“Men Prefer Blondes” propelled Marilyn Monroe’s career. However, behind the scenes on the set, Fox studio executives were infuriated. The reason ? A series of nude photos taken by the actress have resurfaced …
Dorothy and Lorelei are singers. Dorothy, a tall and seemingly cynical brunette, always falls in love with the first comer! As for the blonde Lorelei, she pretends to be stupid in order to better explore the fate of her suitors. You also have a new victim in sight …
When Fox acquired the rights to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, the film was originally intended for Jane Russell and Betty Grable. But given Niagara’s success with Marilyn Monroe, the studio finally changed its mind and chose the rising star, who cost far less than Betty Grable ($ 18,000 vs $ 150,000).
However, the production did not foresee the requests of Marilyn Monroe, who constantly asked to return the scenes despite the director’s satisfaction. When asked by Fox about how to speed up filming, Howard Hawks suggested “three fantastic ideas: replace Marilyn, rewrite the script to shorten it and change director” …
Among the memorable sequences of the film is the legendary song Diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Dressed in her famous pink satin gown, Marilyn’s dance and song sequence was widely imitated in the following decades, from Madonna to Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey, via Moulin Rouge! To name a few.
Here’s the scene again, just for fun ..
Embarrassing but accepted clichés
Turns out this legendary outfit was actually a last minute change. LInitially, the actress had to wear only black velvet bands and rhinestones, recreating the illusion of a river of diamonds on a human scale. An outfit ultimately deemed too bold for the studios. And there’s a reason for that: the scandal caused by Marilyn’s nude photos.
Four years earlier, an actress still in the process of notoriety had posed nude in front of a famous pin-up photographer, Tom Kelley. A series of shots, where thShe appeared stretched out among red silk sheets intended to illustrate a calendar. A photo shoot that had earned Marilyn the modest sum of $ 50.
In a four-part documentary that aired earlier this year on CNN, Reformulated: Marilyn Monroe, the actress says the photographer assured her that no one would recognize her. By the time the calendar came out in 1952, the actress had begun to get a small reputation. Of course she was immediately identified as the model of the calendar, causing a small scandal in an America that is still very puritanical.
The actress had bravely chosen to take these photos, and to defend herself with great honesty: “A few years ago, when I had no money for rent or food, a photographer I knew asked me to pose naked for an art calendar” he had explained to the reporter Aline Mosby of the agency United Press Internationalwho was the first to report information on these photos.
Fox executives, who had to come out Men prefer blondes the following year, he asked Marilyn to categorically deny it was her in the photos. She refused, as she explained to Mosby: “Oh, the calendar hangs in every garage in town. Why deny it? You can find one anywhere. Besides, I’m not ashamed. I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“The sexiest, hottest, almost naked woman ever seen on screen”
Famous costume designer William Travilla, who has worked on eleven films with Marilyn Monroe and created those of Men prefer blondessaid the series of photos had made studio executives hysterical, who feared not only that the photos would ruin the actress’s career, but that they would scare off investors.
Travilla was originally commissioned to create an outfit for “the sexiest, most exciting and almost naked woman ever seen on screen “, in his own words. In other words, an outfit very far from what we see in the film. “The costume was a pink net over her naked body. Her breasts and hips were covered in diamonds put together by a jeweler. And just as we were about to shoot the scene, goddamn, things went wrong. A reissue of Marilyn’s nude. calendar has arrived on the market “.
If the actress has never been filmed wearing the costume in question, there are still very rare shots during rehearsals.
Here are two:
Rehearsal of Marilyn’s costume, rear view:
Sweating at the potential prospect of a box office fiasco with this cliché affair, Fox studio management ordered William Travilla to throw away the suit. It was there that he came up with the idea for the pink satin dress, which covered the actress’s body very clearly. Be that as it may, the fears of the study experts were quickly brushed aside. Men prefer blondes it was a theatrical success and put Marilyn into orbit for good.