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Literature / Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

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Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was a 1925 novel written by Anita Loos. It was adapted into a Broadway musical in 1949; the songs (written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin) included "Little Rock" and "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." The musical version was adapted into a movie in 1953, starring Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe. (An earlier silent movie version is lost.) Loos wrote a sequel, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, in 1927.

The story follows two flappers, and best friends, Dorothy Shaw and Lorelei Lee, during a trip to Europe in which Lorelei cultivates relationships with a variety of rich men, sometimes simultaneously.

This work provides examples of:

  • Alliterative Name: Lorelei Lee.
  • Brainy Brunette: Compared to Lorelei, Dorothy Shaw is a genius.
  • Character Catchphrase: Lorelei: "...a girl like I..."
  • Circus Brat: Dorothy Shaw.
  • Dumb Blonde: Well, somewhat. Lorelei does say some spectacularly ditzy things and she's plenty shallow but she can be incredibly crafty, at least when it comes to manipulating people. She's about 40% Dumb Blonde, 40% Obfuscating Stupidity and 20% Genius Ditz.
  • Gay Paree: Lorelei and Dorothy spend a chapter touring Paris. They're more impressed by the shops than by the "Eyeful Tower".
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Blonde Lorelei and brunette Dorothy, whose different hair colors are a visual shorthand for how different they are in personality and goals. Lorelei is a ditz who wants to marry into wealth, while Dorothy is shrewd and snarky and favors physical attractiveness in men above all other considerations.
  • Has a Type: Rich men for Lorelei. Tall, Dark, and Handsome for Dorothy, although Lorelei would argue "poor men" is more accurate.
  • Jerkass: Lorelei has her moments, due to her unapologetic Gold Digger attitude towards men.
  • Karma Houdini: Lorelei Lee. She never has to answer for any of her manipulations or two-timing.

But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes provides examples of:

  • Hide Your Pregnancy: invoked In But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, Lorelei abandons her movie career at expectant motherhood, alluding to the example of a movie actress who was discovered to be pregnant halfway through filming, which got to the point where her scenes had to be filmed "showing nothing but her head sticking up over the top of a bush or looking out of a window."
  • Playful Pursuit: In But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, Lorelei describes this as the highlight of her brief career as a movie actress.
    I did not care what it was full of, so long as it was full of plenty of cute scenes where the leading man would chase me around the trunk of a tree and I would peek out at him, like Lillian Gish.