It’s a Wrap: Marilyn’s Double Rom-Com Score

“For many pop-culture websites, which we will not name here, the history of cinema apparently begins somewhere around the release of Star Wars, with almost everything that preceded it to the big screen being sloughed off as quaint, forgettable and irrelevant,” Alonso Duralde writes for The Wrap. “It’s the sort of thing that people who love movies and movie history can often ignore with the roll of an eye, but when one site recently trumpeted its list of the 50 Best Rom-Coms of All Time — which featured exactly one movie made before 1980 and zero prior to 1970 — we could sit by no longer. (Audiences laughed and fell in love even before Meg Ryan was even born, if you can believe it.)”

Happily, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot are featured in his list of the 50 Best Romantic Comedies Made Before 1980, over at The Wrap. Romance is a strong component in both films, although like other titles on the list, they also boast other diverse strands. Blondes, for example, is a female buddy movie and a musical, with the ‘gentlemen’ almost an afterthought; while Some Like It Hot is unbridled farce, with elements of screwball and black comedy.

Other Monroe films that might fit the rom-com category include How to Marry a Millionaire and The Seven Year Itch. Incidentally, two other films considered by Marilyn are also on the list: Pillow Talk, which earned Doris Day an Oscar nomination; and What a Way to Go!, filmed with Shirley MacLaine after Marilyn passed away.

Meanwhile at The Ringer, Carrie Wittmer names Marilyn among the candidates for Queen of the 1950s-70s Rom-Com, alongside Doris Day, Jane Fonda and Diane Keaton – with Audrey Hepburn the ultimate victor.

“Monroe introduced the ‘dumb blonde’ type to the romantic comedy in the 1950s with characters who were whimsical and spacey—but also sexy, undeniably alluring, and possessing considerable street smarts despite their apparent lack of intelligence. Her performance as Sugar in Some Like It Hot is Monroe at her boldest and most self-aware—a major reason why the movie is considered one of the best ever made.”