Monday, February 28, 2011

Jane Russell, 1921-2011

We here at the Monkey pause to note the passing of one our favorite actresses, Jane Russell. As my big brother noted an e-mail, "in 'the day,' she was hot, hot, hot."

She was indeed.

I am of an age that my first introduction to Jane Russell was during her stint as a foundation undergarment spokesperson "for us full-figured gals," as she put it. I was a little too young to understand what part of her figure she was referring to. Later I figured it out. Hubba hubba.

Probably her most famous role was her first, The Outlaw, in which she co-starred with a cantilevered bra designed by Howard Hughes and his team of aeronautical engineers. Truth be told, it's not a very good movie and she didn't wear the bra anyway. Filming was completed in 1941, but Hollywood's censors delayed its release until 1943, with a nationwide release not coming until 1946.

"They held up The Outlaw for five years," she said later. "And Howard Hughes had me doing publicity for it every day, five days a week for five years."

Russell didn't appear in another film until 1946.

If you want to see her in something good, I'd recommend the two movies she made with Robert Mitchum, His Kind Of Woman (1951) and Macao (1952), and what I think is the best performance of her career, as a nightclub singer trying to keep her gold-digging pal Marilyn Monroe out of trouble in Howard Hawks' musical comedy Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

I know everybody remembers Marilyn Monroe's signature performance of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," but personally, give me Jane Russell.


Dawn said...

I wish that Jane Russell, had performed in more films. I thought she was great!!!

Atlanta Roofing said...

There was much more to Jane Russell than her voluptuous figure and she was a robust and amusing woman in an age when the little “wifey” was only required to be decorative. With four brothers and no sisters she was wise to the ways of men and made the sensible decision to marry her high school sweetheart, the famous football star Bob Waterfield. Her screen career was badly affected by the long contract she signed with Howard Hughes who limited her to his choice of trashy films designed to showcase her body. As she demonstrated in later years, she would have made a fine light comedienne and remained a superb raconteur and talk-show guest well into old age. Unable to bear children, she championed the excellent Federal Adoption Amendment which allowed foreign children fathered by US servicemen to be adopted in America.