Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (1955)

97 or 99 mins | Musical comedy | October 1955

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HISTORY

The opening title cards of the film read: “Russ-Field Corporation presents A Voyager Production Jane Russell, Jeanne Crain, Alan Young, Scott Brady, Rudy Vallee in Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. " Loos’s novella, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes which was serialized in Harper’s Bazaar in 1928, was a sequel to her popular novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Both books featured the characters of “Lorelei Lee” and “Dorothy Shaw,” beautiful showgirls who toyed with the affections of wealthy men. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes served as the basis of a film produced by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953. The earlier film, directed by Howard Hawks, starred Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell (see entry). According to studio records, Fox considered protesting the production of Gentlemen Marry Brunettes because they felt that it would infringe upon their rights to make a sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In order to avoid any complications, screenwriters Richard Sale and Mary Loos (who was the niece of author Anita Loos) changed the names of the characters and much of the plot, retaining only the title and the idea of two American singers going to Paris.
       According to a 16 Mar 1953 HR news item, Sale was to direct Gentlemen Marry Brunettes for producer Alexander Korda, with Dennis Day set to star. No other contemporary information about Korda’s involvement has been found, however. In Apr 1953, NYT reported that Sale would be producing the film as an independent venture in Europe “under the banner of Film Locations, Ltd., a British company in which Montague Marks and Mike Frankovich are associated.” The article ... More Less

The opening title cards of the film read: “Russ-Field Corporation presents A Voyager Production Jane Russell, Jeanne Crain, Alan Young, Scott Brady, Rudy Vallee in Anita Loos’s Gentlemen Marry Brunettes. " Loos’s novella, But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes which was serialized in Harper’s Bazaar in 1928, was a sequel to her popular novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Both books featured the characters of “Lorelei Lee” and “Dorothy Shaw,” beautiful showgirls who toyed with the affections of wealthy men. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes served as the basis of a film produced by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953. The earlier film, directed by Howard Hawks, starred Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell (see entry). According to studio records, Fox considered protesting the production of Gentlemen Marry Brunettes because they felt that it would infringe upon their rights to make a sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In order to avoid any complications, screenwriters Richard Sale and Mary Loos (who was the niece of author Anita Loos) changed the names of the characters and much of the plot, retaining only the title and the idea of two American singers going to Paris.
       According to a 16 Mar 1953 HR news item, Sale was to direct Gentlemen Marry Brunettes for producer Alexander Korda, with Dennis Day set to star. No other contemporary information about Korda’s involvement has been found, however. In Apr 1953, NYT reported that Sale would be producing the film as an independent venture in Europe “under the banner of Film Locations, Ltd., a British company in which Montague Marks and Mike Frankovich are associated.” The article also stated that David Wayne would be one of the male co-stars, and that the picture would be shot on location in Paris, Naples, Rome, Verona, Pisa and London. On 2 Jun 1953, HR noted that Frankovich was arriving in Hollywood to finalize the deal with Sale, and that the female leads would be played by Jeanne Crain and Debbie Reynolds.
       By May 1954, HR was reporting that Sale would be producing the picture with Robert Bassler. The picture marked the first production of Russ-Field Corp., which was owned by then-husband and wife Jane Russell and Robert Waterfield, and Voyager Films, Inc., which was the company of Sale and Mary Loos, who were also married. According to an 18 Nov 1954 HR news item, distributing company United Artists supplied 100% of the financing for the picture. Although Russ-Field did produce other films, Gentlemen Marry Brunettes was Voyager's only picture.
       Although a 29 Jul 1954 item in HR's “Rambling Reporter” column announced that Keith Andes auditioned for a male lead, he does not appear in the finished film. As noted by numerous contemporary sources, the picture was shot on location in Paris and Monte Carlo, with interior sequences shot at the Shepperton Studios and M-G-M British Studios in England and the Paris Studio Cinema in France. At the end of the film, as the ocean liner carrying the reunited couples sails away, a title card reading “This is where you came in” appears. This is followed by acknowledgments for Shepperton Studios, M-G-M British Studios, and the Paris Studio Cinema.
