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Admittedly biased, "Some Like It Hot" can certainly stand on its own merit
with or without my thunderous round of applause. More than a decade ago, I
had the privilege of performing both the Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon roles
in "Sugar," the musical adaptation of "Some Like It Hot" which originally
starred Tony Roberts, Robert Morse and Elaine Joyce on Broadway in the 70s.
Though it hardly compares to the film's original (how could it???), the
musical nevertheless is still a big hit with live audiences. I can't
remember ever having a better time on stage than I did with "Sugar," and
it's all due to the irrepressible talents that instigated it all.
In the 1959 classic, Curtis and Lemmon play two ragtag musicians scraping to make ends meet in Prohibition-era Chicago during the dead of winter who accidentally eyewitness a major gangland rubout (aka the St. Valentine's Day Massacre). Barely escaping with their lives (their instruments aren't quite as lucky), our panicky twosome is forced to take it on the lam. Scared out of their shoes (sorry), the boys don heels and dresses after they connect with an all-girl orchestra tour headed for sunny Florida. Killing two birds with one stone, they figure why not go south for the winter while dodging the mob? Once they hit the coast, they'll ditch both the band and their humiliating outfits.
Enter a major detour in the form of luscious Marilyn Monroe as Sugar Kane, given one of the sexiest (yet innocent) entrances ever afforded a star. Snugly fit in flashy 'Jazz Age' threads, a blast from the locomotive's engine taunts her incredible hour-glass figure as she rushes to catch her train to Florida. The boys, stopped dead in their high-heeled tracks by this gorgeous vision, decide maybe the gig might not be so bad after all. As the totally unreliable but engagingly free-spirited vocalist/ukelele player for the band, Sugar gets instantly chummy with the "girls" when they cover for her after getting caught with a flask of booze. As things progress, complications naturally set in - playboy Curtis falls for Monroe but has his "Josephine" guise to contend with, while Lemmon's "Daphne" has to deal with the persistently amorous attentions of a handsy older millionaire.
What results is an uproarious Marx Brothers-like farce with mistaken identities, burlesque-styled antics, and a madcap chase finale, all under the exact supervision of director Billy Wilder, who also co-wrote the script. Lemmon and Curtis pull off the silly shenanigans with customary flair and are such a great team, you almost wish THEY ended up together! Curtis does a dead-on Cary Grant imitation while posing as a Shell Oil millionaire to impress Marilyn; Lemmon induces campy hilarity in his scenes with lecherous Joe E. Brown (who also gets to deliver the film's blue-ribbon closing line). As for the immortal Monroe, she is at her zenith here as the bubbly, vacuous, zowie-looking flapper looking for love in all the wrong places. Despite her gold-digging instincts, Monroe's Sugar is cozy, vulnerable and altogether loveable, getting a lot of mileage too out of her solo singing spots, which include the kinetic "Running Wild," the torchy "I'm Through With Love," and her classic "boop-boop-a-doop" signature song, "I Wanna Be Loved by You."
The film is dotted with fun, atmospheric characters. Pat O'Brien and George Raft both get to spoof their Warner Bros. stereotypes as cop vs. gangster, Joan Shawlee shows off a bit of her stinger as the by-the-rules bandleader Sweet Sue, Mike Mazurki overplays delightfully the archetypal dim-bulbed henchman, and, if I'm not mistaken, I think that's young Billy Gray of "Father Knows Best" fame (the role is not listed in the credits) playing a snappy, pint-sized bellhop who comes on strong with the "girls."
For those headscratchers who can't figure out why the so-called "mild" humor of "Some Like It Hot" is considered such a classic today, I can only presume that they have been brought up on, or excessively numbed by, the graphic, mindless toilet humor of present-day "comedies." There was a time when going for a laugh had subtlety and purity - it relied on wit, timing, inventiveness and suggestion - not shock or gross-out value. It's the difference between Sid Caesar and Andrew "Dice" Clay; between Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon and Chris Farley and David Spade; between "I Love Lucy" and "Married With Children"; between Lemmon's novel use of maracas in the hilarious "engagement" sequence, and Cameron Diaz's use of hair gel in a scene that ANYBODY could have made funny. Jack Lemmon could do more with a pair of maracas than most actors today could do with a whole roomful of props. While "Some Like It Hot" bristles with clever sexual innuendo, today's "insult" comedies are inundated with in-your-face sexual assault which, after awhile, gets quite tiresome -- lacking any kind of finesse and leaving absolutely nothing to the imagination. I still have hope...
Having ultimate faith in my fellow film devotees, THAT is why "Some Like It Hot" will (and should be) considered one of THE screwball classics of all time, and why most of today's attempts will (and should be) yesterday's news.
One of the all time great screen comedies, Some Like It Hot stars Marilyn
Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon at their best. Billy Wilder, one of
all time great directors, co-wrote and directed this fantastic
Set in 1929, Lemmon and Curtis are out of work musicians who witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Fleeing for their lives, they disguise themselves as female musicians in order to get to Florida and away from the mob. This is where the fun begins.
