#14 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100
Greatest American Films, Some Like It Hot was directed by Billy
Wilder and released in 1959 by United Artists.
Two musicians, Jerry1 and Joe2 are filling up
their car in a Chicago garage on St. Valentine's
Day, when they witness Spats Colombo3 and his South side
mob rub out their North side competition.
Unfortunately for our heroes, they are discovered. Although a not-quite-dead-yet mobster creates enough of a diversion for
them to get away, Joe realizes it is only a matter of time before Spats catches up with him and Jerry (especially as Jerry's bull fiddle has distinctive bullet holes).
Joe's idea? Dress up as women and join and all-girl band!
So now Josephine and Geraldine... err, pardon me, Josephine and Daphne
are on a train to Florida as members of Sweet Sue4's Society
Syncopaters. Of special interest is the gorgeous but self-destructive
lead singer Sugar Kane5 (aka Sugar Kowalczyk from Sandusky). It's all Daphne, er, Jerry, can do to keep from blowing
h..is cover, he has to keep reminding himself, "I'm a girl...I'm a girl..."
Well, that's enough of the plot, go see the movie. Suffice it
to say that Joe gets to kiss Sugar6 a lot, and a millionaire7 proposes to Daphne.
Tony Curtis has been quoted as saying "Kissing Marilyn
Monroe is like kissing Hitler"
, although this may have been out of
sour grapes as she liked Jack Lemmon more.
7Joe E. Brown
Although most people rate this movie very highly, I actually found
it difficult to watch this movie all the way through. IAE Diamond
and Billy Wilder's script reads like a frenetic Broadway play written
for the cognoscenti, with every line crafted to be scintillating.
Although it is extremely funny at times, long stretches are excruciatingly
silly. The movie is chock full of corny gangster references and "in" jokes
(such as Tony Curtis' weird Cary Grant accent), and although Marilyn
Monroe manages to be kittenish rather than sultry, it was at a tremendous
cost. Some Like it Hot was apparently utter hell to film,
with Monroe coming in to work stoned (look at her eyes) half the time,
and leaving the set at the slightest sign of stress. Billy Wilder later
said, "I've discussed this with my doctor and my psychiatrist and they
tell me I'm too old and too rich to go through this again."
Some Like It Hot was nominated for six Academy Awards, and won one, for costume design (winning movies included Ben-Hur and The Diary of Anne Frank).
Remarks about the movie's "sexual ambiguity" are way off base.
All of the characters (except perhaps one, but nobody's perfect) are
thoroughly heterosexual. Although come to think of it, Joe *did* seem
to wear that dress like he knew what he was doing, and Jerry, er, Daphne
was a quick learner. The thing that stood out in my mind, however,
was the extent to which the main characters were willing to lie, steal,
and manipulate in order to get what they wanted. Oh yes, the tactic of
pretending to be gay to get women to try to convert you was shamelessly
applied. Tony Curtis would have made a great Tom Ripley.
Cross-dressing themes were nothing new (remember As You Like it
or Charley's Aunt?), and of course the idea has been reworked
countless times since 1959 (e.g. Bosom Buddies or Nuns on
the Run). But Some Like It Hot is worth watching at least once.