Saturday, April 26, 2014

30. Some Like it Hot (1959)

Code-name: Sugar cane

Director: Billy Wilder
Type: rom-com, cross-dressing, black & white

Joe[sphine]- Tony Curtis
Jerry/Daphne- Jack Lemmon
Sugar Cane- Marilyn Monroe
Spats- George Raft
Osgood Felding III- Joe E. Brown

Notable Wins & Nominations:
OSCAR- Best Costume
nomination- OSCAR- Best Actor- Jack Lemmon
nomination- OSCAR- Best Director- Billy Wilder
nomination- OSCAR- Best Art Direction
nomination- OSCAR- Best Cinematography
nomination- OSCAR- Best Adapted Screenplay (from Fanfare of Love by Michael Logan)- Billy Wilder & I.A.L. Diamond
Golden Globe- Best Actress- Marilyn Monroe (comedy/musical) 
Golden Globe- Best Cinematography
Golden Globe- Best Art Direction
nomination- Grammy- Best Soundtrack Album

Notable Mentions:
Ranked #14 on AFI's 100 greatest movies
"Nobody's Perfect" was #48 on their list of 100 best movie quotes


I remember distinctly that this was one of those movies that was recommended to me by my folks and we sat down to watch on TCM one night. I think my mom suggested it because she's all about rom-coms, particularly for the comedy aspects.

Definitely one of the best of its kind and that was at a time where I hadn't seen many black & white movies. Didn't really think much of them, but I gained that culture pretty quick. Every now and then when "Some Like it Hot" is on, I will watch. A guilt-less pleasure if there ever was one.

For years, I have been meaning to see more of Marilyn Monroe's works because she is one of the greatest treasures old school Hollywood had... I have yet to make good on that promise to myself :-P the timing is never quite right.
"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and definitely "The Seven Year Itch" are on my to-watch list and have been for years.
I also hadn't seen Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in any of their other movies. I forget which of the two was one of my mom's favorite old actors, but this movie is one of the reasons why. If I had to pick one I liked more than the other on their character alone, it would be Jack Lemmon. He's more the optimist and his character gets into much funnier shenanigans. Especially with his new friend, who happens to be a millionaire who owns a yacht. Plus, Tony Curtis's storyline with coming up with the persona to seduce Sugar, claiming impotence and all that... it's just so stupid :-P the reason it works out as well as it does is, like she said a couple of times, "[I'm] not very bright".

Probably the craziest thing about this movie is when I watch these two guys masquerade as woman, not only to go into hiding after witnessing the St. Valentine's Day massacre but also because it was the only gig they could get as musicians, is that I find them oddly convincing. Of course we know that they're women underneath the dresses, extra padding and stuff, but somehow, they seem more interesting characters when they're pretending to be women than in the first couple minutes of the movie.

Of course a rivalry develops early on because they're both taken with Sugar, the blonde bombshell who can sing and play the ukulele. Some of my favorite scenes are on the train when each of them finds an excuse to have alone time with her. Trying to be nice and flirt all while hiding the fact they're really men that have the hots for her. Just hilarious to watch. Doesn't get much funnier than the scene where an impromptu drinking party breaking out in Daphne's bunk bed. Don't know how many women they fit in there, but the laughing goes on for so long you almost run out of air.

Then when they get to Florida (technically they filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California because it was easier for Marilyn, who was notoriously difficult to work with), the hilarity comes from a multitude of angles.

The girls have a beach party (don't know how the hell Jerry pulled that off without getting discovered) and Joe brews up the "millionaire scheme"... all based on juicy details he got from Sugar on the train. All including how she has a weakness for saxophone players (which he happens to be, oddly enough) and men with glasses.
Like I said, not a fan of this storyline :-P and I didn't catch on that the accent was meant to be a Cary Grant impression... but that's what I get for seeing only one of his movies.

Meanwhile, Daphne catches the eye of actual millionaire Osgood Felding. While Joe takes advantage of Osgood's yacht, Daphne keeps him distracted on the dance floor. I'd have to guess there was lots of drinking involved because sooner or later, they really get into the tango.
It's hard to decide if that's more fun to watch or Daphne's banter about it afterwards... with one of the best lines in movie.

Jerry/Daphne: I'm engaged
Joe: who's the lucky girl?
(a beat)
Jerry/Daphne: I am...

And apparently that was a scene that had to be recut to include pauses because the test audience laughed so loud for so long they missed the dialogue afterwards.
One of the best laugh out loud moments in any movie I'd seen. The maracas help make it for sure as well as that sense of comedic timing.

Eventually, the crooks do catch up with our boys in Florida and all kinds of shenanigans go down. Either way, it does end up with them getting away and revealing their identities.
Sugar takes it well enough... "not too bright" but at this point, who really cares? They get their happy ending.

As for Jerry and Osgood, I don't think anyone anticipated his reaction... simply because it's never happened before in the movies.
He rattles through tons of excuses of why they can't get married and decides only the truth will get him out of his predicament... except it doesn't.

Jerry: I'm a man
(a beat)
Osgood: Well, nobody's perfect

Absolutely hilarious.
There're all kinds of jewels in this movie that are worth coming back to. The dialogue and hilarity, most of which comes from the audience knowing what Sugar and the other girls don't know, is what makes it work. The leads are great and Marilyn Monroe is so iconic in this movie. At least in my view. All that hard work, getting her to the set and hitting her lines, was time definitely well spent.
Cross-dressing is one of those interesting, often clich├ęd, themes in movies, but this is probably it at its best.

And in case anyone is wondering, as I was before starting this entry, the title refers to fast jazz, which is perceived as hot compared to, say, classical musical. Going back to a time where jazz was gaining prevalence (although given this was 1929, the jazz age was starting to come to an end... as was prohibition... well, 4 years later, but that was also another interesting theme they worked into this movie because it is so timely).

Coming Soon:

Have a busy day tomorrow, so I'm going to try to get my "Captain America" review up sometime later today. Going to see it this afternoon.
Makes me wonder if I should change the name of this blog because I've only been to the movies twice this year :-P I'm slacking, but then again, I am kinda booked during the week from 7am to 3pm ;)

As for my countdown, my next movie is a great coming-of-age story. Another iconic role for one of my favorite actors (although it's just this particular role and maybe two other movies, one where he has a supporting role). It's an 80's movie that led to two sequels, a spin-off and a remake that I was absolutely against getting made.

80's movies should just be left alone, especially if they were written/directed by John Hughes (and yeah, I know they're remaking "Weird Science"... even if it's not one of my favorites, just... no).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

MM is just too cute in this movie