Tag Archives: Oscars

Life Begins After Nine, Darling: RIP Jane Russell

1 Mar

Last night I risked death dusted off my stilettos to attend a fabulous Oscar party which is thrown annually by a dear friend and his partner. Perhaps it was the lovely ladies in vintage gowns, or perhaps it was because I was surrounded by the most concentrated number of gay men in evening attire I can account for in recent memory, but I woke up today with a nagging desire to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. A favorite of mine growing up, it is conveniently available to watch instantly on Netflix. I laughed at the gags and sang along with nerdy delight, completely unaware that later in the evening news would break that screen siren Jane Russell had passed away.

After seeing this movie for the first time, I remember wondering why Marilyn Monroe’s face was plastered all over and feeling cheated that I had never heard of her co-star, the inimitable Ms. Russell. Always ready with an eyebrow raise or a mouthy comeback, her sassy attitude was as plentiful as her cleavage. I took note of how she wielded her sensuality in a sly, self-assured way: whereas Marilyn Monroe wiggled, Jane Russell prowled.

If you are gay or a brassy broad and you’ve never seen this movie: slap yourself or find someone to slap you, preferably with the back of their hand. Although this movie is most famous for “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” it also boasts a brilliant piece of classic homoerotic cinema in which Jane Russell struts around tanned, muscular men in tiny beige shorts who obviously could not care less that she’s looking for a good time. After unsuccessfully getting any of the men to pay attention to her, she pouts and winds up getting tossed in a pool. Then, to prove they are not total queens, the men pull her out of the water and somebody brings her a DRINK. Basically, it’s four years of my life condensed into three minutes and one fierce jumpsuit.