Let's look at THE MOON IS BLUE, a very talky romantic comedy directed by Otto Preminger. The male leads are Hollywood veterans William Holden and David Niven. This was during the period when Holden pretty much owned Hollywood and, after having done commendable work since 1939, had finally popped as a top star. He starred in SUNSET BLVD and BORN YESTERDAY in 1950. For 1953, he'd take home the Best Actor Oscar for STALAG 17.
THE MOON IS BLUE got a lot of publicity because of archaic Hollywood production codes at that time. The censors objected to the words "virgin" and "mistress" in this comedy. The plot makes us wonder if the marriage-hungry maiden will be seduced by the middle-aged bachelor after she passive aggressively winds up in his Manhattan apartment during a rainstorm. THE MOON IS BLUE was based on a play, its claustrophobic stage roots show, and it's in black and white. Maggie McNamara, the poor dear, got big Hollywood buzz at the time. She's rarely talked about today. In THE MOON IS BLUE, the pert brunette looks like the kind of female who would've inspired THE STEPFORD WIVES in the 1970s. I guess McNamara's character, Patty O'Neill, came off cute and lovable in the 1950s. I find her calculating, self-absorbed and selfish. She's a single woman in New York City who tells the bachelor "I'm an actress" and "The kind of men I want don't grow on trees." Prim and proper Patty reveals that she wants "a middle-aged man with gobs of dough." At one point of chatter with Holden's truly charming bachelor, she comments "Men are usually so bored with virgins. I'm glad you're not." We get a chance to see her at work when she's in the bachelor's apartment after having fixed him dinner. The acting role? She's seated, dressed as a medieval character, and sings in a beer commercial that airs on NBC. When first she arrives at his apartment, Patty looks like she's taking inventory. She's scouts for items that would make her domestic life comfortable. She peers in his refrigerator and highly recommends he should be eating Finnan haddie, a high-tone fish dish.
Actress Patty O'Neill uses her virginity as a marketing tool as she establishes what kind of kitchen appliances she'd want, the kind of food she'd want in her refrigerator and what she'd expect of her financially secure middle-aged husband. At no time does Patty say what she would bring to the marriage other than her virginity and cooking skills. She never says that she will love her husband, but she does say she expects to hear him say "I love you." I cannot stand Patty O'Neill. I hope she gets the runs from her Finnan haddie.
Patty O'Neill is a single woman, "an actress" in New York City, with a desire to land herself a financially secure husband. Lorelei Lee is a single woman, an entertainer in New York City, with a desire to land herself a financially secure husband -- and love him. Lorelei is played by Marilyn Monroe in GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES. She never says "I'm an actress" yet her work on stage kicks Patty's beer commercial into total obscurity. As soon as this glittery Technicolor movie starts, we see exactly why Gene Kelly was impressed with how Marilyn Monroe moved. Lorelei Lee is a showgirl with her best friend, Dorothy Shaw. She and Dorothy (Jane Russell) are nightclub headliners and they perform "I'm Just a Little Girl from Little Rock." The choreography is by Jack Cole, renowned as one of Broadway's most celebrated jazz/ethnic choreographers. He constructed numbers for Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera. He also did film work in the 1940s and 50s. His choreography was neither plain nor simple. It popped and trained dancers did hard work making it pop. Marilyn Monroe performs Jack Cole's choreography like a pro.
Do what I did. Watch 1953's romantic comedy THE MOON IS BLUE starring Oscar nominee Maggie McNamara. Then watch 1953's romantic musical comedy, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES, starring Marilyn Monroe. Which actress would you have nominated for the Oscar?