A cruise boat it may very well may be, but Hawks's bombastic comedy doubles as something of a voyage of the damned. Leaving behind her would-be poindexter of a fiancé (Tommy Noonan), the heir to an unfathomable fortune, unabashed gold-digger Lorelei (Monroe) decides to head to the city of lights with her best friend Dorothy (Jane Russell) on vacation. Flirting with a diamond kingpin (an outstanding Charles Coburn) and attempting to nab Dorothy a bachelor, Lorelei remains unaware that her fiance's untrusting father has sent a spy to provide proof of her unfaithfulness. This might all have turned out peachy if the spy wasn't Ernie (Elliott Reed), a lower-class charmer who has caught Dorothy's eye.
Those with mind enough to read the title of the film should pick up on the high-grade cynicism that Hawks is playing with here. Faced with broad stereotypes, the director rebuked a common instinct to indulge in moralistic balance and embraced caricature completely, favoring the patently outrageous to a tepid concept of "normal." It is certainly no mistake that the eldest and richest man on the boat is nicknamed Piggy and that the most mature and reserved of the characters has yet to celebrate his tenth year on this plant. And this is not even mentioning the central conceit of Lorelei (blonde) obsessing over a diamond tiara and Dorothy (brunette) falling for a gaggle of sailors before Ernie swings in.
Joyously and rigorously vicious in humor, tone, and narrative, Blondes reaches hysterical sublimity in its musical numbers, directed and choreographed by Jack Cole; it would be cruel to be asked to choose the most gleefully perverse. Paired in red sequins so bright they give off radiation, the duo open the film while singing about the boys that broke their hearts in Little Rock before splitting up. Dorothy's man-crazy hunger is realized in a swimming pool replete with athletes flexing and stretching during "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love?;"Lorelei levels the place (and the playing field) with the incomparable "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend." Sumptuously shot, these numbers push the already demented sexual proclivities of all parties included into a state of full-on lunacy.
Blondes, it must be said, is anything but romantic: The men are feckless and easily manipulated while the women are shallow, dim-witted but all powerful. Indeed, the viewer will encounter trouble locating someone to fully root for here. And yet, there is not one single moment when these characters, or this rightful classic, wear out their welcome.