User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Story, Direction
Cons:The topics may not be so cutting edge today
The Bottom Line: An extremely well done comedy from the fertile imagination of Billy Wilder with great performances from Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon, and Tony Curtis. Well worth watching.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
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Some Like It Hot (1959)
"Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It's like Jell-O on springs." Jerry (Jack Lemmon)
Billy Wilder gave us some of the most memorable movies in film history, directing movies that hit the spot in many genres, including, crime, social commentary, war, film noir, and comedy, like Some Like It Hot.
Unlike most comedies today which tend to rely on maggot-gagging references from second-rate comedians, here we see a troupe of accomplished actors putting on a comedy and doing it where everybody can enjoy it.
Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilyn Monroe are thrown together by circumstance - actually, the two guys join Monroe's all-girl band when they inadvertently witness the St. Valentines Day Massacre and need to hide, pronto. The trouble is, they have to don drag to do it and soon the fun begins as they start their train journey to Florida and oblivion from the mob and their immediate problems, they think.
Wilder has the trio in various situations that were shocking in their day but still get a rise out of audiences today. Curtis, who visually makes a much more convincing woman than Lemmon, finds out how it feels to be pinched and hears how the girls talk about "Mr. Wonderful" when he is not around. Lemmon seems to take to the girl side of things with gusto, even acquiring a millionaire suitor played by Joe E. Brown, with several hilarious sequences, including a tango, that, if it does not have you rolling in the aisles, will certainly delight you.
But it's Marilyn Monroe whose performance anchors the movie and makes it work. Monroe was difficult to work with on the set and Wilder cautioned Curtis and Lemmon to be perfect in their line readings every take as you never could tell when Monroe, notorious for line-flubbing, would do that perfect take. Monroe is a vision of sexual perfection with clothes that at times appear spray painted on. Her combination of sex appeal with utter innocence is at its peak in Some Like it Hot, even surpassing her flawless performance in The Seven Year Itch, also by Billy Wilder.
Of the three principal actors, Curtis and Monroe had the best performance of their careers, while Lemmon is right in there, also. It's just hard to place Jack Lemmon since he had so many great performances on up into his senior years, while Marilyn Monroe died young and Tony Curtis (Sweet Smell of Success) peaked fairly young.
While some of the topics have been done to death, since - transvestitism, homosexuality, etc., the movie still retains an element of humor that travels across the generations to tickle the funny bone.
The MGM Special Edition contains a well preserved transfer of the 1.66:1 black and white film that runs 122 minutes. The video and sound are crisp and there are several special features, the jewel in the crown of which is an interview with Tony Curtis by film critic Leonard Maltin.
More by Billy Wilder -
Witness for the Prosecution
The Seven Year Itch
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening