Some Like It Hot (1959)

Believe it or not, this is my first time seeing a Marilyn Monroe movie and that’s part of why I thought it would make a good start to my Top 250 viewing for the year. It’s also my introduction to Billy Wilder‘s work. I was not disappointed.

Comedy, I think, is better found in classics than modern films. I really have trouble finding modern comedies that are really funny or enjoyable for me because they feel like they’re trying too hard. Now, this isn’t to say there aren’t some out there, but I grew up watching Three Stooges with my dad, so maybe that’s where my attachment to more classic comedies comes from.

Some Like It Hot takes place during Prohibition in America. It starts out with two musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), who avoid arrest when a speakeasy is busted and then witness the St Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. To escape the mobsters, they dress as women named Josephine and Daphne and join an all-girl band traveling down to play at a hotel in Florida. Along the way, they both vie for the attention of fellow musician and singer Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe). Joe forgoes his disguise as Josephine for a night to woo Sugar and “Daphne” winds up getting engaged to a wealthy man named Osgood (Joe E Brown) who’s been married seven times before and isn’t picky in the least. The mobsters from Chicago show up at the hotel and realize they have found their witnesses, but in the end still don’t catch them.

I really enjoyed watching Monroe and she seems to be a natural with comedy, especially in a film such as this that is so obviously all about sex. She has the look for the part, but she can also deliver lines perfectly. Curtis was good as Joe/Josephine as well, especially as part of the duo with Lemmon. But my favorite parts of the movie involved Lemmon’s performance. He’s a natural at doing comedy in drag – the scenes during his date with Osgood are classic. This is my first time seeing one of Lemmon’s films, but I will definitely be looking up more.

There are plenty of great, memorable lines from the movie.

“Look at that! Look how she moves. Just like Jell-O on springs. She must have some sort of built-in motor. I tell you, it’s a whole different sex!”

You can’t really pick just one as a favorite, but the last line is truly a classic. Sugar has found out that the man who she thought was an owner of the Shell Corporation was really Josephine who is really Joe. Daphne tries to get out of the marriage to Osgood without telling the full truth but ends up having to out himself as a man. Osgood’s response with a grin:

Well, nobody’s perfect.

So yes, I’m fine with this being included in IMDb’s Top 250. It’s definitely worth watching, at least for a good laugh.

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