Shades of Red: Marilyn, the Scarlet Blonde

In a blog post for the British Film Institute (BFI) website, Sophie Monks Kaufman adds Gentlemen Prefer Blondes to her list of 10 Great Films That Make Striking Use of the Colour Red.

“For the opening number of Howard Hawks’ Technicolor musical, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell sing about being two little girls from Little Rock, while shimmying in red sequin gowns split in all the right places. These are dazzling show-stopping outfits that cause a Roger Rabbit eyes-popping-out-of-head effect in the viewer. This was the film that made Monroe an above-the-title star, and her presence as Lorelei Lee, a pragmatic gold-digger opposite Russell’s fool-for-love Dorothy is just as thrilling today as it was nearly 70 years ago.

Costume designer William Travilla received plaudits for the fuschia pink gown and gloves Monroe wore to sing ‘Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend’, a number that takes place against a rose background while Monroe, more fluid than solid and dripping in diamonds, is pursued by goggle-eyed male dancers in candy-striped sashes. Something she wears, whatever the outfit, is a slick of come-hither red lipstick.”

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