Saturday, September 23, 2023

French Cancan

Director Jean Renoir on the set

Jules Chéret posters

FRENCH CANCAN             A                                                                                             France  Italy  (102 mi)  1955  d: Jean Renoir

Yes, it’s true.  I’m his mistress and I’m proud of it.                                                                    —Nini (Françoise Arnoul)

Renoir’s first film made on his native soil since RULES OF THE GAME (1939), having fled to America during the Nazi occupation, this celebrates all the remarkable attributes of a “Renoir” film, becoming a loving tribute to Parisian bohemian life immersed in candy-colored images that border on French cliché.  While it’s a Technicolor extravaganza, the film revisits La Belle Époque of the 1890’s in all its cinematic glory, eliminating the filthy streets and squalor in order to invoke a more glamorous atmosphere of dreamy Paris, providing a kind of ho-hum storyline written by Renoir and screenwriter André-Paul Antoine, both getting their starts in the 1920’s, where the dance sequences add a needed shot of adrenaline, evoking the paintings of Degas and the Impressionists, including the director’s own father, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, with the screen literally exploding with music, dancing, and color, especially during the spectacular finale.  Based on the life of Charles Ziedler (changed to Danglard, played by Jean Gabin, Renoir’s star through much of the 30’s), the man who founded the Moulin Rouge on the site of the old Cabaret of the White Queen, it is a story going back to Renoir’s roots in Montmartre, the world of his childhood and of his father.  The film was extremely popular at the box office, praised as a tour de force success, even by the young guns at Cahiers du Cinéma, including François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, and Jean-Luc Godard, who otherwise delighted in scathing rebukes of French films in general, except those of Renoir, running several pieces, accompanied by a positive review from editor André Bazin, who described the director as having reached a level of maturity, and was at the pinnacle of his “classical style,” claiming he couldn’t “imagine a more perfect homage to Auguste Renoir.”  Released in America as ONLY THE FRENCH CAN, with supposedly inappropriate footage cut, Renoir’s American films were not highly regarded in France, with many still angered that he left the country during the war, and were inclined to believe that he was an artist in decline, though Éric Rohmer at Cahiers considered THE SOUTHERNER (1945) “the apex of Renoir’s work,” with some praising the pre-war Renoir “of the left” while others praised the post-war Renoir of “pure cinema.”  Danglard is the aging protagonist, a nightclub impresario who shrewdly thinks he can take a hopelessly outdated dance club in a disreputable working-class neighborhood and turn it into a popular new attraction, a French cabaret associated with a chorus line of female dancers doing the can-can in skirts and petticoats doing high kicks, splits, and cartwheels, as depicted in Toulouse-Lautrec’s La Troupe de Mademoiselle Eglantine, often exposing their undergarments, which was considered scandalous at the time, with societal attempts to suppress it.  Part biopic, part romance, and part backstage musical, this is the only Renoir film that features a director, with the irrepressible Danglard serving as his alter-ego, having his own way of handling performers, where balancing the various temperaments and eccentricities as well as their many talents while putting on a cabaret show parallels Renoir’s own working methods of making films, both dedicated only to their art.  For the most part, Danglard doesn’t do or say much, but simply observes, only occasionally intervening, acting as a medium between the stage and the world at large, taking extreme delight in passively allowing the creative process to develop into a cohesive vision.   