Renamed "Daphne" and "Josephine" they try their best to keep their secret. But when "Josephine"(Curtis) meets sexy ukulele player Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe) you know he's going to blow his cover somehow. While Curtis tries to woo Monroe by pretending to be her dream man as she has told him, Lemmon is courted by Osgood Fielding (Joe E. Brown). Curtis adapts a Cary Grant accent and pretends to be frigid in the movie's funniest scenes. Lemmon seems to forget he's a boy and has so much fun with Fielding and adores the things he buys him. Between the cases of mistaken and pretend identities, the mobsters come to Florida for their Opera Lovers Meeting. It all winds up with a hilarious ending.
This movie is a gem from start to finish. Curtis, Monroe, and Brown are great in their parts. Monroe brings a funny and sexy vulnerability to Sugar and Curtis is great with his performance as "Josephine" and the stuffy millionaire who talks just like Cary Grant. Lemmon really steals the movie here. He invests Daphne with such enthusiasm that we can understand why he's falling for Osgood. He's having way too much fun and it's great to watch him. This is a true classic from start to finish. It's recommended for anyone who likes to laugh.
Some people still say this is the greatest comedy ever made in
Hollywood. Who am I to argue? Even after 45 years, it's still very
funny and not the least bit dated. It is one of the true classics in
the history of film.
I know one thing: Marilyn Monroe never looked hotter!
The film is a wonderful combination of comedy, action, suspense and romance with great old-time gangster scenes played out first in Chicago and then in Miami Beach. George Raft and Nehimiah Persoff are just great as gangsters.
The stars, though, are Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis but you can also enjoy performances from famous known actors like Pat O'Brien and Joe E. Brown.
The action scenes are in the beginning and end. In the middle, the bulk of the film, is the main story featuring comedy and romance. Lemmon has the best lines in the film and his facial expressions alone evoke lots of laughter.
This film is so famous that there is no need going into detail, but for some younger person reading this, don't worry about this being an old-fashioned, boring black-and-white film your parents or grandparents liked but you would find boring. You'll have fun watching this, too, I guarantee it.
I just saw this movie for the first time and I'm kicking myself for waiting so long!! It's a rare film that makes me laugh out loud, but I definitely made some noise watching this one! Jack Lemmon gave one of the most hysterical performances I've ever seen; add Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe, and one hell of a script and you have the classic comedy that all others must try to live up to. I'd give this move a 15 if they'd let me.
Why a man would want to marry another man? asks Tony Curtis, Security! Jack Lemmon replays without missing a beat. Clearly he had put the question to himself before and had arrived to a perfectly sensible conclusion. Everything in this gem of a movie had been thought so cleverly and as it turned out so prophetically, that the world of our three characters, a world of prohibition and gang wars could be today and more than likely will be tomorrow. Billy Wilder analyzes human nature with an acid eye and a glorious panache for underlining our most endearing features. Our frailties. Marilyn Monroes is at her pick, the sadness in her eyes a startling metaphor in a comedy about wanting. Tony Curtis with an Eve Arden's pout is so beautiful, so charming, imitating Cary Grant and trying to be himself that, in my mind he'll be always be in a frock. And, of course, Jack Lemmon, throwing himself into the part, body and should. Only perfection can allow to end its course with a line like "Nobody's perfect"
What Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis do in "Some Like it Hot" would be par for
the course in modern movies every other month, similar fish-out-of-water
movies premiere with men posing as women ("Tootsie"), women posing as men
("The Associate"), black people posing as white people ("White Chicks"), and
on and on. What makes "Some Like it Hot" different is two things: the
strength of its comedy, and the presence of Marilyn Monroe, then at the
height of stardom.
Lemmon and Curtis turn in admirable performances both as Joe and Jerry, and as Josephine and Daphne. Tony Curtis does Lemmon one better by creating a third identity, "Junior", in order to woo Sugar Kane (Monroe).
Tying the pair's story into the Chicago Valentine's Day Massacre, where a gang war spilled over into a parking garage, leaving a number of people lined up against the wall and shot, is a deft touch (though the serious tone of these gang sequences contrasts sharply with the bulk of the movie).
The movie does an excellent job building the far-fetched stakes of the movie ever-higher, from their finding refuge from vengeful gangs in a women's jazz band, to their showdown in the Florida hotel, to the eventual revealing of Curtis' and Lemmon's identities. The movie's surprisingly suggestive and risque content is at odds with the time frame of the movie, and even with the period of the movie's creation. The many smart double-entendres and plays on words are very well-written, and alternate between lowbrow and highbrow comedy,
The films only fault might be a couple of overlong musical numbers, performed either by the whole band or soloed by Sugar Kane. Though to be expected in a Marilyn Monroe film, these musical acts are literal "show stoppers" that bring the comedic momentum of the film to a screeching halt. However, it is easy to over look these minor defects in the movie as a whole, because by and large it is quite funny no wonder it s considered a classic and after all, "nobody's perfect".
