Tuesday, March 1, 2011

i'll be gloomy, but send that rainbow to me, then my shadows will fly, though you'll be gone for a while, i know that i'll be smilin' with my baby by and by

Last night, the world learned of the sad, sad news of Jane Russell's passing. Many of the memorial articles I've read about Jane have remembered her sexpot reputation, focusing on her bosomy debut performance in Howard Hughes' The Outlaw, where Hughes created the cantilever bra to further accentuate her famous chest (of Russell, Hughes once said, "There are two good reasons why men go to see her. Those are enough"). But Jane was so much more than a bombshell beauty - she was a talented actress and a lovely woman. 
Her film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes was the first classic film that I truly obsessed over - I watched it practically on loop when I was younger, forcing all of my friends to watch it as well (I have a distinct memory of all of my friends and I crammed onto my queen bed, watching GPB on my sixteenth birthday).
Blondes is always a delight to watch - I have seen the film dozens and dozens of times, but it's always such a treat that it never feels old. Though Marilyn Monroe, and her legendary "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" performance, are perhaps most associated with the Fox masterpiece, I think that Jane was as much (if not more) the star of the film. The deadpanned humor she brought to Dorothy Shaw, the "hobo collector" show girl who falls in love with poor men (much to the dismay of her money-loving BFF Lorelei Lee), is glorious! Her singing and dancing abilities (as well as her ability to be shoved into a pool by hulking Olympic athletes, with grace and in heels!)  are on par with her acting abilities, and everyone seemed to agree - Jane's name was listed above Marilyn's in the credits, after all.
As an actress, Jane leaves a stunning legacy of strong-willed women with undeniable sensuality, but would never compromised their selves or their integrity to the will of men. In an age when so many other female characters in films were little more than two-dimensional femme fatales, or nondescript wives, girlfriends, daughters, and friends, Jane's list of film personas was remarkably different, and set her apart from the rest of the Hollywood crowd. 

"I've got plenty of time to daydream and I'd rather daydream than do anything in the world." - Jane Russell

Title: from "Bye Bye Baby" (Jane Russell, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes)

2 comments:

Summer.B said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I agree Jane was so much more than a sex symbol and It’s hard to think someone so strong can die. One of them stars you think will live forever... omg! On my 16th I watched a Monroe box set and watched gentle prefer blondes too! I sat there so long watching the films that I forgot it was my birthday, was a bit confused when people started to turn up for the party lol xx

Alexis said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Summer.B - that's so funny that that was your sixteenth birthday as well! So cosmic! But I'd much rather spend my birthday in the company of Jane Russell and Marilyn Monroe than some other girls my age!
I definitely agree with you about not believing someone so strong could ever die. Especially someone who I've grown up loving and watching, I feel like I have a deeper connection to some actors than I do with people I've met in real life. Jane Russell was one of the women who I listed as "People I want to meet" way waayyy back in the day on Myspace (remember? haha). It's upsetting because even though I knew that I would never meet her really, it was fun to think, "well, maybe ... someday." I told my mom that, and she said, "then in the next lifetime."
It made me very very sad, but sort of strangely hopeful too. Hopefully it won't be long until Jane comes back to us.