Wednesday, February 6, 2013

341. Some Like It Hot (1959)

Running Time: 122 minutes
Directed By: Billy Wilder
Written By: I.A.L. Diamond, Billy Wilder
Main Cast: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, George Raft, Pat O'Brien
Click here to view the trailer


"We're up the creek and you want to hock the paddle!" 

The week dedicated to Billy Wilder finally comes to a close, not with "The Apartment", as was originally intended, but with "Some Like It Hot", a movie that I'd NEVER seen before and one that I was heavily anticipating.

When Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon), two struggling musicians, living in prohibition era Chicago, accidentally witness the 1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre, their lives are put in danger when the thugs responsible for the murders want to ensure there aren't any witnesses. Fearing for their lives, the two boys take a gig in Florida, playing in a hotel lounge with all expenses paid. The gig sounds pretty sweet, but there is one drawback - the act is an all girl band. So, one thing leads to another, Joe becomes Josephine, Jerry becomes Daphne (not Geraldine, as originally intended) and the all girl band have a brand new saxophone and bow fiddle player. Now, all the boys (bachelors, by the way) have to do is make sure their cover isn't blown and it's three weeks in Florida, where the mobsters will never find them. Of course, it's a screwball comedy, so they don't get off that easy. Enter the beautiful Sugar Kane (Monroe), the lead singer and ukulele player of the band and a girl both boys go ape for. First it's Jerry/Daphne who has eyes for Sugar, but he's sidetracked in Florida when an elderly millionaire falls for Joe, while spending quality time with Sugar, falls in love with her and after finding out what she looks for in men, dons another costume change, sports a Cary Grant voice and tries to win her heart, all the while changing back and forth between a female saxophonist and the millionaire, Shell Oil owner, Junior. Oh and just to add a little more excitement to the mix, it just so happens that during the three weeks the boys are in Florida, the hotel they're playing at holds a summit for all the mob bosses around the country.

I feel like a broken record here, but seriously....seriously tell me what's not to like about "Some Like It Hot"? No, I'll tell you. There's nothing to dislike about this movie. Nothing. Normally, when you watch comedies that are, lets say pre-1970s, the comedy is very different from more modern comedy. You can either adapt to it and still laugh at it or you're one of many who just can't get into "old movies" and you dislike it, citing it as "not as funny as the stuff they're doing today!". A lot of times when I watch older comedies, I can easily realize that they're of a very different brand, but can usually adapt and still have a good time. However, there are a lot of times when it's simply a different time and the jokes aren't funny anymore. In "Some Like It Hot", everything holds up well and this movie is just as funny in 2013, as I'm sure it was in 1959. It's edgy, it houses great comedic timing from both Curtis and Lemmon, it provides ridiculous situations that comedies have been relying on for decades and it's worlds better than your run of the mill, Judd Apatow curse-fest. In the recap yesterday, I took a quick look at "Superbad", a movie that I cited as being a little too crude for my tastes, but good for a few laughs. "Some Like It Hot" is good for dozens and dozens of laughs and gets it's point across on sheer comedy alone and doesn't have to resort to cheap tactics like cursing, menstruation jokes and fart jokes. As I've grown older, I've learned to appreciate the ones who could do it on comedy and comedy alone. Cursing isn't a talent folks - I can curse. What I can't do is make people laugh by holding a pair of maracas and gushing about the fact that Osgood just proposed!

As I watched "Some Like It Hot", I continually asked myself a question and I think it's a good question to ask yourself anytime you watch one of these "man dressing as a woman" comedies. Would this still be funny if they weren't in drag? If they were doing everything just as they're doing it, but they looked like Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis? The answer here is YES - easily yes! I mean, try to picture Jack Lemmon, his sensible, short haircut, in a suit (maybe the type of suit he wore to the Consolidated Insurance Company - maybe even his bowler hat), lying on a bed, gushing about Osgood's proposal and shaking those maracas. My God, I could laugh right now at the thought of that. Hey guys, it's a comedy for God's sake. It's not Tarkovsky, it's not Scorsese, it's not Bergman, it's just a damn funny movie and like I said in my "Grease" review, sometimes the best movies are the ones that just allow you to kick back and have a little fun and "Some Like It Hot" is just that kind of movie. Sometimes you want to be inspired, sometimes you want to be forced to think, sometimes you want to cry, but damn it, sometimes you just want to laugh and this movie is just what the doctor ordered for a good laugh!

RATING: 10/10  I was gonna' go '9', but who the hell am I kidding, this is a big fat '10' if there ever was one. I'm actually getting worried now that I've gone soft during my departure. Just look at the ratings since my return - only one negative review. Am I actually hoping for something bad to come along?



Normally, I'd end a director tribute week by saying a few words about said director, but honestly, I have nothing particularly insightful or wise to say about Billy Wilder, so I'll just rank his films and give him a big thumbs up, as I enjoyed certain things about all of his films!

1. The Apartment 10/10
2. Some Like It Hot 10/10
3. Double Indemnity 7/10
4. The Lost Weekend 6.5/10
5. Sunset Blvd. 6/10
6. The Big Carnival/Ace in the Hole 4/10

February 6, 2013  1:36pm


  1. I've sais something simular before.. but anytime someone says to you that watching a 'list' of movies is a bit nerdy.. just remember that you may well have gone even more years without seeing 'Some Like it Hot'
    This one has long been a favourite. I'm not usualy all that keen on Tony Curtis - or rather perhaps his roles.. but in this one.. fantastic.
    And did you spot the gag.. where George Raft spots a hood fipping a coin and asks 'where did you pick up a cheap trick like that?'

    1. NO, I didn't spot that! Again, this is one that sort of lost some it's luster in a week (or two) filled with brilliant movies (including "Le Trou", my favorite of the season so far). Still fantastic though. Pretty sure I would've even given "Heaven and Earth Magic" a '7/10', had they somehow spliced Jack Lemmon in there. Love that guy.


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