Some like it Hot (1959)
I Like it Hot
Get a load of that rhythm section - Jerry
"Some like it Hot" is one of those movies where the stars aligned themselves to deliver one of the funniest movies in cinema's history. From the direction of Billy Wilder, the simple farce, the comedy and the performances from Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe everything works in tune with each other to make a brilliant movie, maybe one which you can quibble is overlong at 2 hours but still one which is fun to watch not just once both over and over again. As such it's no shock when you see "Some like it Hot" crop up on so many top 100 movie lists and rightfully deserves it's place.
Jerry (Jack Lemmon - Glengarry Glen Ross) and Joe (Tony Curtis - Winchester '73) are struggling musicians who will take pretty much any job offered, which is a good thing as when they witness mobster Spats Colombo (George Raft - Ocean's Eleven) murder another gangster they are forced to flee Chicago for their lives by masquerading as female musicians. Joining up with an all female band heading for Florida they discover that whilst they may have escaped Spats for now they have other problems. Jerry finds himself being propositioned by an elderly millionaire and Joe falls for singer Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe - The Seven Year Itch) causing him not only to masquerade as a woman but also as a wealthy oil heir so that he can woo her.
At it's heart "Some like it Hot" is a farce and as you would expect from any good farce the storyline is in fact quite simple. What we get are two musicians who witness a murder and then pretend to be women to try and escape but this leads to more difficulties when not only does one of them get some male attention but the other ends up falling for one of the female acquaintances they end up travelling with. And in typical fashion it comes full circle with these two men disguised as women finding their lives in danger before everything sorts itself out. It is very simple and intentionally so because "Some like it Hot" is a comedy, a farce where the humour comes not from these two men trying to escape but from the issues which occur as they masquerade as women.
Now it has to be said that I am sure "Some like it Hot" must have caused quite a stir when it was originally released because it does have a risque element which seems to push boundaries. From Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dressing as women for the majority of the movie through to Marilyn Monroe oozing sexuality from every pore in her body it does come across as very different to what you would have expected in the years before it was released. But it works and it is great fun throughout especially with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis delivering scene after scene of great comedy dressed as women. Plus as the storyline evolves and Jack Lemmon is propositioned by a millionaire and Tony Curtis masquerades as a wealthy oil heir to woo Marilyn Monroe you can't stop laughing, especially as Tony Curtis delivers a comical Cary Grant impression.
The thing is this all works and is great fun as it pushes boundaries but being simple with gag after gag coming from Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dressed as women it does end up repeating itself. And in doing so it does end up making "Some like it Hot" 2 hours long which for me is a little longer than needed with it feeling drawn out in places just to squeeze another gag in which isn't really necessary. But it's a minor quibble of what is otherwise a perfect movie.
What makes it perfect is not only that director Billy Wilder fills it with a great rhythm but the performances of Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe. Lemmon seems in his element pretending to be a woman and delivers scene after scene of laughs especially when he finds himself surrounded by so many attractive women. And whilst Lemmon succeeds in delivering the cross dressing laughs Tony Curtis scores when he pretends to be a dapper millionaire with his character so obviously inspired by Cary Grant. But Marilyn Monroe doesn't let the side down as whilst once more she is playing the dumb blonde you have to say what a dumb blonde she is because she makes us lover her. The innocence she delivers is brilliant and also funny whilst also oozing sexuality that is seriously hot.
What this all boils down to is that "Some like it Hot" is a great movie, a brilliant comedy and one which rightly belongs on any top 100 movie list. Ignoring the minor quibble of it feeling a bit too long it is otherwise perfect and watching Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis masquerading as women is just hysterical. But it is Marilyn Monroe who seals it off with what for many is her finest performance delivering this loveable blonde with a barrel load of sexuality.
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