Danglard is overtly class-conscious, aware of the appeal to aristocrats and their thrill of “slumming” among the masses, sensing a bit of danger as they rub elbows with criminals, lowlifes, and the common man, enthusiastically describing the experience he envisions, “A taste of the low life for millionaires.  Adventure in comfort.  Garden tables, the best champagne, great numbers by the finest artistes.  The bourgeois will be thrilled to mix with our girls without fear of disease or getting knifed.”  With implications that art breaks down social barriers, a peek behind the scenes allows us to see a developing romance happening simultaneously with the concept of building a show.  For Renoir, film movement is an intrinsic element built into his craft, where the ever-flowing river is the essence of The River (Renoir) (1951), the structure upon which the entire film is based, while this film thrives on dance movement, with bodies perpetually in motion, where Michel Kelber’s camera is always searching for every conceivable camera angle to capture the swirl of motion, where the art of living is captured in that one fleeting moment, while also accentuating waves of color, mirrored in Pierre-Auguste’s painting Bal du moulin de la Galette, which his son actually expands upon in a continually developing relationship with a painting and his own cinematic aesthetic.  It’s the color where this most succeeds, adding details and textures that few other films have found, while perfectly capturing that same spontaneous sense of motion, as if the painting has suddenly come to life, described by Bazin, “Renoir is Impressionism multiplied by the cinema.”  By studying the romantic intrigues of the diverse group of people visiting the popular nightclub, Renoir offers a cross section of society, where we quickly learn that among Danglard’s many attributes is the discovery of new talent in a business he describes to the mother of a young girl he recruits to join his group of dancers as “the most wonderful profession in the world,” with Nini (Françoise Arnoul) infusing life into the story, eventually becoming his lover.  All the various relationships are established during an introductory sequence at a popular Montmartre bar and dancehall, The White Queen, where Danglard, his mistress Lola (Maria Félix), and various hangers-on go dancing as they meet Nini, the laundress, and her jealous, overly possessive, young baker boyfriend Paulo (Franco Pastorino), Michel Piccoli [Le Capitaine Valorgueil] dans ''French Cancan'' (1955) de Jean Renoir YouTube (1:44), a scene that evokes the arrival to Zerlina’s wedding in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, an artist who shares Renoir’s spirit of generosity and universality, where nobles and peasants, as well as masters and servants meet in one of the most gorgeous musical ensembles in opera.  From the outset, Danglard is beset with financial woes caused by financier Baron Walter (Jean-Roger Caussimon) in retaliation for his amorous exploits, crossing the line, so to speak, with Lola, the subject of his own amorous interest, using money as a weapon to drive him out of the picture, bankrupting his club while going after his possessions to cover the outstanding debts.  Nonetheless, Danglard shrugs it off with a casual air, always offering a monetary token of his appreciation to beggars on the street, as Renoir has always been fascinated by those living on the margins.  Among his many truisms spoken throughout the film, Danglard seems to be speaking for the entire profession when he says, “We artists are at the mercy of the men with money.”