Any camera loved Marilyn the best
In all her films, Marilyn dominated
any photographer not just because of her ability with a script but
ceaseless attention to the camera... More than anyone else on the set,
she knew the importance of her sex appeal
The 'fifties belonged to
Marilyn, and in that decade it almost seemed as if the world belonged
to her also
Sugar is one of Monroe's most loved and memorable character... She presents herself as a sensitive woman quick to feel compassion or affection, sensual and readily impressionable which is Sugar Kane... It was her greatest role and certainly her greatest film...
The film opens in 1929 Chicago during Prohibition, where Spats Colombo (George Raft) and his gang gun down seven men in a car garage A couple of small-time Jazz musicians witness it and flee
To avoid the mob, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) disguise themselves as women and attach themselves to an all-girl band Joe calls himself Josephine and Jerry calls himself Daphne
The orchestra takes a train to play an engagement in Florida... On board, the two men have a hard time keeping cool with all the beautiful girls around, especially during a late-night pajama party in a Pullman sleeper Needless to say, Joe falls in love with the sensual Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), a luscious ukulele player and singer with the troupe
Once in Florida, Jerry meets a really wealthy bachelor Osgood Fielding (Joe E. Brown).
Of course, Jerry is still dressed as Daphne, and the seven time divorcée proceeds to pursue Daphne Joe wants to romance Sugar but knows that he needs a wealthy front
The boys think they are safe until the gangsters arrive at the same Miami hotel to attend a gangsters' convention
Marilyn sang three songs in the film: "I'm Through with Love," "I Wanna Be Loved By You," and "Running Wild."
The movie's closing line is one of the most celebrated in movie history The film won an Oscar for Best Costume Design and was nominated for six Academy Awards
Irresistibly funny this black-and-white shot comedy is a definite must-see!
Sit back and enjoy this comedy, I don't believe in greatest this and that
when it comes to films, but boy, this is superb.
The acting here is fantastic, all actors, even Monroe are on top form.
The direction by Wilder is superb, the guy's style in this picture is perfect. He directed this film in a very clever way, by using one camera for the majority of the scenes, he could easily edit the film together without studio interference.
The script is well written. The dialogue between Lemmon and Curtis is beautifully balanced.
Monroe is just too hot for the screen in this picture. Although, Monroe had major off-screen problems (83 takes to get things right) she is fantastic on-screen. She may not have the best lines, but what the heck! She plays the role very well.
Overall, this is awesome, it really is.
A Comedy that has it all, and lacks absolutely nothing. "Nobody's perfect" may be an inherent truism, but "Some Like it Hot" is a definite somebody in the universe of cinema, thus it IS perfect in every sense. Swing, sex and slapstick, (three words that immediately come to mind when trying to describe it) , are a mix so delicious, so fruitful in its possibilities that one cannot imagine a film which can live up to them, and yet this one does. Marilyn, her trademark, displeasingly infantile voice aside, is a bombshell of thermonuclear dimensions, whose powers of titillation will not expire so long as there are hormones and/or Viagra. The sexual content, for socio-historical reasons cannot be as explicit as we've come to expect, but there's still plenty of it, from Monroe's see-through outfit to the double entendre worthy of the Farelli Brothers ("What do I do if it's an emergency ? - Pull the emergency break!" ), including overtly gay themes that have a cult following of their own. The Lemmon/Curtis duo operates with gleeful, unrestrained vitality that can only be likened to Chaplin in his heyday. Though not a Musical, the combustive energy of this movie is so stimulating it almost makes you get up and dance.
Some Like it Hot will have a Danish re-premiere on Marilyn Monroes 75th birthday June 1st 2001, and making the text for some advertising material in that connection I saw the movie again and liked it more than ever. Most comedies about men in womens' clothings have a vulgar humour. This is, of course, not the case for films like "Tootsie" and "Some Like it Hot" in which Billy Wilder using black and white instead of colours turns down the importance of the change of sex in many ways so that you can concentrate on the comedy which is extraordinarily well timed with a spiritual dialogue. The acting of Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe, not to mention Joe E Brown, Pat O'Brien and George Raft is out of this world, and of course it is possible to make a mafia war comical. Some scenes almost remind you of a Marx Brothers' movie. Like when a small berth in a train sleeping car in a few seconds is overcrowded with beautiful girls mixing Manhattan-drinks in their hot-water bottle while Jack Lemmon is desperately trying to remind himself that -- just then -- he is a girl, and Marilyn Monroe in seconds (with her back towards the camera!) produces perfect small, square ice-cubes out of a huge ice block. The music is enchanting like the Marilyn Monroe-songs which are all so well known.
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