I’m sure you’ve heard it before: Some movies, like most wine, get better with age. That is the case with the hilarious and totally brilliant comedy Some Like It Hot, directed and written by Billy Wilder (The Apartment) and starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and a comedic turn from Marilyn Monroe. Two men, after witnessing the St. Valentine Day’s Massacre, go into hiding in an all girl’s syncopated band. Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) dress in drag and become Josephine and Geraldine. Joe falls in love with Sugar Kane, the band’s vocalist and ukulele player. Why is this a great film?
For one, it’s still gutbustingly funny after all these years. Released in 1959, more than 60 years later, the film still remains one of the funniest of all time. In fact, the American Film Institute named Some Like It Hot as the greatest comedy of all time. This is thanks to both a great script and a spectacular cast. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, admittedly, look quite good in drag and the two trying to act as girlishly as possible (though slightly questionable to a contemporary audience) makes for some of the most memorable scenes in the entire film.
Marilyn Monroe takes on this comic role by the horns, and she does very well. Recognizing and acknowledging her type casting as a “dumb blonde”, she makes it much more than that kind of character. Sugar Kane has heart, flaws, and a lightheartedness that is rarely found in “blonde” characters today or performed so effortlessly.
Personally, the gangster scenes were a little off putting for me, but the overall pace of the film was as smooth as marble. Two hours later and you wonder where the time went. From the get go, you’re given a funny plotline and an intriguing cast. Is it the screenplay that makes the mpocvie feel so smooth, or is it the actors? Is it the direction, by famed Billy Wilder? I think all three are responsible for this wonderful time. Curtis and Lemmon nail their roles, without the characters feeling too fake or too exaggerated. Monroe is a lot of fun in this film, shining like a sparkling diamond (get it?) and singing her heart out.
This is truly a wonderful film. It’s unny, touching, and extremely enjoyable. This film is certainly not a drag!