The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, January 27-February 2

Jane-RussellGentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Directed by Howard Hawks
It serves as a testament to Hawks’s pliancy that the film which exhibits the least of his auteurist signatures is also one of his greatest. In this glorious paean to female desire, Hawks sticks with tight compositions and consistent two-shots, dispensing his trademark hang-out quality in favor of showcasing the three standout tools at Hawks’s disposal: Jack Cole’s choreography, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell’s comedic chops, and Technicolor. Gags fly out at a rate comparable to His Girl Friday and many carry a Tashlin-esque relation between sound and variegated image, setting a precedent for his brand of temerity. The two leads are of course dichotomous, Monroe’s materialism serving as a cover for her affected air of distinction—the lush Technicolor lends as much vibrancy to her sparkling diamonds as it does her luminous hair—contrary to Russell’s frank lust. No matter, as the beauty of both stars is revered equally and unequivocally; the camera glues itself as closely as possible to the ecstatic bodies performing Cole’s electrifying theatrics in truly gender subversive manner—defined by the sublime number “Ain’t There Anyone Here For Love.” Eric Barroso (January 27, February 1, 7pm at MoMA’s Jack Cole retrospective; January 27 screening introduced by choreographer and filmmaker Rob Marshall)

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