Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)

In director Howard Hawks' musical, it was advertised as having "The Two M-M-Marvels Of Our Age In The Wonder Musical Of The World!"; it starred two of the era's most notorious sex symbols: Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe:

  • after the introductory 20th Century Fox logo, but before the title credits, the opening rendition featured the nightclub entrance of two bombshells -- dumb blue-eyed blonde and veteran golddigger Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) and cynical, wise-cracking brunette Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell) who burst onto the screen through black curtains, wearing dazzling, glittering, sparkly red and white costumes while singing and dancing "Two Little Girls From Little Rock" before a blue background; one of the film's lines: "The one you call daddy ain't your pa" was censored and changed to: "Men are the same way everywhere."
  • following their performance in their nightclub dressing room, Lorelei (with a distinct passion for diamonds) received an engagement ring from her admiring, extremely-rich boyfriend Gus Esmond, Jr. (Tommy Noonan) who was in the audience; Gus' strict father Mr. Esmond Sr. (Taylor Holmes) had always been adamantly opposed to the idea ("dead set against our marriage"), as described by the witty, wisecracking Dorothy: ("The old boy is not about to let you commit matrimony with his son")
  • the two performers were sent ahead to Europe on an ocean cruise ship (the Isle de Paris) bound for Paris before a planned wedding, with Dorothy serving as Lorelei's "chaperone"; at the NYC dock, Dorothy's eye caught the handsome American men's Olympic team (wearing navy blue blazers and red, white, and blue-striped ties) that was also boarding, and she quipped that she was the only one free to have fun: "Nobody chaperones the chaperone"; one of the team members noted that the two vivacious chorines would surely survive if the ship hit an iceberg and sank: "Those girls couldn't drown"

At the NYC Dock Preparing to Leave for Paris

Hired Private Detective Ernie Malone

Goodbye Between Lorelei and Gus
  • before departing, veteran gold-digger Lorelei told Gus that Dorothy preferred men who were good-looking, regardless of their wealth: "She's just dumb. Always falling in love with some man just because he's good-looking. l keep telling her, it's just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man. And she says 'Yes, but...'. If they're tall, dark and handsome, she never gets around to vital statistics until it's too late. That's why l'm her best friend, I guess. She really needs somebody like I to educate her"; later, she counseled Dorothy: "You're wasting all your time on unrefined persons without any money"
  • even before the ship departed, Dorothy had already invited the Olympic relay team to her shared room for champagne and a 'bon voyage' party; she sang "Bye Bye Baby" as she danced with some of the handsome members of the team and everyone else joined in
  • in her cabin, Gus gave Lorelei a letter of credit ("like money") to cover her expenses upon her arrival, and promised to later rendezvous with her in France; Gus' resistant father prohibited Lorelei and Gus from traveling together, so Lorelei was traveling to Paris without him; it was also revealed that Gus' father had hired a private detective Ernie Malone (Elliott Reid) to spy on Lorelei during the trip; Lorelei was warned by Gus that their marriage would be called off by his father if there was "even the slightest hint of any scandal"
  • in a notorious choreographed song/dance scene, the sexy Dorothy Shaw was in an athletic gym on the cruise ship filled with disinterested male body-builders and gymnasts from the Olympic team as she sang "Anyone Here For Love" - with the lyrics: "I'm not in condition to wrestle. I've never trained in a gym. Show me a man who can nestle, and I'll pin a medal on him. Need some chappie to make me happy, and he don't have to be Hercules. Don't anyone know about birds and bees? Ain't there anyone here for love? Sweet Love. Ain't there anyone here for love?" She strutted down a row of exercising athletes on the floor while swinging two badminton rackets - asking: "Doubles, anyone? Court's free! Two out of three, anyone? Doesn't anyone wanna play? I like big muscles and red corpuscles. I like a beautiful hunk of man. But I'm no physical coach or fan. Is there anyone here for love? Sweet Love. Ain't there anyone, ain't there anyone, ain't there anyone, anyone, anyone, anyone - for love."
Dorothy in an Athletic Gym - "Ain't There Anyone Here For Love?"

"I just can't do the Australian crawl, And I'm no better at volleyball..."

"I need some shoulder to lean upon, And a couple of arms to hold me"

"I'm not in condition to wrestle, I've never trained in a gym..."

