Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Like it Hot

UNBELIEVABLE. When I started this movie project, Some Like it Hot was on my list. For some reason I waited, waited, and waited, until finally I decided last weekend it was high time to watch it. This has now become my new reference as a « feel-good movie ». Directed by Billy Wilder and released in 1959, the film stars Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon, supported by more secondary characters such as Joe E. Brown or George Raft.

Set at the time of Prohibition in Chicago, the movie is about Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon), two musicians who witness a brutal murder by the Mob. As they know what the Mob does to potential witnesses they escape by enrolling into an all-girls band as Josephine and Daphne, and embarks on a trip to Florida. In the band they meet singer Sugar (Monroe). Misunderstandings ensue, as the two men fight for Sugar’s affection while trying to preserve their identity, and an old millionaire falls for Daphne / Jerry.
The story line is very good. The viewer is hooked from the beginning and is on edge until the very end. 
Jerry: Joe, this time I am not going to let you talk me into....
Newspaper Boy: Extra! Extra! Seven slaughter in north-side garage, feared bloody aftermath....
Jerry: You talked me into it. Let's go, Josephine!
Joe: Attagirl, Geraldine.
The film has gangsters, but is not a gansgter film ; it has music, yet is not a musical – it is about sex, about hidden identity. One gag follows the other, and the timing of the actors is just perfect. It is a movie that is about sex yet never pronounces the actual word. It must have been quite shocking to people at the time i twas released : it is about sex, about transvestites, it is very gay ! The innuendos  are priceless. 

Jack Lemmon  gives an amazing performance, Tony Curtis looks scarily convincing as a woman, and Marilyn is hypnotically beautiful and funny at the same time. Tony Curtis seems to feel uncomfortable in his dress, which makes his Josephine wonderfully stiff. Where Curtis is more controlled Lemmon goes completely over the top. He's hilarious as Daphne and his Tango scenes with Joe E. Brown are just incredible. 

Some scenes I watched several times just to enjoy the film a little bit longer. Many priceless scenes, subtle, amazing.
Jerry: Have I got things to tell you!
Joe: What happened?
Jerry: I'm engaged.
Joe: Congratulations. Who's the lucky girl?
Jerry: I am!

Sugar: Water polo? Isn't that terribly dangerous?
Junior: I'll say. I had two ponies drowned under me.

Sugar: Been waiting long?
Junior: [gallantly] It's not how long you wait, it's who you're waiting for!

Lemmon and Curtis  slip in and out of their roles before they even realize what they're doing, going from complacent to angry to scared witless without missing a beat. Joe E. Brown has a seondary role but is extremely likeable as Osgood Fielding III.
Osgood: I am Osgood Fielding the third.
Daphne: I'm Cinderella the second.

Some Like it Hot is a compressed batch of hilarity. It is black and white but apart from this insignificant detail the movie puts to shame all modern comedies.
Jerry: Osgood, I'm gonna level with you. We can't get married at all.
Osgood: Why not?
Jerry: Well, in the first place, I'm not a natural blonde.
Osgood: Doesn't matter.
Jerry: I smoke! I smoke all the time!
Osgood: I don't care.
Jerry: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I've been living with a saxophone player.
Osgood: I forgive you.
Jerry:  I can never have children!
Osgood: We can adopt some.
Jerry: But you don't understand, Osgood!
[pulls off his wig]
Jerry: I'm a man!
Osgood: Nobody's perfect!

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