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REVIEW: Some Like it Hot (1959)

Some Like it Hot (1959) Review

“Now you’ve done it” – “What” – “You’ve tore off one of my chests”

“I’m engaged” – “Congratulations who’s the lucky girl?” – “I am.”

“But you’re not a girl! You’re a guy and why would a guy wanna marry a guy?” – “Security”

“Water Polo, isn’t that dangerous?” – “It sure is. I had two ponies drowned under me.”

“You can’t make an omelette without breaking an egg”

“Joe something tells me the omelette is about to hit the fan”

“I’m a boy, I’m a boy, I wish I were dead, I’m a boy oh boy am I a boy”

What’s the movie? Some Like it Hot of course. The genius that was Billy Wilder wrote and directed this classic in between Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and possibly his biggest hit also starring Jack Lemmon; The Apartment (1960). Some Like it Hot remains one of cinemas best comedies and was named the funniest movie of all time. Though in black and white it looks better for it and has not dated at all.

The film stars Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as two financially struggling musicians who witness a gang related murder and have to go on the run. They do this by accepting the only job they can, playing the saxophone and bass fiddle for a girls band travelling to Florida. Hang on a minute I can hear your confusion how can they join a girls band? To escape the gangsters Curtis’ Joe and Lemmon’s’ Jerry become Josephine and Daphne and hilarity ensues. They are joined in this band by Marilyn Monroe at her finest and in one of her most memorable roles as Sugar ‘Kane’ Kowalczyk. Monroe; the definition of sex appeal in 1959 when the movie was made, was at the height of her celebrity status. So therefore it is no surprise that both men are vying for her affection, this would be rather difficult as women. So adding to an already excellent plot Curtis becomes a young millionaire with glasses, blazer and a suave Cary Grant accent who owns Shell oil, in the hopes of snaring Sugar who is determined to marry a rich man with a yacht. While Curtis is playing/wooing Sugar Jerry/Daphne is being wooed/harassed by an old millionaire played brilliantly by Joe E. Brown. Everything is going great, though bizarrely until the gangsters arrive in town, with a chaotic zinger of an ending Billy Wilder ties everything up and delivers the best last line of any comedy movie ever made;

“You don’t understand Osgood I’m a man”, – “Well, nobody’s perfect” That might be so, but what is perfect is this film, it hits all the right beats, the performances are spot on, the writing could not be better; there are so many quotable lines in this movie, as Tony Curtis stated in an interview; there was no need for improvisation it was all in the script. And Billy Wilder proves he really was one of the best Directors in Hollywood and I believe he remains so to this day.

Tony Curtis the last surviving cast member died in 2010, all that we have left is the movie itself but boy what a legacy to film and comedy it is. If you haven’t seen this film, I strongly recommend when you finish reading this, you sit down and watch it, you won’t be disappointed. This is Hollywood at its best.

Looking Back

I wrote this review in 2014, and though the writing is a little sketchy in parts I still totally agree with my conclusions. This remains my favourite of Billy Wilder’s films; which is saying something because he has an amazing body of work. It is also extremely high on my list of both comedies and old Hollywood classics. It has a superb cast, they never get old, the performances are pitch perfect and the script, well it is one of the best comedy scripts ever written. Writers could do a lot worse than going back and watching this gem for some pointers. This film is a lot of fun, I think I’ve just talked myself into a rewatch.

Mary Gascoyne
A qualified film studies teacher who's not teaching film but loves to share thoughts and discuss all things cinema. My absolute favourites are The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Titanic and When Harry Met Sally - always will be. Trying and failing to divide my time between my love of reading, watching movies  and avidly supporting the Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots and LA Dodgers.