The European morality on display might seem scandalous in America, with Danglard a serial womanizer balancing three different lovers, Lola, Nini, and a new love Esther Georges (Anna Amendola), initially seen in a neighboring apartment singing what amounts to the theme song heard throughout the film about destitute lovers, written by Renoir, actually sung by Cora Vaucaire, Extrait du film French Cancan (1954) 🎬 - La Complainte de la Butte - Moulin Rouge YouTube (2:59), yet Danglard is married only to his art, where the obvious age difference sets a precedent for the 70-year old Maurice Chevalier in GIGI (1958), as the grey-haired Gabin was 50 when the film was made, where his love tryst with Nini (Françoise Arnoul was 23-years-old at the time) might turn heads, with most believing him to be her father.  Nini quickly gives up her virginity to the baker, believing that’s what she’ll have to sacrifice anyway, thinking a sexual transaction between patron and protégée is all part of the business, but she is pleasantly surprised to discover that’s not a condition of employment, adding an underlying context that sex, money, and the theater are inexorably linked.  Renoir was equally unphased in these matters, having grown up in a household with a casually hedonistic view of women that seems pervasively French, with glaring signs of sexism, but then the same could be said of nearly all films made at the time.  Of note, Nini has her own suitors, rotating between Paolo, Danglard, and a wealthy young foreign Prince Alexandre, played by Giani Esposito, one of the featured stars in Rivette’s PARIS BELONGS TO US (1961), who promises to lavish her with jewels and opulence, with Lola veering between Danglard, Walter, and Captain Valorgueil (Michel Piccoli in one of his earliest roles).  There’s no moral denunciation of these multiple partners, though jealousy does rear its ugly head on multiple occasions, typically used to accentuate the drama, yet Renoir is open and honest about it, and does not hide behind any veiled hypocrisy.  When Nini arrives for the strenuous stretch exercises in Madame Guibole’s dance class, it not only reminds us of a Degas sketch, but it foreshadows what’s to come, as the show sequences are overwhelmingly female, where the women become the real stars of the film.  Nonetheless, the cancan dance itself is an erotic spectacle, with little left to the imagination, where it would be hard to deny the level of female objectification, perhaps a textbook example of the male gaze.  Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau were dressed as cancan dancers in the Mexican outback of Louis Malle’s VIVA MARIA! (1965), so there is a level of sexualized carry-over.  Shot entirely on studio sets (the original locations no longer existed), the streets in particular look artificial, lacking the effusive energy of any city street, giving this a very stylized look, lacking the social realism of the director’s earlier French films, causing some to lament a lowering of his standards.  In an interesting aside, Renoir filmed a cancan sequence in his earlier silent era film NANA (1926), Nana (Jean Renoir, 1926): Cancan YouTube (1:32), but he was frustrated by the lack of sound, vowing to make a musical, taking him nearly thirty years.  In a nod to that era, one of the hammiest onscreen performers, Casimir le Serpentin (Philippe Clay), can be seen breaking out into song to the accompaniment of an unseen orchestra.  

Once the Prince enters the picture, and it’s clear Nini doesn’t love him, preferring the love of the theater, she agrees to spend a night on the town with him before he leaves, which allows Renoir to escalate his mythical image of Paris in a heavily romanticized pastiche, shown through a rapidly changing, sequential montage visiting all the nightclubs, which are cabaret acts with painted backgrounds, spending only a minute or so in each, using contemporary singers to impersonate Belle Époque stars, featuring Patachou as Yvette Guilbert, and the legendary Édith Piaf in a brief appearance dressed in her signature black attire as Eugénie Buffet, where the two are inevitably linked in the history of chanson réaliste, Piaf dans 'French Cancan' de Renoir 1954) HD 720p YouTube (42 seconds).  Also included is a montage of Jules Chéret posters for La Taverne Olympia, Les Folies Bergère, and Le Nouveau Cirque, some of which were seen in the opening credits, French Cancan (1955) title sequence YouTube (2:11).  While Nini and the Prince are part of an appreciative audience, their reactions couldn’t be more different, as she’s rapturously delighted, visibly moved by what she sees, while he only has eyes for her, as if lost in a dream that eventually has to come to an end.  That same sense of exaggerated cinematic intoxication drives the exhilarating extravagance of the finale, which essentially shows the birth of Nini as a performer, where a costume drama, a romantic film, and a musical comedy finally merge together in an all-out assault to the senses, where the return of the cancan onstage is associated with nothing less than the liberation of France after the war, where the patriotic delirium is the same, like an ode to joy, as if expressing the very soul of what is quintessentially French.  It’s here that the women are the real stars, bursting out of nowhere, jumping onto the tabletops in their colorful costumes before taking over the expansive floor space, becoming a dazzling and empowering spectacle, as the men simply take a back seat, overwhelmed by the glorious sensuality they see, almost as if they can’t believe their eyes.  This extraordinary visualization represents a return of the very heart of the country, something that had been missing for far too long, where the impact is nothing less than overwhelming, French Can Can dance scene part 1 YouTube (3:04), French Can Can dance scene part 2 YouTube (2:48), French Can Can dance scene part 3 YouTube (3:02).  Despite all the theatrical fireworks, one of the most poignant scenes is a quiet moment of Danglard sitting backstage alone, where we hear the bombastic music onstage, but he’s simply ecstatic with the realization of what he’s created.  The dance offers a striking motif, mirroring the vivid and dynamic women in the Chéret posters we see throughout the film, rhapsodic images of the joy of movement.  The cancan is the culmination and professionalization of earlier styles of dancing practiced throughout 19th century France, adding various international forms of “skirt dancing.”  Its origin is shrouded in mystery, becoming an erotic display of women’s legs, with the lifting of their skirts, the high kicks, and the splits, while also offering a carnivalesque view of their backsides, as the dancers literally embody irrepressible joy, energy, and movement, where the extreme physical pleasure it exudes is nothing less than spectacular, a feast for the eyes, mirroring the enduring legacy of Renoir’s illustrious return to France.              

