Some Like It Hot (1959)

 

You can uke my lele anyday!
You can uke my lele anyday!

Genre: Comedy

Starring: Marilyn Monroe (The Asphalt Jungle The Seven Year Itch), Jack Lemmon (The Apartment The China Syndrome) &  Tony Curtis (The Defiant Ones Sweet Smell of Success)

Directed By: Billy Wilder (Sunset Blvd. Ace In The Hole)

Overview: Down-on-their-luck musicians on their way to a paying gig find themselves hapless witnesses to the Saint Valentine's Day massacre. Now on the lam, they disguise themselves and join an all-girl band on their way to Florida. 

Once upon a time, there was a movie that became known as America's best comedy. She was the world's most beautiful movie and everyone loved her, including me and Mr. President too, and yes, I admit that I was eagerly awaiting looking up this movie's stats after enjoying watching her so much. Some Like It Hot was a sexy bombshell, and I can't think of the last time I saw such a sexy movie squirm around so seductively - dare I say gaudily? And all this during the Hayes Code Era. After watching Some Like It Hot, you could certainly tell that Hayes' old dusty tome was starting to fall apart and showed signs of needing replacement... But where are my manners? Let me tell you why Some Like It Hot.
We begin in that lovely and tragically dry era of prohibition, when gangsters ruled and those that suffered most seemed to be those musicians who were employed at underground gin joints when the police raids hit. Our two heroes, now looking for a paying gig after getting theirs busted, drift around from agent to talent agent, being turned down for varying reason, including "sorry boys, you gots tallywackers". Finally accepted for another one-night band, their hurry to their job. On their way, they just so happen to witness the Saint Valentine's Day massacre. This, sadly is not an endearing trait, and with Some, Like, Italians Hot on their tails, they have to go on the lam. Lucky for Joe and Jerry that they conveniently fall into that perfect place where escape and disguise meet work and play. They dress up as ladies, join an all-girl band, head down to Florida, successfully fleeing their would-be silencers. From here we explore their ruse, their relationships, and the eventuality of a series of climactic events that may bring forth ending credits. Most importantly however, we also explore many several inches of Marilyn Monroe, including the way her lips quiver just-so when she speaks.
This is the *hot* of which they spakeDamn.
I'll add though that something fundamentally... funny was missing from this AFI's #1 Comedy ever. I'm glad I didn't know that stat going in because I'd have expected a lot more. I'll chalk it up to the fact that cross-dressing's very presence no longer immediately and constantly illicits titters from its audience. If you doubt me just watch White Chicks, which I know is not funny even though I've never seen it. Admittedly, I will agree in the words of the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die  book that the mix of Jack Lemmon letting loose as a woman combined with Tony Curtis in his tight, nigh-embarassed role makes for a great pairing. Add the Monroe variance into the mix and you can't lose. Currently on IMDb's Top 250 it sits at #79 and #14 on AFI's Top 100 too. It also won the Oscar for Best Costume Design, but who but Edith Head cares about that?
Let me give you the only genuinely important statistics of
Some Like it Hot:


Yeah. So what if it's not actually all that funny? Annoying your film-mates at your local Repertoire / Grindhouse theater with constant moaning and seat-shifting, especially during ukulele numbers has its own merit, most notably mentioning it to your blog readers.

Sadly this shot is symbolic of the whole film - the men are too ofter IN THE WAY.
Sadly this shot is symbolic of the whole film - the men are too ofter IN THE WAY.

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 8 Script: 6 Plot: 7 Mood: 6

Overall Rating: 70% ("well, I guess some like it hot.  But personally, I prefer classical music.")
Aftertaste:
How this movie came to be known by AFI as the funniest Comedy ever is absolutely beyond me. Our lovely guide in this adventure, the 1001 book, has again delivered a heavy dollop of reason to the question that would otherwise have been a real head-scratcher: 'why is this actually THERE, again?':
"The 1950s top sex goddess at her most enchanting, Monroe's forlorn-funny turn... is mythic."

 

Billy Wilder, for his part, long ago became the sort of director that I realized I needed to make a completist study on. Even with so much RomCom under his belt, with perfect films like Ace In The Hole he's quickly becoming the sort of director that I know will just plain enrich my life. He'll get his own Filmsquish page one day. You'll see.

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"How this movie came to be known by AFI as the funniest Comedy ever is absolutely beyond me".

I'm with you on that assessment. While I did find this to be an enjoyable film, it was far from one of the funniest comedies i've ever seen.

I suspect that without Marilyn's star in this one - that it wouldn't have the critical acclaim.


You got my vote Klaus, without her, this movie'd never have made 1001, I firmly believe that.


It's really sad how society has changed the way we look at beauty.  I mean obviously I agree Monroe is beautiful but I do remember thinking to myself while watching 'she's kinda hefty, they would never cast her these days'. 


Actually, after the first screening, people were very enthusiastic about the two male stars, but they shook their heads over Marilyn having let herself go (i.e. being too fat). I don't think our views have changed quite as much as people make a deal about. 

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