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Some Like It Hot

Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

Marilyn Monroe is smokin' hot in this...Tony Curtis & Jack Lemmon are riotously funny...the supporting cast is a hoot, and the shooting location exotic, but the real star of 1959's Some Like it Hot is Billy Wilder himself.

These days movie fans give a huge amount of credit to the director, but a movie is only as good as its script and if one thing is true of a Billy Wilder film, they have great scripts! Wilder's scripts often pushed the boundaries on social conventions, that's what makes his films so memorable.

Some Like it Hot
took 1950's audiences on an adult themed comic ride, while exploring male/female gender roles. It does this exploration coupled with a well though out story of 1929's Probation gangsters who rub out the competition in the infamous St Valentine's Day massacre. By combing different genres, Wilder is able to give a believably real motivation to our two cross dressing stars. His film goes much deeper than just a Milton Berle style shtick of a man in a dress...Wilder comes up with a real motivation for our two fellows to have to really live as women, so they can save their own lives! That makes a huge difference to the scope of how they act and interact, as women in the movie.

What struck me as very interesting was that Lemmon and Curtis don't hold back as female impersonators. One would expect a 1950's film to have them doing cheap gags, but the two for most of the film behave as if they were women, especially Lemmon. One of the film's funniest parts was towards the end when Lemmon has convinced himself that he's a girl (by repeating over and over) then has a hot date with veteran comic actor Joe E. Brown. The next day he/she is all giddy over the diamond bracelet and announces he/she will marry the millionaire. That prompts the line from Tony Curtis:
"You're a guy! And why would a guy want to marry a guy?"
Just the idea that Jack Lemmon living as a girl would marry Joe E. Brown must have ruffled more than a few feathers....Billy Wilder is really pushing the envelope by exploring different aspects of genderism here.

The film is fun without being overly silly, it flows without ever going astray. I loved the idea of using older actors from the 1930s to play the gangsters in this period piece film. We not only get George Raft but Joe E Brown, Pat O'Brien to name a few old timers...And then there's Marilyn in that Orry-Kelly gown, damn I though she was topless for a second! What a provocative dress! Even the back side stuns with a deep plunge right down to her assets.