Watch French Cancan Full Movie Online Free With English ...  entire film with subtitles may be seen on FshareTV (1:43:47)

Monday, September 18, 2023

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes


Director Howard Hawks

Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell

novelist Anita Loos

GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES           B                                                                               USA  (91 mi)  1953  d: Howard Hawks

I can be smart when it’s important, but most men don’t like it.                                               —Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe)

During the conservative era of Eisenhower’s America in the 1950’s, Douglas Sirk was offering his own subversive take on the “women’s picture,” using lurid symbolism and garish color schemes to reflect what’s going on under the surface in films like Magnificent Obsession (1954), All That Heaven Allows (1955), and Written On the Wind (1956), drawing attention to the stereotypical and straight-jacketed roles of women in society, caught up in the material mindset of the American Dream while also accentuating the tragedy of believing in false ideals. Hollywood, however, was in the business of promoting those same consumerist ideals through its own overblown romanticism, where this film is the epitome of reinforcing the existing social order, where marrying a rich man was the answer to a woman’s prayers, as money, not love, was the overriding concern, without any apparent concerns that they could be viewed as a sex object or purchased as a commodity themselves.  Perpetuating the stereotype that liberation comes in the form of a pocketbook, where economic stability supersedes all matters of love, the Hollywood mythmaking machine was busy at work creating larger-than-life figures on the screen, with Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell representing the industry’s two biggest sex symbols, where the cartoonish storyline is overlooked by the Technicolor musical extravaganza that is literally an escapist cinematic spectacle, adopted as a marketing strategy to compete against television audiences, offering a glittering allure that wasn’t available on those black and white television sets, where the spread of the new home medium was part of the post-war economic boom.  As Hawks himself noted, “The girls were unreal, the story was unreal.  We were working with complete fantasy.”  Monroe’s undeniable sex appeal put glamour back into the movies on a large scale, where she epitomized the objectification of women in the 1950’s, as advertising campaigns for her movies echoed the selling of consumer goods, emphasizing the importance of appearance and obedience to male expectations, underscored by the title, where marriage was viewed as the ideal, with happiness revolving around choosing the right husband, where cinematic illusion deftly plays into the audience’s fantasies, reiterating the Cinderella fairy tale with the princess searching for the handsome prince.  And Monroe does not disappoint, never disappearing behind the character, as what we see onscreen actually “is” Marilyn Monroe playing a sex kitten in all its exaggerated femaleness, with her signature breathy voice, where nearly all her subsequent roles are reiterations of this same sexually provocative character, while Jayne Mansfield’s blonde bombshell in Frank Tashlin’s THE GIRL CAN’T HELP IT (1956) is almost a parody of Monroe in this film.  The entire film may be seen through a voyeuristic lens, as these women are continually ogled and gawked at by men throughout the entire length of the picture, no matter the setting, yet these enterprising young women have learned to take advantage of their beauty and feminine sexuality, where having a voluptuous figure has its advantages, as they are literally on display as shiny ornaments in a fish bowl, where the film showcases them as sex objects like a prurient advertising campaign selling tickets for its own product, with Monroe already known as a pinup girl, while the film may as well be a billboard advertising for Hollywood itself.  Released just a few months prior to the premiere of CinemaScope, what truly stands out is the movie’s shameless materialism, yet when these women exhibit a strong assertiveness and use their feminine guile to get what they want, acknowledging at one point, “If we aren’t able to empty his pockets between us, we aren’t worthy of the name Woman,” their sexual manipulation is equated to female enterprise leading into the postwar consumer landscape of the 50’s with its unquestioned acceptance of the full-fledged patriarchy of American capitalism.  While it has its screwball comedy moments, much like Howard Hawks’ earlier film MONKEY BUSINESS (1952), this garish, veering-towards-camp musical never really comes across as a subversive satire of the American Dream, instead it blatantly peddles the product.   

