passion for bling that lands her and best friend Dorothy (Jane Russell) in a spot of hot-water with the police when she is accused of stealing a tiara from the wife of a wealthy would-be suitor. With the help of trusty old brunette Dorothy – Lorelei uses her feminine wiles to out fox the law and all ends well – in a double wedding. Of course.
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