Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Movie Review: "Some Like it Hot" (1959)

Director: Billy Wilder
Year: 1959
Rating: NR
Running Time: 2 hours, 1 minute

We recently had the privilege of watching "Some Like it Hot" on the big screen courtesy of Park Circus! We wanted to say a quick thank you to them before we began our review!

After witnessing a murder in Chicago, a pair of musicians disguise themselves as women and hide out with an all-female music group who are performing a gig in Florida. One of the men falls for the sultry ukulele player and now must find a way to woo her without giving up his real identity. 

"Some Like it Hot" is a classic comedy from famed director Billy Wilder, who has directed such prestigious films as "Sunset Boulevard," "The Apartment," and "The Seven Year Itch." It stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as musicians named Jerry and Joe, who work at a speakeasy in Chicago during the prohibition era. After a raid at the club, they hide out in a garage where they witness a mob hit. Scared they will be bumped off as well, the pair poses as female musicians, naming themselves Josephine and Daphne, and skip town to Florida with an all women's music group. Once there, Joe becomes infatuated by the group's sexy ukulele player named Sugar, played by Marilyn Monroe, and he decides to don a second disguise as a wealthy oil tycoon in order to woo her. Meanwhile, Jerry, dressed as Daphne, finds himself needing to fend off the advances of an actually wealthy older man who wants him to be his sugar baby.

This movie is a classic. The subject matter may be aged as hell, but when it came out, there is little doubt "Some Like it Hot" was ahead of its time. This is a romantic comedy that revolves mostly around one single running joke about men dressing as women in order to evade being murdered by the mob. Super regular, right? That isn't the only joke in the flick but most of the situational comedy stems from that concept. In all honesty, we can see how this plot summary may be offensive to some viewers who have never seen this movie before, but as with all films that came out decades ago, we must bear in mind that times were different and try our best to put our preconceived notions and expectations aside. As we said, it's dated, and Hollywood got away with A LOT of stuff, some better and some worse, back in the 30s-50s.

There are many excellent lines of quippy banter in "Some Like it Hot." Tony Curtis gets to deliver some big laughs. His most memorable line involves what is almost a throwaway sentence about water polo and horses. It is an absolute laugh riot. Jack Lemmon is also very funny as he gets to embrace female characteristics, though what happens to his character would most assuredly be called sexual assault today. Like we said, d-a-t-e-d. Marilyn Monroe plays up her typical ditzy act as Sugar, the woman who has all of the guys in the world staring her way but is also as dumb as a post. Take her persona for what it is, but she always plays this type of role really well. On a different token, here's an interesting fact: despite the film supposedly taking place in Florida, it was almost entirely filmed at the Hotel Del in Coronado, CA. Since we are natives of San Diego, we recognized this famous institution almost immediately and chuckled at the fact that it was passed off as Florida.

There is definitely an old school charm to "Some Like it Hot," and despite the fact that this movie is 58 years old, we still manage to laugh a lot while watching it. The performances are great, the music is stellar, Curtis and Lemmon have perfect comedic timing, and Monroe is a goddess.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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