Some Like It Hot

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(out of 5)


This hysterical comedy of gender-errors was recently ranked the greatest American comedy of the century by the American Film Institute. It’s a laughfest that begins when struggling musicians  and  witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre in Prohibition-era Chicago and are spotted by the gangsters who did it. To hide out from their predators, the two of them dress up as women and join an all-girl band that is travelling to Florida. Now they have to maintain their image as women while keeping their hands off the band’s featured attraction, a ukulele player named Sugar (). Hilarity further ensues when Curtis impersonates a Cary Grant-ish millionaire to impress Monroe and Lemmon catches the eye of a very rich man with many ex-wives (, who delivers the film’s classic closing line). Monroe sings some great songs from the period that have now become associated mainly with her (“I Want To Be Loved By You”, “Running Wild”), and gives what is probably her sharpest and best-timed comedic performance (an odd accomplishment considering that during filming she was so strung out on drugs and alcohol that she needed to retake shots with simple lines up to thirty times; director Billy Wilder eventually had her dialogue written on cue cards and hidden strategically on the set). The comedy still sparkles after all these years, and it’s just as entertaining as it ever was (though to be frank if I was going to watch a Wilder film I’d pick The Apartment before anything else). Rent the DVD if only to see a great interview with Tony Curtis where Leonard Maltin changes the subject like an embarrassed schoolkid when Curtis brings up Monroe’s naughty behaviour on the set.


Ashton Productions, The Mirisch Corporation

USA, 1959

Directed by Billy Wilder

Screenplay by Billy Wilder, , suggested by a story by

Cinematography by 

Produced by Billy Wilder

Music by

Production Design by

Costume Design by

Film Editing by


Academy Award
Best Costume Design (Black-and-White) (Orry-Kelly)

Nominations
Best Actor (Jack Lemmon as “Jerry/Daphne”)
Best Art Direction (Black-and-White) (art direction: Ted Haworth; set decoration: Edward G. Boyle)
Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) (Charles Lang Jr.)
Best Directing (Billy Wilder)
Best Writing (Screenplay–based on material from another medium) (Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond)

Golden Globe Awards
Best Performance By An Actress in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical (Marilyn Monroe)
Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture-Comedy or Musical (Jack Lemmon)
Best Motion Picture-Comedy

 


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