Five Must Binge Jane Russell films on TCM including The Outlaw, His Kind of Woman, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Written by: Tami Goveia – April 27th, 2020 6:36pm pst

POPCORN TALK NETWORK: Classic Gems

“Don’t get confused between my personality and my attitude. My personality is who I am, my attitude depends on who you are.” ~ Jane Russell

Jane Russell was an American film actress born on June 21, 1921 in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her big break came in Howard Hughes’ film, The Outlaw however, it was her sultry and dynamic portrayals ranging from classic film noirs to Hollywood’s American musical comedies like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes that proved her diverse talents. She was a woman with a solid work ethic, a strong religious faith and a no-nonsense attitude. Despite the rampant sexism running Hollywood Jane knew how to play the game while standing up for herself and being a champion for other women who didn’t know how. All this has solidified her status as one of Classic Hollywood’s film icons and pioneering women in Hollywood. 

In tandem with Turner Classic Movies we’re spotlighting Jane Russell for the month of April. Here are 5 Must See films starring Jane Russell that we think are binge worthy:

The Outlaw 1943

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“They held up ‘The Outlaw‘ for five years. And Howard Hughes had me doing publicity for it every day, five days a week for five years.” ~ Jane Russell

Signed to a 7 year contract with RKO Studios and producer/director Howard Hughes, this was Jane Russell’s breakthrough film. The story of Billy the Kid, this “American Western” directed by Howard Hughes (Howard Hawks served as an uncredited director) turned the young actress into a sex symbol and a Hollywood icon. Hughes did everything in his power to shatter the conventional western movie constructs. Instead of focusing on horses and cowboys he spotlighted Jane’s plentiful cleavage and obvious “assets.” In doing so, the film was targeted by the Hayes Office, responsible at the time with upholding the “moral fiber” of motion pictures. Demanding changes to the script and its “racy dialogue and situations,” Hughes did what he did best, ignored what people told him. Upon release Censors lambasted the film. Naturally, the controversy drove the masses into the theaters making The Outlaw a success and Jane Russell a star.

Go to tcm.com for a film review and synopsis of The Outlaw by movie critic Leonard Maltin.

The Paleface 1948http://www.tcm.com/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BULkWOgBW9e/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link”This picture was a complete package. No lines were changed, one director, always on schedule, and no sweat. What a pleasure! I thought, “So this is how movies are made? I can’t believe it.” It was fun from morning till night.” ~ Jane Russell

What do you get when you pair the comedic brilliance of Bob Hope and the effervescent Jane Russell, playing gunslinger Calamity Jane? A comedy team surprisingly made in heaven, an Oscar nomination and Oscar win for best song “Buttons and Bows.”

Go to tcm.com for a film review and synopsis of The Paleface by movie critic Leonard Maltin.

His Kind of Woman 1951

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“Miss Russell was a very strong character. Very good-humored when she wasn’t being cranky.” ~ Robert Mitchum

His Kind of Woman  paired the sultry sensuality of Jane Russell and Robert Mitchum. It would be the first of two films that they would work on together (a friendship that lasted a lifetime) The story concept was ludicrous. A film noir heavy on melodrama and traditional dark violence but hey, let’s throw in some over the top comedy, by Vincent Price none-the-lessn and since none of this makes sense we’ll add a few musical numbers (all performed by Jane herself.) 

Don’t be judgy. 

Through the genius of supporting cast members like Vincent Price, the undeniable chemistry between Mitchum and Russell, and visionary director John Farrow, it’s a film of Jane Russell’s and for noir enthusiasts that should not be missed.

Go to tcm.com for a film review and synopsis His Kind of Woman by movie critic Leonard Maltin.

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes 1953

“Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.” ~ Jane Russell

While most people associate Marilyn Monroe with this film and her sultry musical number Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend it’s Jane Russell as Dorothy Shaw, the brunette to Marilyn’s blonde Lorelei Lee, who shines just as bright. Jane was intentionally hired by 20th Century Fox for her even tempered disposition. The studio believed she would counter Marilyn’s reputation for being late and erratic behavior. The two became fast friends with Jane nicknaming Marilyn Blondie, and was often the only person who could coax Marilyn out of her trailer and escort her to set. 

Go to tcm.com for a film review and synopsis of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes by movie critic Leonard Maltin

The Las Vegas Story 1951

While considered a less than stellar film by critics it’s a favorite for classic film fans. It stars Vincent Price as a gambler with Jane Russell as his wife who left Las Vegas because of her shady past.  You can guess what happens when they pay a visit to Sin City. They could lose everything especially when her past (Victor Mature) catches up to her. 

Go to tcm.com for a film review and synopsis of The Las Vegas Story by movie critic Leonard Maltin

All these films and MORE can be viewed by going to tcm.com. Look for your service provider to watch your favorite classics and/or purchase them for your personal DVD/Bluray library. A TCM monthly schedule of classics is at your disposal so you can binge away. Now is the perfect time to watch your favorites and catch new films that will surely become some of your favorites! Cozy up in your Classic Film Corner with a glass of wine, hot cup of coffee or whatever libation that will join you on your Classic Film journey. Cheers!

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About The Author:

Tami Goveia is a producer, writer and entertainment host for AfterbuzzTV. Classic film and television are her passion, napping is her indulgence and saving all rescues is her mission.

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