Monday, November 16, 2009

(Musical) Monologue - "Honey you'll hurt yourself"

Jose here with the Monday Monologue.

When thinking of Howard Hawks' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the first image that comes to everyone's mind will be that of Marilyn Monroe performing Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.
People who haven't seen the film know it because it's been reenacted by people like Nicole Kidman, Geri Halliwell, Kylie Minogue and was the base of Madonna's entire Material Girl video. And how could they not homage it when the performance's so damn iconic?

Marilyn knew what it meant to be a showstopper, but within the movie we also find a hidden gem of sorts in Jane Russell's performance. She plays sidekick to Monroe and while it's the blond bombshell getting all the attention, Ms. Rusell knew how to leave a mark of her own.

In what appears to be an inconspicuous number halfway throughout the film- after she's been dealing with lack of luck in love-she enters a gym in a cruise ship where surrounded by a vast number of male specimens she sends her own S.O.S

First she reveals her shortcomings
I can't play tennis,
My golf's a menace
I just can't do the Australian crawl
And I'm no better at volleyball
Then her plea
Ain't there anyone here for love?
She continues strutting among the half naked men as she reveals
I'm apathetic and non athletic
Can't keep up in a marathon
I need some shoulder to lean upon
and a couple of arms to hold me
Ain't there anyone here for love?
What's remarkable about this scene is how Russell plays it like if she's having a ball, while the love-as-a-sport lyrics could literally break your heart.
This kind of performance, sad lyrics-happy tune, would become a standard for artists like Minogue, who delivers happy electropop with lyrics that even heavy rock artists find depressing
(the Australian superstar has also paid homage to this scene in her tours).

But back to Russell, it's only until the end of the song where she has a change of heart, stops underrating herself and actually demands things out of life.
I like big muscles and red corpuscles
I like a beautiful hunk-o-man
The scene ends with Russell finally taking the plunge, quite literally, as she falls into a pool (in what seems like a painful stunt) where all the men have dived. Leaving us with a promise she more than fulfills in the rest of the film.


Victor S said...

Completly changing the subject I was reading the blog of a Golden Globe voter and here is what she said about Nine.

"First press screening of Rob Marshall's Nine, yeasterday. A crowded room in LA. I guess that the other simultaneous screening in NY was the same way. First thing, right at the entrance: everybody had to sign a document swearing to not review the film before December 15 - the official opening is December 18 in NY and LA, and January 15 in Brazil.

Therefore, my dears, I cannot say anything else, for the time being: applauses punctuated the screening and crowned its end; that I was happy when I saw the name of the dear Anthony Minghella in the final credits (he is one of the authors of the stupendous script); and that haven't seen women so spectacularly beautiful in a screen for a very long time, and didn't knew that Daniel Day Lewis could sing and make acrobatics. In a very poor year its a pleasure to see a tribute to a cinema made with the soul, about a time where cinema was worthy.


Paul Outlaw said...

And the teardrops fall...


"i like Jane Russell and red corpuscles... also like a beautiful hunk o' man"

this scene is so great. and Jane and Marilyn are both fab in this movie. too bad they don't make em like they used to.


Alison Flynn said...

I love this number. And Jane Russell was wonderful in this movie.

Jsimple said...

Are you allowed to even mention your general thoughts on nine? like a 7 word review?

Paul Outlaw said...

Nat, I could choke you. ;-)

Alex in Movieland said...

How crazy is this...
yesterday I was watching again the Diamonds are a girl's best friend moment on youtube... It's true, I got there through Material Girl, but does it matter? :P

Criticlasm said...

We should also just slide in there the homo sobtext of this number, with men muscled men in flesh-colored bathing suits completely ignoring the woman in front of them.
And her earrings, shaped like, well...just look at them.

Craig said...

Jane Russell wasnt suppose to tumble into the pool at the end of this number; she accidentally got knocked in, but Howard Hawks liked it so much that he kept it in the scene.


Craig... that's awesome. somehow i did not know this.