There are few comedies that have stood the test of time as well as Some Like it Hot. With Billy Wilder’s writing and direction, the pacing is as snappy as the gags. With Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as a pair on the run resorting to disguising themselves as women, the laughs come frequently and easily. And with the unforgettable Marilyn Monroe steaming up the screen and complicating the duo’s plan, we are in for a wild and delightfully screwy ride.
Joe and Jerry (Curtis and Lemmon) are two musicians who had just found work in Chicago, but when the police bust a speakeasy run by the notorious mobster Spats Colombo (George Raft), they are out looking for work again. They hear of a band heading to warm sunny Florida looking for a bass and a saxophone, perfect! Only problem is they are looking for women. Then Joe and Jerry witness Spats and his boys whack a few guys off. Desperate to get far from Chicago, they disguise themselves as a couple of chicks and take jobs in the all girl band, where Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe) is the lead singer/ukulele player.
Watching Curtis and Lemmon try to be girls is a hoot. Just the image of their man-shaped calves trying to stay afloat in heels puts me in stitches. When Lemmon realizes he is a disguised rooster in the hen house, the temptation is almost too much. The slumber party side of these girls suddenly coms out, and suddenly he is not too happy about having a dozen pretty ladies in his bunk. Down in Florida, the shoe goes on the other foot and the boys have to deal with men pursuing them. Lemmon on his tango date with the short millionaire Osgood (Joe E. Brown) are some of the funniest moments in the film. And the bellboy who hits on Curtis is wonderfully outrageous, “That’s the way I like ‘em, big and sassy!”
But the greatest treat in Some Like it Hot is Marilyn Monroe. She is the perfect woman, complete with a flask strapped to her thigh, a weakness for saxophone players and can lob back one liners with natural ease. Her presence on the train makes our boy’s disguises much more difficult and inspires further identity deception when Curtis disguises as a young millionaire to lure her in. Isn’t it funny how a girl can seem so innocent to sex, yet the very icon of it. That is the hook of Monroe’s charm, especially in the scene where she sings, “I want to be loved by you.” Her dress is practically see through, just barely covers and the spotlight hovers just above her neckline, tantalizing those trying to get a better look. She is what boys dream of and acts like she doesn’t even know it.
Really, the film is all about sex, but Wilder could not just come out and say in in 1959, so it is disguised with this tale of men in hiding. Whatever, Spats and his gang are only really interesting if they kill our heroes or bring in new girls. Joe lusts for Sugar. Jerry is being lusted over by Osgood. And sweet Sugar seems to think she only wants money, oh silly girl.
When it came down to the Academy Awards, Some Like it Hot came up with six nominations (Best Writing, Cinematography, Director, Art Direction and Lemmon for Best Actor), winning one award (Costume Design). But for the Best Picture category, things were kept to a more serious crowd. That has not effected this film’s fame or love, however. AFI ranks Some Like it Hot at the top of their 100 Laughs list. Today, all generations are still busting their guts over this glorious gem of classic comedy.
“Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.”
a real hoot….love watching the film….even though mm was a bit overweight at the time….she looked her best in years in the clips from “something got to give”…too bad it was never finished…..
I’m all for ladies having a little meat on their bones, but yes, it’s a shame Something’s Got to Give went unfinished.
Proabbly the fact that he couldn’t come out and say its about sex is what made it so great, since he had to be much more artistic about it.
Marylin Monroe was amazing in this movie. It made me really understand the iconic status that she had back them.
And how about that final scene on the boat? Man, that cracks me up!
That is probably one of the best movie endings ever. Perfectly hilarious.
Best ending is subject to argument, but definitely the funniest. But one reason it’s so funny is because of everything that came before it.
I’m looking forward to more snubbed films. There are a lot of good ones.
This movie is hilarious! Though it took a couple of times to watch it to really appericate how much I like it. And those times were very spread out, I’m talking years! But yes the final scene on the boat is the best! Cracks me up every time!
Thanks for the comment Christine. 🙂 I think the first time I saw this I wasn’t prepared for how funny it was going to be. I may have laughed soda through my nose in my friend’s dorm room when the train sprayed steam at Monroe.
one of my favorite movie it was so funny