Sight and Sound Top 250 – #043 Some Like It Hot (1959)

Yeah, I really am trying to get caught up on writing about some of these. This time around, it’s #43 on the list, Bily Wilder’s Some Like It Hot. And as always I’ll just note that for those just joining us, you can find a full introduction to what the Sight and Sound Top 250 list is, and a look at the complete list of the movies on it, along with links to the ones I’ve already written about here. And, if you want to be sure not to miss any of these posts, just head on over to the Facebook page and give it a “like”or follow me on Twitter (both of those links are also in the sidebar) where I post anytime one of these – or anything else on the blog, along with just random other links and thoughts that may not make it into full posts – goes up. Trust me, if you’re not following one or the other (or both), you’re not getting the full Durmoose Movies experience.

hot1Billy Wilder’s output was so prolific that there was a point where I actually considered doing a bi-weekly series of posts called “A Year with Billy Wilder”. With 79 credits as a writer and 27 as director, covering pretty much every genre of film, it certainly seemed like a do-able proposition, but eventually I gave up on the idea, deciding to focus on other things instead. Nonetheless, the man was certainly a prolific film maker who often, I think, doesn’t get the credit that he deserves.

Fortunately, both for him and for us, he was able to strike gold more than a few times, and he certainly did with Some Like It Hot.

hot3Of course, when you have a starring cast like Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon accompanied by such stalwarts as George Raft, Pat O’Brien and Joe E. Brown, along with a screenplay which Wilder co-wrote with I. A. L. Diamond and a soundtrack full of wonderful songs, it would be pretty hard to go wrong.

Oh, and throw in the fact that Lemmon and Curtis spend much of the movie in drag and Ms. Monroe spends much of the movie in… well, let’s just say a lot less than Curtis and Lemmon,  and yeah, you’re pretty much destined to have a hit.

hot2It actually seems almost beside the point to note that alongside all of that, the movie is also very, very funny.

The plot itself is actually fairly simple: Lemmon and Curtis are two down on their luck musicians who, unfortunately for them, witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. Spotted by one of the gangsters carrying out the shooting, they go on the run, eventually disguising themselves as women and joining up with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators, an all female band. It would seem as though the boys have found the perfect way to get out of town until it turns out that the band is headed to Miami, where it just so happens that the Chicago gangsters are also heading, for a conference of mobsters under the guise of a group called Friends of Italian Opera.

hot4Of course, it would be easy to simply ditch their disguises and Sweet Sue once they reach their destination. Or it would be if they hadn’t both fallen for Monroe’s Sugar Kane, the band’s vocalist and ukulele player.

Yeah, and it’s from there that the real complications begin to set in.

hot5Ultimately, the movie proves itself to be quite hilarious, in a way that puts today’s comedies. dependent as they too often are on profanity-laden scripts and scatological humor to shame, proving that you don’t necessarily have to be crude to be funny.

It should also be noted that Some Like It Hot was nominated for six Academy Awards including nods to Wilder for Best Director and Lemmon for Best Actor, both of which were well deserved.

Here’s a trailer for you:


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