Newest Review: ... that everyone can enjoy, and worthy of ten stars out of ten! Davida Chazan © June 2011 (updated July 2011) ~~~~~ Technical Stuff: The sp... more
Getting Wilder with Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis!
Some Like It Hot (DVD)
Member Name: TheChocolateLady
Some Like It Hot (DVD)
Advantages: Oh, let's see... um... just about everything.
Disadvantages: You could become addicted to it?
The movie "Some like it Hot" is about two musicians - a bass fiddler (aka double bass) and a saxophonist - who accidentally witness the infamous St. Valentine's Day Massacre. In order to hide from the mobsters who want them dead, they dress in drag and get jobs with an all-girls band leaving town which just happens to be short exactly one sax and one bass fiddle player - imagine that! Things start to get sticky when the sax player falls for the band's lead singer (and ukulele player). But he can't woo her as a girl, so he disguises himself once again, as a rich oil magnet. To keep up appearances (and impress the girl with a yacht), he has his bass fiddle player buddy keep the real millionaire and owner of the yacht busy with a romance of their own. Throw into the mix a meeting of all the major organized crime heads (including those who are after the musicians) at the exact same hotel where the band is playing and you've got yourself one rip-roaring comedy.
Despite the obvious holes in the story line here, this classic comedy certainly has enough twists and set-ups to keep the laughs coming. While many are typical clichés, they still work. For instance, when the sax player has to make a quick change after a performance to meet the girl, of course he almost forgets to take his earrings off. Or how about when the sax player can't get the motorboat into gear and he ends up driving it in reverse all the way to the yacht? This film is just chock-full of just such fun bits.
But that isn't even the least of it. Take for instance the script. Here Wilder, who also wrote the screenplay, brings his greatest wit with a slew of lines that will make you laugh out loud, and many people quote even to this day. How about the line when the sax player tells the band leader that they're the new girls and the bass fiddle player chimes in with "brand new!"? Then there's the line when the sax player suggests the bass fiddle player distract the millionaire so he can get in a date with the singer. His immediate response is "Not tonight, Josephine"! Okay, so taken out of context this may not seem all that funny. But if you've seen the film, just remembering the look on the bass fiddler's face when he delivers the line is enough to make you laugh. Moreover, there are those who have put the origin of this phrase as having been said by Napoleon Bonaparte to his wife when he didn't want to have sex - so how appropriate that it be used to try and keep the sax player from getting into the singer's pants? Aside from that, this was also the working title of this film before it got renamed.
Wilder even put in some historical comedy when the sax player says "... Suppose the stock market crashes. Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks. Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn!" These are all things that actually happened, but only long after the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Another thing that makes this movie special is that even though this movie was made in 1959 and takes place a full thirty years before then, this ages so well, that even today's audiences would enjoy it - and not even mind it being in Black & White. Part of what makes this so is the slathering of sexual innuendo that Wilder threw into the lines combined with the most anti-homophobic ending one could ever imagine.
But the thing that makes this movie a truly sparkling star of the Golden Age of Hollywood has got to be its cast. To begin with we have the most talented sexpot of her day playing Sugar Kane - the one and only Marilyn Monroe. Although she was already having problems when she did this film, it doesn't show up in her acting. What you might see, however, is that she is quite on the chubby side here, and if you look carefully, you'll notice that in the scenes where she goes to the yacht, the back of her dress is unzipped because she gained too much weight to close it. Next in line is Jack Lemmon, playing the bass fiddle player Jerry/Daphne who didn't make the most attractive of girls, but got so into the character you actually believe he's falling for his millionaire. Together with these was the pretty boy Tony Curtis playing the sax player, Joe/Josephine. Curtis was so handsome at the time that he actually makes a beautiful looking woman! What's more, here he got to also make a nod at his own acting idol, Cary Grant, by imitating Grant's voice when he's dressed up as "Shell Oil, Junior." It is no surprise that when Curtis passed away last year that this film was named by almost everyone who eulogized him as being one of his best performances. Sadly, none of the awards seemed to recognize Tony's work here, and all the accolades went to Monroe (who got a Golden Globe for her part here), Lemmon (who won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for this film) or Wilder. The Oscars being notorious for ignoring comedies nominated both Lemmon and Wilder, but this film only went home with an Academy Award for costume design.
Despite some of the silliness in the plot, there is actually almost nothing one can fault this film for. If one was to choose the greatest film Billy Wilder ever directed, one would be hard pressed to pick any that could top "Some Like it Hot". The script is dazzlingly witty, the direction is sprightly, the movie runs along at a swift pace that would put a racehorse to shame and the acting is top-notch. Put this all together and you've got a classic comedy that everyone can enjoy, and worthy of ten stars out of ten!
Davida Chazan © June 2011 (updated July 2011)
The special edition of this film is available new on DVD from Amazon for £3.99 or through their marketplace from £2.47.
Run Time: 120 minutes
Summary: Some Like it Hot is probably one of the best comedies ever made - a true classic