Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

"Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" is a jazz song introduced by Carol Channing in the original Broadway production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949), which was written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin. It was based on a novel by Anita Loos.

Marilyn Monroe version

Monroe sings the song surrounded by well-dressed men.

The song is perhaps most famously performed by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Monroe's character, Lorelei Lee, has been followed on a Transatlantic ocean liner by a detective hired by her fiance's father, who wants assurance that she is not marrying purely for money. He is informed of compromising pictures taken with a British diamond mine owner and cancels her letter of credit before she arrives in France, requiring her to work in a nightclub to survive. Her fiance arrives at the cabaret to see her perform this song, about exploiting men for riches. Diamonds are an element in another story line in the film, in which Lorelei is given a diamond tiara by the mine owner, in gratitude for her recovering the photographs. In a later scene, Jane Russell, who played opposite Monroe, sang "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in court, while pretending to be Lorelei.

Most of the song in the film is Monroe's own voice but she needed help in two phrases – "These rocks don't lose their shape, diamonds are a girl's best friend", and at the beginning with a series of high-pitched "no's", all of which were dubbed in by the soprano Marni Nixon.[1]

The number was later re-shot in CinemaScope, to be used as part of a CinemaScope demonstration held on the Fox lot in March 1953. Producer Darryl F. Zanuck told "Daily Variety" that it only took 3-1/2 hours to shoot the number in CinemaScope versus four days for the original film version. The public finally saw the CinemaScope version ten years later when it closed Fox's documentary tribute to Marilyn, however this has not been released on DVD or VHS.

The song was listed as the 12th most important film song of all time by the American Film Institute.[2]

Monroe's rendition of the song has been considered an iconic performance and has since been copied by other entertainers ranging from Madonna and Kylie Minogue to Geri Halliwell and Anna Nicole Smith. Madonna's video "Material Girl" uses a similar set and costumes for the singer and her male dancers.

Moulin Rouge! version


See also: Moulin Rouge!

The song is also featured in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!, in which it is sung principally by Nicole Kidman in the role of Satine, the (fictional) star performer of the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris, at the turn of the 20th century. This film version is technically a musical adaptation that director Baz Luhrmann titled "Sparkling Diamonds". Although it consists almost entirely of an adaptation of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend", this version differs from the lyrics in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in several ways. For example, it does not include the name Harry Winston in the chant of famous jewelers; rather, Moulin Rouge founder Charles Zidler's name was changed to Harold in the film, so his name replaces Winston's in the song as "Harry Zidler". Black Starr & Frost-Gorham was known by that name only after 1925, but instead of using their 1875-1925 name of "Black Starr & Frost", their name was replaced in the Luhrmann film by nonsense words (understood by many listeners as "Ross Cole;" in the 2002 DVD release, the words printed in the text captioning are "Black Star, Roscor"). And the potentially anachronistic line "help you at the Automat" was altered in the Luhrmann film to "help you feed your pussycat." Additionally, a lyrical snippet from Madonna's song "Material Girl" was worked into this adaptation of the song.

Other versions


  1. Prial, Frank J. (March 6, 2007). "Voice of the Many, but Rarely Herself". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-20.
  2. "AFI's 100 YEARS...100 SONGS". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2007-10-27. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  3. Derschowitz, Jessica (January 20, 2012). "Blake Lively channels Marilyn Monroe on "Gossip Girl"". CBS News. Retrieved January 31, 2012.

External links

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