"Don't anyone know about birds and bees?"

"Doubles anyone?"

"Courts free, Two out of three anyone?"
  • at the end of the song, Dorothy was accidentally tumbled into the swimming pool when struck by divers behind her, and then was pulled out by some of the athletes and hoisted onto their shoulders [Note: This scene was referenced in singer Olivia Newton-John's popular "Let's Get Physical" music video.]
  • during the cruise across the Atlantic, private detective Malone had quickly fallen in love (at first sight) with Dorothy, who was already being trailed around by members of the Olympic team; he bribed the Captain of Waiters (Alex Akimoff) with $50 to acquire a coveted seat at Dorothy's and Lorelei's table in the dining room
  • one of the passengers also became intriguing to Lorelei - a rich, geriatric, married South African diamond mine owner (the second largest mine) named Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman (Charles Coburn); Lorelei imagined a large diamond in the place of Piggy's head when she first met him
  • meanwhile, Malone approached to talk to Dorothy, calling her "the most attractive girl in the room"; when he bragged about his money, Dorothy curtly rejected him: "l can't stand rich playboys"; his real ploy, however, was to question her and learn more about Lorelei and her inordinate interest in men with wealth
  • Piggy's jealous wife Lady Beekman (Norma Varden) was introduced to Lorelei and immediately showed off her diamond tiara; Lorelei joyfully put the tiara on her head and exclaimed: "l just love finding new places to wear diamonds"
  • that evening, Lorelei's anonymous invited dinner guest she had selected for Dorothy at their table, Henry Spofford III (George Winslow), turned out to be a 6 year-old boy; Malone's costly-purchased seat at the table put him next to Dorothy; after dinner, Lorelei promoted Dorothy's interest in Malone after mistakenly thinking he was rich: ("She'll make some man a wonderful wife"); out on the deck, Malone kissed Dorothy

Lorelei's Endorsement of Malone for Dorothy

Romance Between Malone and Dorothy
  • the next day, Dorothy became suspicious when she caught Malone surreptitiously taking snapshots through Lorelei's room porthole to incriminate her and ruin her reputation - she was caught innocently being hugged by Piggy; Dorothy learned from Lorelei that Piggy had been in her stateroom discussing his adventures in Africa, and was demonstrating to her how a python could grab a goat and squeeze it to death!; Dorothy deduced that Malone was a fraudulent hired detective: "Mr. Malone has foxed us. He's been shining up to me so he can keep tabs on you. l'll bet you anything he's a private detective, hired by Mr. Esmond"; the two schemed to get Malone drunk while Lorelei searched his cabin for the film; in a hilarious scene, Lorelei became stuck in the porthole when trapped in Malone's locked room and she tried to escape; she was aided in getting freed by young Henry Spofford

Lorelei Stuck in Malone's Porthole

Lorelei Aided by Young Henry Spofford
  • on their second attempt, Malone was knocked out with sleeping pills in his doctored cocktail drink - and then after deliberately soaking Malone's pants, he was forced to strip down; the film was found in his pants' pocket, developed and printed; Dorothy hid the negatives
  • the very grateful Piggy was convinced by Lorelei to reward her with Mrs. Beekman's tiara as a sign of his gratitude for saving his reputation from scandal; however, Dorothy then caught Malone retrieving his hidden planted reel-to-reel tape recorder in their cabin - it had recorded Piggy's and Lorelei's damning conversation; Dorothy scolded him for his duplicity - for "pretending to make love to a girl while you spy on her friend?"; when Lorelei returned (with the tiara behind her back), Malone called her a real gold-digging "mercenary nitwit," but also told Dorothy that the only thing he lied about to her was that he had money; he claimed that he really loved her (and he kissed her); after he left, Dorothy surprised herself: "I think I'm falling in love with that slob"
  • once the boat docked at Cherbourg, France, the two went shopping for clothes in exclusive shops, but afterwards at their hotel were confronted by Mrs. Beekman who had filed an insurance claim regarding the theft of her tiara; Lorelei refused to relinquish it: "It's mine, and I'm going to keep it"; then the two discovered that their "letter of credit" and hotel reservation had been cancelled due to Malone's damaging report to Mr. Esmond, Sr., who regarded Lorelei as a "blonde man-trap"; the two showgirls resorted to finding work in a lavish song/dance revue nightclub show at Chez Louis
  • Lorelei's boyfriend/fiancee Gus Esmond, Jr. arrived in Paris and visited the nightclub to be reconciled to her; he was swiftly rebuffed by Lorelei for not trusting her; she went on stage to dazzle everyone with her pink-dress show-stopping performance of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" (Monroe's most famous musical number) - a declaration of her true beliefs: ("A kiss on the hand May be quite continental But diamonds are a girl's best friend... Men grow cold as girls grow old And we all lose our charms in the end But square-cut or pear-shaped These rocks don't lose their shape Diamonds are a girl's best friend ")