Adapted from the 1925 novel by Anita Loos, the first female staff screenwriter in Hollywood, authoring hundreds of Hollywood films in the 1910’s, it started as a series of short sketches published in serial installments by Harper’s Bazaar known as the “Lorelei stories,” written in the form of her diaries, revisiting the myth of the irresistible American blonde in the jazz age of the Roaring Twenties, who uses her “stupidity” and eroticism for her own benefit, where the magazine’s circulation quadrupled overnight, making her a millionaire and a celebrity, running as a Broadway play in 1926-27, followed by a 1928 silent comedy release under the same title directed by Malcolm St. Clair, which was something of a flop, where no copies are known to exist, so it is now considered a lost film.  It was revised in a Broadway version starring Carol Channing in 1949, accentuating the entertainment aspect through elaborate musical production numbers, while the film release, with Loos as a script consultant, was the seventh highest-grossing film of 1953, eclipsing the popularity of the novel.  The film doesn’t really stack up against the best song-and-dance musicals of the era, as the songs themselves are weak, never rising to the level of Marlene Dietrich in Josef von Sternberg’s The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel) (1930), for instance, who could convincingly direct each song to the individualized fantasies of every man in the room, and what passes for dancing is more like choreographed movement that is intentionally tacky, as neither Russell nor Monroe could dance, with Hawks nowhere near the set, having no interest in directing large-scale musical numbers, turning those sequences over to choreographer Jack Cole and his assistant Gwen Verdon.  The costumes designed by William Travilla are glamorously divine, working with Monroe on eight films together, best expressed in a rousing Marilyn Monroe showstopper near the end, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) -- (Movie Clip) Diamonds Are A... YouTube (4:26), where her celebrated pink evening gown, as well as gloves, jewelry, shoes, and hair were parodied by Madonna in an equally iconic music video in 1984, Madonna - Material Girl (Official Video) [HD] - YouTube (4:45), glorified again by Nicole Kidman in a more chaotic version with quick cuts in Baz Luhrman’s MOULIN ROUGE (2001), Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend (2001) HD - YouTube (2:42), both meant to evoke the sexuality of Monroe, but reinvented with a modernist sophistication.   It’s surprising how much dance movement elevates the best musicals, whether it’s Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire or a host of others, as they tend to hold up over time, while those without it seem so much more inert and statuesque, feeling dated, relying so much more upon a script that may not always provide the saving grace, where this very much appears to be a product of the times.  That said, what this film really established was the brilliance of Marilyn Monroe’s comic timing, initially perceived by the industry as just another “dumb blonde” (as initially written by Loos), which she accentuates with stereotypical exaggeration, where her archetypal Hollywood sex goddess actually helped to resuscitate the musical’s mainstream commercial and critical recovery in the 21st century, embodied by films like Moulin Rouge (2001) and Rob Marshall’s CHICAGO (2002), perhaps driven by nostalgia, but her delivery of some of the best lines may be the real surprise of the film, exemplified years later in what is arguably her best comic role in Billy Wilder’s madcap comedy Some Like It Hot (1959), followed not long afterwards by her final film and what many consider her greatest dramatic role opposite Clark Gable and Montgomery Clift in John Huston’s desperately sad The Misfits (1961).  But this musical is on the opposite spectrum, more of a zany spoof on male expectations, overtly playing to the male gaze, while countering that with something the audience is not expecting, turning into a female buddy movie, with Russell and Monroe playing best of friends without a hint of competitive rivalry, where their lack of formal education is replaced by firsthand experience, becoming a disorienting daydream of female empowerment, allowing the women to seemingly control their own destiny, so long as it fits within the safely conventional parameters of 1950 America.  The underlying sexual ambiguity is an interesting component of the film, and may help explain why this is listed by none other than Rainer Werner Fassbinder in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's 10 favourite films of all time.  It’s extremely touching to see the considerable care Russell takes in trying to protect the acutely shy young starlet from a director who had little patience for her anxieties, offering the maturity and wisdom of a big sister, often conveyed in overly protective wise cracks, but their lifelong friendship off the screen was equally genuine, though they never worked together again.     

