On the surface, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a brassy, garish, colorful musical comedy featuring two rather lightweight actresses, Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Ultimately, however, director Howard Hawks uses the nature of the material and the glossy stars to an interesting, paradoxical effect. The film lacks strong masculine characters and any sort of traditional morality; it's dominated by the superficial. The two main characters are sex symbols who, in true Hawksian fashion, have their sex-appeal turned on its head. Monroe's first starring success came the year before, in Niagara, and she had also shown a flair for comedy in Hawks' Monkey Business; but Gentlemen was the first time she proved that she could truly charm an audience, something which she continued to do through 1959's Some Like It Hot.