This film, directed by Billy Wilder, very quickly became one of my favourite films I’ve watched so far on my little journey of film of the world’s greatest films. It is therefore no surprise to me that after researching it following my viewing it falls on many of the most loved/favourite comedies of all time. It is a perfectly touching and beautifully funny film which just glitters with joy. I fell immediately in love with the two main characters Joe and Jerry (played by Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon respectively) who go undercover in disguise as Josephine and Daphne (Jerry didn’t like the name Geraldine haha!!!) in order to get a job as musicians in an all girl band in Florida.
It starts off in the 20’s in the prohibition era when Joe and Jerry are playing in a speak easy and scraping together a living, playing the double bass and sax. They lose their job when the speak easy get’s shut down and they accidentally stumble on the 1929’s Saint Valentines Day Massacre in Chicago. It’s freezing cold, times are rough and following their brush with death and needing to escape the mob, the only job they can seem to lay their hands on are these two positions in a lady’s band touring in florida. Naturally they decide to go for it. It’s effectively the only option they have so they decide to make the best of a bad situation. They dress up in women’s clothes, don their best girly voices and board the train to Florida.
Remarkably the two don’t get caught out, which is just fantastic, as you do forget they’re men when they’re playing their respective females. Curtis and Lemmon had a feminine coach during filming to help them with getting in touch with their feminine sides for this role and I honestly think they nailed it. On the train over to Florida they meet the band’s beautiful ukelele player, Sugar, played by Hollywood’s sex symbol, Marylin Monroe. After covering for her when she’s found with a flask, Sugar and Daphne quickly become friends and partake in some secret drinking in Jerry’s bunk in a bid for him to get closer to her.
Joe on the other hand takes a different approach to woo Sugar as she’d previously stated to him she has a thing for saxophone players (which he is) but she always gets her heart broken so is on the lookout to date a rich man with a boat while in Florida. By dressing up as a rich, English yachtsmanan at the hotel, Joe decides to play hard to get when he “accidentally” trips up Sugar on the beach. He knew Sugar would fall head over heels in love with him. Which she does.
“I don’t care how rich he is, as long as he has a yacht, his own private railroad car, and his own toothpaste.” – Sugar
Daphne, staying as a female, frolicing in the sea and dancing all evening, constantly gets chatted up by a gentleman, Osgood, who genuinely does have a yacht and takes a fancy to ‘her’. Joe and Jerry then decide to make a scheme in order for Joe and Sugar to have dinner on his boat whilst Daphne keeps Osgood busy for the evening. Joe and Sugar hit it off on the boat and Daphne and develops a deeper relationship with Osgood which ends in a proposal(!)
Some like it hot is set in a glamourous beachside hotel in Florida (actually in LA due to the director’s request that it isn’t far from the studio) and it has some fabulous songs. “I wanna be loved by you, just you and nobody else but you” sung by the wonderful Marylin. I was singing that for days after watching the film. Some like it hot has everything it needs to be a masterpiece comedy.
Wilder reinforces Marylin’s role as a sex symbol throughout, for example how Jerry admires her when we see her for the first time running down the platform to catch the train. “Will you look at that! Look how she moves! It’s like Jell-O on springs. Must have some sort of built-in motor or something. I tell you, it’s a whole different sex!”. The costume department also put Marylin in a rather revealing dress whilst she sings in one of their performances which I’m sure everyone double takes at, thinking she’s naked. Keep an eye out for that one. Pretty funny.
Apparently Marilyn Monroe was very difficult to work with, constantly getting her lines wrong because she was popping pills and drinking the whole time, she was also pregnant! They must have been so patient with her as they caught all the scenes with her perfectly. Marylin’s personality really comes out in this role and she’s such a likeable character. I don’t want to dwell too much on her because I truely think that Curtis and Lemmon are the stars of the film and it is very much their story. But Hollywood definitely put up with a lot of Marylin’s antics because she brought in the audiences.
This film is such a lovable barrel of laughs right from start to finish and it is an absolute pleasure to watch. A true entertaiment. It’s a comedy but is also very romantic. The closing scene is such a gem, what an iconic happy ending.
Some like it hot is currently on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. You’re welcome. Let me know what you thought!
All my love and films,