While the script adapted by Charles Lederer veers from the norm, what’s interesting is how underwritten all the male roles are, with most little more than buffoons, and how much more detailed the female relationship becomes, which is atypical of Hollywood films of the period, something not often seen before THELMA & LOUISE (1991).  Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) are American showgirls (“from the wrong side of the tracks”) who appear in red sequin dresses to deliver the opening number, appearing even before the opening credits, Two Little Girls from Little Rock - Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (HD) YouTube (2:48), emulated a decade later by two sisters, Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac, in Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort (Les demoiselles de Rochefort) (1967).  As the two greatest sex symbols of the era, one blonde and the other a brunette, they couldn’t be more different, as the ditzy blonde Lorelei is angelic, even innocent-looking, with a restrained sexuality, while the more intellectually discerning Dorothy is bold and brash, whose sexuality is raw and sassy.  Dorothy is more pragmatic, but Lorelei insists her brunette friend is dumb because she’s always falling for some good-looking guy without any consideration of his financial standing, with Dorothy suggesting Lorelei has “Novocaine in her lipstick,” as men always swoon after being kissed, while Lorelei in turn warns Dorothy in her own affectionate, yet convoluted way, “I want you to find happiness and stop having fun.”  Rather than resist their female objectification by men, they instead accentuate all their sensual qualities to draw even more attention to themselves, actually parodying the male stereotype of a sex symbol by presenting a convincing illustration of feminine seduction as illusion, performing one artificial female stereotype after another, intentionally feeding into the audience’s own insatiable fantasy of beauty, which of course Hollywood helped invent.  Russell was the headliner, loaned out from RKO by Howard Hughes, earning ten times the salary of Monroe, but it was Monroe who was given the climactic musical number, coming out of this film a first-rate star, singing all of her own vocals except the operatic high notes introducing the signature song, which were dubbed by infamous ghost singer Marni Nixon.  The tagline for the film was “The Two M-M-Marvels Of Our Age In The Wonder Musical Of The World!”  They are opposites when it comes to marriage, with one guided by money and the other by a healthy skepticism of love, as Lorelei is only interested in a man’s wealth, like her millionaire fiancé Gus (Tommy Noonan in a role originally meant for Cary Grant), a hopelessly naïve and prudish man who can provide for all her financial needs, where lavish presents are a substitute for real love.  Dorothy, on the other hand, prefers men who are handsome and charming, and is more concerned about the sparks of attraction, showing no real interest in their wealth, which is immediately established in their backstage rapport which confirms their character and their motivations, with Lorelei acting the part of a sophisticated lady, intending to marry Gus in France, while Dorothy is a straight-shooter, where her lines feel more like sarcastic zingers.  The chink in the armor is Gus’s father, as he despises Lorelei, suspecting she’s little more than a gold digger, looking for any hint of scandal to call off the marriage, and forbids them from traveling together on the Atlantic ocean liner to Europe, with Dorothy filling in as her chaperone.  Luckily for her, the all-male U.S. Olympic team is onboard, which quickly draws her eye, fascinated by the anatomy of the male physique, which escalates into a snappy musical number as she wanders around the men on exercise apparatus and eventually a pool, with homoerotic implications in their flesh-colored attire, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) -- (Movie Clip) Anyone Here ...  YouTube (3:54), all but ignoring Dorothy as she takes a tumble into the pool, which was purely accidental, but like a trooper she remained in character, so they kept the shot.    

