Some Like It Hot (1959)

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Directed by Billy Wilder
Written by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
1959/USA
Ashton Productions/The Mirisch Productions
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental
#354 of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die

Sugar: Real diamonds! They must be worth their weight in gold!

I have this movie practically memorized and it still seems like the first time every time. That’s my definition of a classic.

It is Roaring Twenties Chicago.  Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are buddies and play bass and sax respectively for jazz bands.  The speakeasy where they are working is raided, leaving them dead broke.  The only work being offered at the time is with an all-girl band.  When they inadvertently witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, this option begins to look very good.  The bad guys are on their trail and a three-week stint in Florida seems like just the ticket.  So the boys dress up as Josephine (Curtis) and Daphne (Lemmon).  When the guys get a look at the band’s singer, Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), they feel like they have been dropped into a pot of honey.

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The movie follows the guys’ comic romances as both attempt to woo Sugar amid the continued threat of the gangsters.  Daphne finds love, or at least security, from an unexpected source.  With George Raft as the head of the mob and Joe E. Brown as a dirty old millionaire,

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Okay, so what makes this a perfect movie?  Well, there are no dead spots in two hours of running time.  The one-liners come so fast and furious that if you don’t find one gag funny there is one seconds later that you surely will.  The leads are fabulous. The men manage to carry off the drag while still seeming masculine and Monroe is as luscious as a ripe peach.  Lemmon was an inspired clown and got robbed at Oscar time.  Curtis manages to combine romance, sex appeal, and fun in one package.  I unreservedly love and recommend this movie.

The Blu-Ray contains a good commentary by screenwriter Diamond’s son and a screenwriting team that has drawn inspiration from the film.

Some Like It Hot won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black and White.  It was nominated in the categories of Best Actor (Lemmon); Best Director; Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium; Best Cinematography, Black-and-White; and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black and White.

Trailer

6 thoughts on “Some Like It Hot (1959)

  1. This is a hard one not to like. It’s also one of the reasons that I regularly think of Billy Wilder as one of the truly great directors of all time. He could produce something this funny and also do something as devastatingly wicked as Double Indemnity. The man was at home in a lot of genres, and that’s not something a lot of directors can say.

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