American Showgirls at Chez Louis
"Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend"
  • after her performance, Lorelei confessed to Dorothy that she really loved Gus; but then she was about to be apprehended and arrested by gendarmes for taking Lady Beekman's tiara; when she decided to give it back, she realized that it had been stolen from her dressing room's jewelry box; at the airport while greeting Mr. Esmond, Sr. upon his arrival, Malone deduced that Piggy was leaving Paris - with the tiara
  • meanwhile in a subsequent night-court hearing on grand larceny charges, Dorothy donned a blonde wig (to impersonate Lorelei and play dumb) to try and stall the proceedings; she even reprised a bump-and-grind version of Lorelei's performance of "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" for the astonished courtroom; Dorothy communicated to Malone, using hints and innuendo, that she could never forgive him if her friend Lorelei was hurt: "There's a certain young man that Dorothy likes. In fact, she's very fond of him. And Dorothy would never speak to this man again if he ever did anything to hurt me, Lorelei...Dorothy thinks she's in love with him"; Malone, now fully in love with Dorothy, responded by exonerating Lorelei - he took two gendarmes to the airport to apprehend Piggy, bring him back to the court, and reveal his possession of the tiara; the case against Lorelei was promptly dismissed
  • in the film's conclusion back at the nightclub, the very confused Mr. Esmond, Sr. had been fooled into believing that the 'Lorelei' in the courtroom was his son's disreputable fiancee, and that the pretty female in the clubhouse with Gus was someone else
  • Lorelei delivered a speech to convince Gus' father that he should give his consent to marriage; she started out by admitting: "I want to marry him for your money!"; she explained how a man being rich was like a girl being pretty: ("You might not marry a girl just because she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help? And if you had a daughter, wouldn't you rather she didn't marry a poor man? You'd want her to have the most wonderful things in the world and to be very happy. Oh, why is it wrong for me to want those things?"); she encouraged him to want the best for his son and was able to convince him to consent to their marriage

Gus, Lorelei, and Mr. Esmond Sr. in the Nightclub

Double-Wedding - Dorothy's Advice: "Remember honey, on your wedding day it's all right to say yes"
  • the film ended with a double marriage ceremony on the cruise ship back to the US - Lorelei with Gus, and Dorothy with Malone; both females had diamond rings on their wedding fingers; Dorothy offered words of advice to Lorelei as they began walking down the aisle - the film's last spoken line: "Remember honey, on your wedding day it's all right to say 'yes'"

Opening: "Two Little Girls From Little Rock"

Gus Esmond, Jr. (Tommy Noonan) with Engagement Ring for Lorelei

Dorothy Singing: "Bye Bye Baby" with Olympic Team Members

Lorelei to Dorothy: "You're wasting all your time on unrefined persons without any money"

At the Pool, Dorothy Surrounded by the Team

Sir Francis "Piggy" Beekman (Charles Coburn) - Diamond Mine Owner

Malone's Romantic Interest in Dorothy

Mrs. Beekman's (Norma Varden) Diamond Tiara

(l to r): Lorelei's and Dorothy's Stunning Entrance Into the Dining Room

Henry Spofford III (George Winslow)

Malone Taking Snapshots of Lorelei - to Incriminate Her

Dorothy and Lorelei Scheming to Get the Film Back From Malone

The Retrieval of the Incriminating Film Roll

The Scandalous Photo

Malone Retrieving His Hidden Tape Recorder

Malone Kissing Dorothy

In Court, Dorothy Impersonated Lorelei With a Blonde Wig

"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" - by Dorothy

'Lorelei' Revealing, in Code, Dorothy's Love for Malone

Malone Exposing Piggy in Court With the Stolen Tiara, to Exonerate Lorelei


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