SOME LIKE IT HOT (NR, 122 min., B&W, Released May 29, 1959 United Artists)
Woody Allen was once asked to name a film he always has to defend not liking. He answered – “Some Like It Hot”.
Some Like It Hot is (in my opinion) the creakiest of the big films in the Billy Wilder Canon. It simply cannot stand up next to Double Indemnity, Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard, and The Apartment. Yet there it is, coming in on AFI’s Top 100 at #16. And it is almost universally praised and glowingly reviewed.
There are things I like about Some Like It Hot. The inside jokes, for one — the nod to Jules Stein and MCA’s origins, Curtis’s playful Cary Grant impersonation, George Raft playing George Raft. I still marvel at the bawdy jokes and gags they were able to get into the film in 1959. Ms. Monroe’s wardrobe alone is a physics-defying feat worthy of mention. Her performance is sweet and has some nuance to it, sad and poignant in retrospect. I.A.L. Diamond delivers a taut and competent screenplay, but that’s to be expected. His screenplay for The Apartment is flawless.
Some Like It Hot feels to me like a curious museum piece, interesting in part, entertaining at moments, completely of another time. In fairness to the filmmakers the film was made in 1959 and set in 1929. They were having a bit of fun making an “old fashioned” movie about those pre-Crash, Prohibition-skirting, Roaring Twenties. But all that makes it feel that much more of a relic to me.
Wilder’s fondness for kicker last lines is famously on display here. And it is the perfect capper for Jack Lemon’s over the top performance.
Director: Billy Wilder, Writers: Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond (Screenplay), Robert Thoeren, Michael Logan (Story), Producer: Billy Wilder Cinematographer: Charles Lang Jr. Composer: Adolph Deutsch, Editor: Arthur P. Schmidt
CAST: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, Pat O’Brien, Joe E. Brown
Watched on DVD from MGM Collector’s Series
*Most Mondays I watch a classic or historically significant movie that falls into one of these categories: 1) Have never seen it, or 2) Have never seen it uncut, or 3) Have only seen it once, or 4) Haven’t seen it in a very long time.
Some information from: IMDb Pro, BoxOfficeMojo