Some Like It Hot (1959)
In 1959, Billy Wilder's bizarre and gender-bending comedy was released to very complicated reactions. It was a very bold move to make such a movie as this in, what was then, a very conservative and prejudiced Hollywood. But what a movie it is! AFI has "Some Like It Hot"ranked as the best comedy ever made and #22 on their list of best movies ever made.
This film tells the story of two struggling musicians who are trying to make some money in a frigid winter in Chicago. A bassist and a saxophonist—they find that most of their pay comes from illegal bars. Prohibition is in full force since it is 1929 and some of the mob aren't happy because of this. A mob boss, Spats Columbo, is moving booze around and making loads of money because of it.
A raid hits the place where Joe and Jerry (the musicians) are playing and they barely escape. After that, they accidentally witness the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Spats Columbo recognizes them and again, they barely escape.
Joe decides that they best way for them to protect themselves is to flee to Florida with a girl's band, posing as women...and so they do.
On the way to Florida they meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), a ukelele player with an affection for alcohol and rich men. Immediately, both of the men/women fall in love with Sugar and humorous complications arise because of that.
Once in Florida many gags and jokes are pulled because of men falling in love with Jerry (or as he goes by now "Daphne") and each and everyone of them works really well.
"Some Like It Hot" is a gem of the cinema, it's probably Billy Wilder's funniest movie. The subsequent year he would release "The Apartment" which would gain him three Oscars and be placed in a high place among popular opinion; but that film compared to this one just pales.
"The Apartment" utilizes Jack Lemmon as this film does as the role of Jerry/Daphne; but he is such a lonely character that I found it quite depressing actually.
"Some Like It Hot" sees Tony Curtis as Joe and he's really fantastic in this role. The sterner of the pair—his performance seems to predate Dustin Hoffman's role in "Tootsie". The switch from his speaking voice to the falsetto of Josephine, his lady half, is flawless.
Marilyn Monroe has never been more likable than in this role as the confused and somewhat hopeless Sugar.
It's no wonder that this movie is considered one of the best because it simply radiates fun.
Billy Wilder is one of the better directors of the middle part of 20th century American cinema—it would be a sad world without his films in the catalogue of movies.
Score: 4 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones