Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955)
Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Jane Russell, Jeanne Crain, Alan Young, Scott Brady, Rudy Vallee
Director: Richard Sale
Release Date: 9 October 1955
Length: 99 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: TV
My Rating: 3/5 stars
The Jones sisters, Connie (Jeanne Crain) and Bonnie (Jane Russell), are forced to leave another nightclub job due to Bonnie’s inability to say “no” to any man who proposes marriage. Luckily, they receive a telegram offering them a job in Paris so they jump on the next ship and head overseas! Unbeknownst to the girls, David Action (Scott Brady) sent the telegram and he is definitely struggling to make a living as a talent agent, along with Charles Biddle (Alan Young), who is waiting for his big break. When David shares the news with a friend, the older gentleman (Rudy Vallee) tells David the tale of Mimi (Jane Russell) & Mitzy (Jeanne Crain), the older Jones sisters (Mimi is Connie & Bonnie’s mother), who were a big hit in Paris in the 1920s. But will the younger generation be just as much of a sensation?
This is a frothy, fun musical about a pair of sisters who travel from the US to Paris, France to hit the big time. They are not aware that their mother and their aunt used to perform there, and apparently in a less modest fashion than they told the younger generation! The sisters have a bunch of surprises in store as they try to find work in France that doesn’t involve them being naked on stage. Of course, this sets up all kinds of laughs and romantic entanglements as the sisters fall in love with guys who don’t seem to return their affections, even though they are both regular Joes. The funniest part of the movie is trying to guess who the anonymous benefactor is who is financing the girls’ career – especially as all of the rich lecherous men in Paris keep showing up everywhere they go!
The music in this movie is quite good and is full of popular favorites including “My Funny Valentine” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’ (I’m Saving My Love for You).” The two leads do a wonderful job singing and dancing and, even though the routines are quite ridiculous (“Ain’t Misbehavin'” is performed in a tribal atmosphere with a cook pot for the cannibals and the lead guy in a gorilla suit). My favorite routines usually happen in the dream or fantasy sequences, but all of the music numbers are fun to watch.
The acting is good, the costumes are sparkly and colorful, the music is great and the plot is silly and fun. The plot is actually two stories in one: the two girls in Paris now trying to build a career and the girls’ mother & aunt in Paris long ago and what they used to do. This keeps the movie moving along at a good clip and the flashbacks are hilarious as the actresses have a delightful time overdoing it with huge hand & arm gestures and silly faces. I also loved the sightseeing that the girls did in Paris as it gave me a chance to see a lot of the sights without leaving my living room! This is definitely a fun musical to catch from the good-old days. It is completely ridiculous, of course, but just a lot of fun to watch.
This movie features some suggestive scenes where the girls are shown what their “costumes” will be in certain Paris casinos and speculation about who their rich sugar-daddy is that is financing the whole deal. Some of the costumes are a little suggestive, but none of them show too much. Appropriate for viewers ages 8 and up (I don’t think they will understand a lot of the more subtle undercurrents), but recommended for ages 12 and up.