Friday, 19 April 2019

Classic Film: Some Like It Hot

The greatest comedy ever made? Quite possibly. Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot turns 60 this year, and it hasn't lost a smidge of its shine in the intervening years.

Two struggling musicians. One golden opportunity. Set in Prohibition-era America, Some Like It Hot sees Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis playing Jerry and Joe respectively, a couple of Chicago jazz musicians who are down on their luck and running out of options.

When the pair witness a gangland massacre, their best chance of eluding the mob boss on their tail is to take a job in Miami – the only hitch is, the gig is in an all-girl band. Dolled up and dressed as 'Josephine' and 'Daphne', Joe and Jerry are hiding in plain sight – complete with wigs, lipstick and stilettos.

Never a dull moment, Some Like It Hot passes by in a flash. Its two-hour runtime is over before you know it, with each scene and joke flowing onto the next. From the opening sequence set in a speakeasy disguised as a funeral home to the late night party in the sleeper carriage, the snappy pace doesn't abate as Jerry and Joe stray deeper and deeper out of their depth.

By the time they're racing around their Miami hotel swapping outfits in the elevator, you'll be beaming from ear to ear. Hysterical doesn't quite do it justice – I can't imagine how the rapid cross-dressing and homosexual undertones would have played to a taboo-starved audience in 1959.

Lemmon's lustiness and Curtis' eccentricity pair perfectly, with the former fending off the advances of an elderly male suitor of his own, while the latter chases after ukulele-playing bandmate Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe).

Well established as a bonafide sex symbol by this point, Some Like It Hot is Monroe at her sauciest and her slinkiest. The film playfully leans into Monroe's status, from her cheeky introduction (starting from the legs up) to a later scene where her seductive techniques literally cause Joe's geeky glasses to fog up. Rather steamy for 60 years ago.

"Nobody's perfect" may be the last word, but Some Like It Hot is as close as they come. Curtis and Lemmon are a hysterical double act and this is peak Monroe – funny, foxy and full of energy. Mischievous, madcap and awash with feverish sexual energy and adventure, Some Like It Hot is a simple premise elevated by a trio of terrific comedic performances, with an undeniable quality that has stood the test of time.

Some Like It Hot is streaming on Stan right now.

1 comment:

  1. Hahahaha...this is fantastic. I haven't seen this film in years, but I remember being floored at how incredibly funny and brilliant it is, when our professor made this part of our Film History class. Lemmon and Curtis are incredible, but man...Monroe is incredible.

    Growing up well after she was a sex symbol, sometimes I didn't get the whole big deal about her. But then? Seeing her here? Everything just made sense. ALL OF IT.

    Such a great movie! Great post!



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