       According to information in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the film’s MPAA certificate number was issued on the “understanding” that “the dance sequence by Miss [Gwen] Verdon, which takes place in the girl’s [sic] hotel room, is to be eliminated in its entirety.” No reason for the elimination of the number was listed, although a 23 Sep 1955 entry in the HR column “Rambling Reporter” speculated that the “real reason Gwen Verdon’s Gentlemen Marry Brunettes dances were scissored: she wore a rose in the wrong place.” In a 6 Jun 1955 DV article, Sale stated that the dance was cut because Verdon “wears a garter high on her thigh, and they didn’t like that.” Verdon was not seen in the viewed print. In the sequence in which the Casino de Paris owner attempts to persuade “Connie” and “Bonnie” to wear costumes consisting only of diamond necklaces, “Bonnie” protests, “No, thanks! The Breen Office’ll never pass it!”
       The PCA file also reveals that the songs “Clap Yo’ Hands” and “Do-Do-Do” by Ira and George Gershwin; “Where Is that Rainbow” by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers; and “My Time Is Your Time” by Eric Little and Leo Dance were considered for inclusion in the film. According to modern sources, Jeanne Crain’s singing voice was dubbed by Anita Ellis, and Scott Brady was dubbed by music composer Robert Farnon. In two 1960 LAT articles, dancer-actress Juliet Prowse (1936--1996) stated that she had appeared in Gentlemen Marry Brunettes as a dancer, but she was not discernable in the viewed print. The picture marked the feature film debut of the then teenaged Prowse, who was living in Europe at the time of its production, but her first major role was in the 1960 Twentieth Century-Fox picture Can-Can (see entry). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
17 Sep 1955.
---
Daily Variety
6 Jun 1955.
---
Daily Variety
14 Sep 55
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Sep 55
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
3 Nov 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
16 Mar 1953
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Apr 1953.
---
Hollywood Reporter
2 Jun 1953
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1954
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
29 Jul 1954
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
2 Sep 1954
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 1954
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Oct 1954
p. 17.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 1954
p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Dec 1954
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Dec 1954
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Jan 1955.
---
Hollywood Reporter
24 Mar 1955
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Aug 1955
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Sep 55
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Sep 1955
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
21 Sep 1955
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Sep 1955
p. 2.
Los Angeles Times
4 Nov 1955.
---
Los Angeles Times
13 Mar 1960.
---
Los Angeles Times
30 Oct 1960.
---
Motion Picture Daily
14 Sep 1955.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
17 Sep 55
p. 593.
New York Times
30 Apr 1953.
---
New York Times
12 Sep 1954.
---
New York Times
31 Oct 55
p. 31.
Variety
14 Sep 55
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANIES
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir, England
Asst dir, France
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Assoc prod
WRITERS
Wrt for the screen by
Wrt for the screen by
PHOTOGRAPHY
Cam op
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
Cost des
Gowns in the "loot" seq by
Cost supv
Jewels by
MUSIC
Mus supv
Mus supv
Incidental mus comp and cond
Mus ed
DANCE
Dances created and staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod supv, U.S.A.
Prod supv, England
Prod supv, England
Prod supv, France
Unit mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes by Anita Loos (New York, 1928).
AUTHOR
SONGS
“Gentlemen Marry Brunettes,” music by Herbert Spencer and Earle Hagen, lyrics by Richard Sale, sung by Johnny Desmond
“My Funny Valentine,” “I’ve Got Five Dollars” and “Have You Met Miss Jones,” music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart
“Daddy,” music and lyrics by Bob Troup
+
SONGS
“Gentlemen Marry Brunettes,” music by Herbert Spencer and Earle Hagen, lyrics by Richard Sale, sung by Johnny Desmond
“My Funny Valentine,” “I’ve Got Five Dollars” and “Have You Met Miss Jones,” music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart
“Daddy,” music and lyrics by Bob Troup
“Miss Annabelle Lee,” music and lyrics by Sydney Clare and Lou Pollock
“You’re Driving Me Crazy,” music and lyrics by Walter Donaldson
“Ain’t Misbehavin’,” music by Thomas “Fats” Waller and Harry Brooks, lyrics by Andy Razaf
“I Wanna Be Loved by You,” music by Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby, lyrics by Bert Kalmar.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Anita Loos's Gentlemen Marry Brunettes
Release Date:
October 1955
Premiere Information:
World premiere in Chicago, IL: 22 September 1955
New York opening: 29 October 1955
Production Date:
8 September 1954--early January 1955 at Shepperton Studios, Middlesex, England
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, Boreham Wood, Elstree, England
Paris Studio Cinema, Seine, France
Copyright Claimant:
Russ-Field Corp. & Voyager Films, Inc.
