Saturday, December 8, 2007

Some Like it Hot

Some Like it Hot; Comedy, USA, 1959; D: Billy Wilder, S: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Neremiah Persoff, Joan Shawlee

Chicago, '29. Jerry and Joe are a couple of musicians who play at a party that gangster Spats masked as a funeral, but then a raid surprises everyone and many get arrested. Jerry and Joe save themselves, but witness how Spats eliminates the traitors. Since they are now hunted by the mafia, they decide to dress up as women Josephine and Daphne, thus joining an all woman band heading for Florida. In the train, they meet the blond Sugar in which Joe falls in love with. Once in the hotel, Joe masks into the kind of guy Sugar fall on, namely into a millionaire with glasses. In the meantime, the rich Osgood flirts with Jerry as Daphne. When Spats and his gang show up, they recognize them but get killed because they were unfaithful. Joe admits everything to Sugar and they fall in love and run away together with Jerry in a boat.

The reputation of "Some like it Hot" is extremely high: AFI names it the best comedy on it's list "100 years...100 laughs" and no. 14 on it's list of best movies of all time, it became a huge hit and critical success, it was nominated for 5 Oscars, won a BAFTA (best actor Jack Lemmon) and 3 Golden Globes (best motion picture - musical or comedy, actor J. Lemmon, actress Marilyn Monroe). Still, all that can't disregard the fact that the film isn't particularly funny (in fact, some of Wilder's own dramas were funnier), that it's start is awfully slow and that it's rather overrated, just a very good comedy. Wilder's transgender concept wasn't that inventive as let's say "Tootsie's" was while the coiled Lemmon and Tony Curtis are not particularly convincing as women, but overall it's still a rather cute comedy with a brave premise for the conservative 50s that ridicules macho behavior and gives insight into how it is to be a woman in a man's world.

Even though many gags are too tame to ignite by today's standards, there is still one hilarious, laugh-out-loud sequence that hits just the right tone: when Joe, pretending to be a millionaire, is trying to seduce Sugar (very good Marilyn Monroe) on a yacht, she tells him she once "sold kisses for the milk fund" and then they start kissing. Cut to the next morning back on the shore, after they were obviously kissing the whole night, Joe asks her: "How much do I owe the milk fund?" and she says: "850.000 $", upon which he replies with: "Let's make it an even million" and kisses her some more. Truly, a hilarious, pure Wilder dialogue. Actually, right in the next scene there's the second best gag, when Joe enters his apartment and spots Jerry dresses up as Daphne smiling and saying: "I'm engaged!" Joe asks him: "Who is the lucky girl?" and he flat out says: "Me!" If at least there were more these kind of juicy lines: this is a classic, but it could have been better made.


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