Unbeknownst to either woman, Gus’s father has hired a private investigator in the form of Ernie Malone (Elliott Reid) to watch Lorelei on the journey and report back anything suspicious.  As a diversion, he snoozes up to Dorothy, pretending he’s a rich playboy and that it’s all accidental, but his eye is on Lorelei, hoping to catch her in an act of indiscretion.  In one of those swanky, luxury liner cocktail hours with guests in formal attire, Lorelei happens upon the elderly owner of a diamond mine, Sir Francis “Piggy” Beekman (Charles Coburn), and her eyes light up in dollar signs, while his face turns into a giant diamond.  Despite being old enough to be her grandfather, and married to boot, traveling with his wife (Norma Varden), Lorelei grows fascinated by Lady Beekman’s diamond tiara, even trying it on for size, where her reaction is priceless, “I just love finding new places to wear diamonds.”  This gargantuan piece of jewelry becomes the object of Lorelei’s obsessive fascination, using her flirtatious charm to spend more and more time with Beekman, who’s of course flattered by her attention, telling him what he wants to believe, feeding into his own illusion about himself in order to get what she wants, eventually convincing him to actually “give” it to her, thoroughly dismissing the objections and concerns of his wife, which becomes the narrative thread for the rest of the picture, with Lorelei refusing to give it back, even after being accused of being a thief, Marilyn Monroe And Jane Russell In "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" - " I'm Going To Keep It" YouTube (3:27).  Dorothy discovers Malone peeping on her friend, discovering his real motives and sees him for the lout he is, but his persistence with her pays off, and after a surprising kiss, she can be heard uttering “I think I’m falling in love with that slob.”  Even after ending up being down and out in Paris, thrown out of their hotel without a dollar to their name, they do what they do best, return to the stage, becoming immediate star attractions, with tragedy turning optimistically to fortune, yet there’s that little matter of the diamond tiara to contend with, turning the judicial system into a theatrical farce, becoming a mockery of the presumed superiority of European values (with its rich historical and literary history), as the brash Americans aren’t what they seem, turning this into something of an economics lesson.  Exhibiting an innate talent for American entrepreneurship, coming soon after the end of The Marshall Plan and Postwar Economic Recovery, which rebuilt a war-torn Europe, this has an all’s well that ends well storyline, going through a circuitous route to get there, with a few surprising twists, eventually coming face to face with Gus’s father, who’s ready to send Lorelei to the slammer, but she has a way of twisting even the most unpersuasive of men around her little finger, and this one’s no different, as she seems to have a way with wealthy men, speaking their own language, as all she really wants is what they’ve already got.  Who could argue with that?  The double wedding bells of the finale seems overly contrived, resembling a Hollywood fairy tale, as these thoroughly bland men are simply no match for the complexities of women possessing such unique insight into the psychology of men, thoroughly outwitting and outfoxing them on every occasion, and while it fits the happy ending movie format, one might “not” view this as a happy ending, but rather a dismal one that presents a darker view of marriage where women are trapped within the sexist 50’s demands of conformity and gender expectations.  This is a dated musical fantasia that best exemplifies the talents of these two resolute women, which even took the movie studios by surprise, as they were never able to recapture this same chemistry of female camaraderie, using their looks and sexual charisma to have fun at the expense of men, exhibiting a potent form of power that is still overlooked today. 

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) - Video Dailymotion YouTube (1:31:25)