Copyright Date:
29 September 1955
Copyright Number:
LP5460
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Recording
Color
Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Duration(in mins):
97 or 99
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
17408
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The Jones sisters, Connie and Bonnie, are forced to leave their singing jobs at yet another nightclub because of brawl resulting from Bonnie’s habit of accepting the marriage proposal of any beau who asks her. After the sensible Connie urges her starry-eyed sister to be more practical, the girls receive a telegram from American agent David Action, who tells them that he has booked them at the prestigious Casino de Paris in Paris. The sisters leave for Europe, while in Paris, unknown to the girls, the impoverished David and his pal, would-be entertainer Charles Biddle, prepare for their arrival. David, who has written to many acts soliciting their business, knows nothing about the Jones sisters and so questions his friend, Rudy Vallee, an ex-patriate American singer who knows everyone in show business. At first Rudy thinks that David means the original Jones sisters, Mimi and Mitzi, who were Bonnie and Connie’s mother and aunt. Rudy, who remains a well-known playboy despite being middle-aged, reminisces about the blonde Mimi and Mitzi’s success in Paris in 1926. Hoping that the younger sisters will be as glamorous and flirtatious as their predecessors, Rudy joins David and Charlie in meeting the girls. The men are disappointed when the quietly dressed, brunette sisters disembark, and tell the women that they must “glamorize” themselves before attending the press conference David has arranged. Connie and Bonnie protest, and so Rudy tells them about Mimi and Mitzi’s triumphant presentation to the Paris press, during which he and the womanizing Earl of Wickenware became enamored of them, as did dozens of other wealthy men. Although Mimi and Mitzi were marginally talented, their beauty and outrageous behavior made them ... +


The Jones sisters, Connie and Bonnie, are forced to leave their singing jobs at yet another nightclub because of brawl resulting from Bonnie’s habit of accepting the marriage proposal of any beau who asks her. After the sensible Connie urges her starry-eyed sister to be more practical, the girls receive a telegram from American agent David Action, who tells them that he has booked them at the prestigious Casino de Paris in Paris. The sisters leave for Europe, while in Paris, unknown to the girls, the impoverished David and his pal, would-be entertainer Charles Biddle, prepare for their arrival. David, who has written to many acts soliciting their business, knows nothing about the Jones sisters and so questions his friend, Rudy Vallee, an ex-patriate American singer who knows everyone in show business. At first Rudy thinks that David means the original Jones sisters, Mimi and Mitzi, who were Bonnie and Connie’s mother and aunt. Rudy, who remains a well-known playboy despite being middle-aged, reminisces about the blonde Mimi and Mitzi’s success in Paris in 1926. Hoping that the younger sisters will be as glamorous and flirtatious as their predecessors, Rudy joins David and Charlie in meeting the girls. The men are disappointed when the quietly dressed, brunette sisters disembark, and tell the women that they must “glamorize” themselves before attending the press conference David has arranged. Connie and Bonnie protest, and so Rudy tells them about Mimi and Mitzi’s triumphant presentation to the Paris press, during which he and the womanizing Earl of Wickenware became enamored of them, as did dozens of other wealthy men. Although Mimi and Mitzi were marginally talented, their beauty and outrageous behavior made them the toast of Paris. Impressed, Connie and Bonnie allow themselves to be shepherded to their hotel, where Rudy, Charlie and David primp and costume them before presenting them to the press. The next morning, the Jones sisters are featured on the front page of every newspaper, and David celebrates by taking them sightseeing. Connie is annoyed at being paired off with the self-deprecating Charlie, but as they spend the day together, she realizes how kind he is and responds to his declaration of love. Meanwhile, Bonnie, who was attracted to David immediately, is irritated by his many