Hawks creates a confusing yet reassuring panorama in which men who are cold fish desire to be possessed as warm objects, and women are friiendly, narcissistic predators who bring this about. If we try to determine which woman is smarter, the film offers only contradictory signals. Lorelei [Marilyn Monroe] spouts malapropisms and steals the tiara thoughtlessly, but is a brilliant strategist; Dorothy [Jean Russell] seems practical, but falls for a faceless lunk with no prospects and unconcernedly defends an amoral thief. Barthes saw CinemaScope as the vehicle for an "ideal POTEMKIN, where you could finally join hands with the insurgents, share the same light and experience the tragic [Odessa] steps in their fullest force... The balcony of History is ready." In contrast to this, he bemoaned the Mythology of THE ROBE, neglecting to note any incompatibility between one's ability to scan the latter and the rapid montage making POTEMKIN possible. Insofar as the "stretched-out frontality" of Monroe and Russell is seen only from the balcony of Mythology, the binocular vision of GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES is no less incomplete. Add dialectics, class struggle, and the politics of spectacle as assault -three of the linchpins of POTEMKIN- and the picture becomes fuller, more worthy of being seen from the balcony of Histoy as well: a 1950s debate on the virtues of hoarding versus sharing. The film honors both, but there's no question which finds sexier.
Jonathan Rosenbaum, "Placing movies: The practice of film criticism", pp. 101-102