Sunday, June 5, 2011

30 Day Movie Meme: Day 23

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as Daphne and Josephine

I've written about this 1959 classic a bunch of times already. My obsession with this film has continued, unabated, for more than a year now -- ever since I watched it twice in one week and wondered why it had taken me so long to watch it in the first place.

Sure, it may not constantly have laugh-out-loud moments and it may not be to everyone's personal tastes, but Some Like It Hot has one of the cleverest scripts to ever come out of Hollywood, thanks in large part to director Billy Wilder and co-screenplay writer I.A.L. Diamond. It's so ahead of its time it's unbelievable.

The film is an absolute farce, with a broad sense of humour that revolves around a simple plot involving two musicians who witness a Mob murder and go into hiding by dressing as women and joining an all-girl touring musical band. It has a manic, high-octane energy -- everything feels as though it's moving in fast forward. Devoid of any dull moments, Some Like It Hot is as intelligent as it is hilarious. The jokes are whip-smart, the social commentary is sharp and the starring cast of Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe are all impossibly perfect in their respective roles. The most startling thing about the film is that, to this very day, it remains as fresh and relevant as it was in 1959.

Marilyn Monroe as Sugar.
How many films of the 1950s and early-1960s openly challenged traditional gender roles and sexuality the way Some Like It Hot did so effectively? The first time I watched it I was blown away by the fact that it even managed to bypass the rigid Hollywood Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines. With it's jokes about gender identity, sex and Jack Lemmon's character openly embracing and revelling in his new life as Daphne (even going so far as to accept a marriage proposal from the millionaire Osgood Fielding III), it's amazing that the film even went on to become a monster hit in 1959. Hollywood executives were left reeling, but the film remains a classic -- one of those genuinely superb films that actually deserves the laurels and praise of being labelled a 'comedy classic.'

Some of my previous entries about Some Like It Hot:
(1) 30 Day Movie Meme Day 16: Favourite Quote
(2) Hollywood Tidbits: Some Like It Hot Part I.
(3) Hollywood Tidbits: Some Like It Hot Part II.


  1. Hollywood was certainly out of control with it's 'morality' at the time wasn't it?! I'm reading a bio on Clark Gable and it was far, far worse in the 1930's! I mean the actors/actresses were made to sign a contract that even dictated what they were and weren't allowed to do in their private lives!
    I think what you have said about this still feeling 'fresh' and 'relevant' is the sign of a great film. If it stands the test of time then it was quality when made and always will be.
    Can you believe I have never seen a Marilyn fim?! I must do so at some stage. Problem is most video shops just don't stock classics like this.

  2. Funny you mention the film industry in the 1930s. I'm reading a Bette Davis bio right now and her career started in the 1930s ...the restrictions both on and off set are ridiculous. She was a strong, forceful woman who often wore the studio down, but not everyone was as strong-willed as she was about her independence. I couldn't even believe that they had little or no say in what films they appeared in, too!

    I only saw it for the first time not too long ago and I laughed out loud. Sure, there are charming and funny movies from the past that we watch now and enjoy but, really, how often do you actually laugh out loud? Some Like It Hot was so ahead of its time.

    It's not too expensive to buy. I'd recommend just owning it. You'll love it, trust me.

  3. It was ridiculous. I mean Clark Gable didn't want a bar of Gone With the Wind but was told in no uncertain terms you're in it or you're out on the street. Bette Davis was certainly one who didn't get pushed around and Greta Garbo was too valuable to the industry and she was treated as royalty.
    Yes I'm sure I would like this film, as I would anything that is more than 30 years old!! I watched the Hustler last night and was in awe of Paul Newman..just incredible!
    When funds pick up I'll have to look at purchasing DVDs because I'm seriously sick of the garbage Hollywood is churning out. I've just got home from Super 8 and believe me it was appalling!!

  4. You often have to look away from Hollywood to find great films these days. Or, if there is something coming out of Hollywood, make sure it's an indie film or directed by someone original and creative. For example, I can't WAIT to see Tree of Life next week!

    I saw Super 8 last night. Will write a review shortly.

  5. Agreed..I think the only decent films coming out of the US are Indie made. I loved Winter's Bones because of that very reason. I have a cinema here that plays alot of foreign language/classic/ indie films but it is closed until 2013 as it is being pulled down and re-built. normally I see alot more of this type of film intead of the mainstream Hollywood I'm enduring at the moment. I do like Mr. Malik so Tree of Life does look appealing.
    Will look forward to your look at Super 8. At the moment I seem to be the only one who was disgusted by it!

  6. No, Super 8 has been getting a lot of mixed reviews. You aren't alone.