female friends, as well as his insistence that he is a professional bachelor. Bonnie’s charms win David over, however, and David is about to propose when he is interrupted by Connie and Charlie. Quietly warning David that Bonnie has more than seventy fiancés, Connie instructs him not to mix business with pleasure. David then dismisses a puzzled Bonnie, and that night, Bonnie prepares to return home. When Bonnie declares that she loves David, Connie apologizes for interfering and persuades her to give David another chance. The following morning, Connie and Bonnie are in their dressing room at the Casino de Paris, preparing for their audition. They are plagued with stage fright, however, and Rudy tells them about Mitzi and Mimi’s opening night at the same club: Although the sisters are nervous, and their screechy singing irritates Rudy, who performs with them, their je ne sais quois captivates the audience, which rewards them with thunderous applause. Connie and Bonnie then sing for the owner, who is delighted that the girls have better voices than their predecessors. He hires the girls, but when he asks them to wear Mitzi and Mimi’s most famous costumes, which consist only of a strand of diamonds, ornamented with a butterfly, they reject the proposition and leave. As David presents them at a series of clubs, the girls are repeatedly asked to wear the skimpiest of costumes. Finally, at Monsieur Dufond’s, Bonnie surprises everyone by agreeing to perform wearing only a blue feather fan. On opening night, David bitterly asserts that Bonnie is toying with him because she knows that he is in love with her, and tells Dufond that the girls will not go through with their performance. Dufond unnerves him by stating that the sisters are already undressing, and soon the show begins. Covered by the fans and strategically placed screens, the sisters wow the crowd with their singing, but elicit booing when they reveal that, instead of being nude, they are wearing sleeveless tops and shorts. Backstage, David yells at the girls that they have been fired. After David storms off, the angry girls dine with Rudy and Wickenware. The next morning, Connie and Bonnie are awakened by the hotel manager, who lavishes upon them the many gifts sent to them by an anonymous admirer. Atlhough they covet the gowns, jewels, furs, poodles and other luxuries, the girls hesitate to accept them. Deciding that it will not count if they return the gifts after enjoying them for one day, Connie and Bonnie dress in their new finery and astonish all who see them. News of the Jones sisters’ “admirer” spreads throughout the city, and gossip about his identity reaches a feverish peak. Assuming that the girls have become the mistresses of a rich, older man, David is consumed with jealousy. Meanwhile, the sisters fear that their benefactor will feel he has a rightful claim to their affections. Unknown to David or the girls, Charlie is actually a millionaire who made an arrangement with his blue-blooded parents allowing him to pursue a show business career if he did not spend any of his money on himself. Hoping to keep Connie and Bonnie safe from “the wolves,” Charlie secretly sent them the gifts, or “loot,” as they refer to it. Charlie also surreptitiously arranges for the sisters to appear at a Monte Carlo casino, and David believes that it is through his agenting that the girls landed the job. In Monte Carlo, the male lead of the show drops out, and Charlie wins an honest chance at his break at show business. He and the Jones sisters are a hit, much to the surprise of the stage manager, who reveals to David that their appearance was pre-arranged. An infuriated David reproaches the girls when they arrive backstage, and to stop the quarreling, Rudy tells them how Mitzi and Mimi left Europe due to a bitter argument over which one of them would marry him. Before Charlie can confess his scheme, an indignant Mimi arrives and orders her daughters to return home. The men pursue the women, and when Charlie hires an airplane to follow them, he reveals to David, Rudy and Wickenware that he is a millionaire. David and his friends find the women on board an ocean liner, and while David reconciles with Bonnie, and Charlie reunites with Connie, Rudy and Wickenware eagerly follow Mimi. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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