1 March 2011 4:02 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

David Thomson salutes the work of Jane Russell, star of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, who has died age 89

For decades, wherever she went, Jane Russell was the subject of dirty jokes. She knew this in advance, and she continued to meet fate and fortune with good humour and the kind of sassy grin that keeps hope alive in the guys who tell the smutty stories. But she must have known how in Hollywood innuendo can kill you as easily as the official diseases. After all, Russell had worked with one of the great victims of the dirty joke. In Howard Hawks's gorgeous and very witty Gentlemen Prefer Blondes she had done immaculate routines with Marilyn Monroe.

You can still feel Jane's sisterly care for Marilyn on screen, and Gentlemen was one of Marilyn's happier outings. Russell had opportunities to see how Marilyn might get to be a wreck one day, »

- David Thomson

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