SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959 United States)

Marilyn-Monroe-As-Sugar-Kane-Kowalczyk-In-Some-Like-It-HotIf you’ve never seen it, it’s going to feel like something you’ve seen a hundred times before. And you probably have, but it was done here first. To be successful, two guys dress up as women, and then one falls for a real woman (Marilyn Monroe) — so how does he tell her without her hating him for keeping the secret?

We have seen plenty of films where men get close to women because of some trick — usually innocently — and then have to inevitably reveal the truth. And sometimes this involves cross-dressing. Somewhat of a screwball comedy, it’s also really a story that has more of a modern flavour of comedy in it. The overall humour and approach of it all feels more mature and seriously put together, as if it was a plot developed out of a far more serious and respected genre, such as a drama or a thriller.

Some-Like-it-Hot-1958-photographed-by-Richard-C-Miller-marilyn-monroe-tribute-36624017-450-295As the director Curtis Hanson said about SLIH: “It’s a film about sex – from the title to the final line. It’s not just about sex as in people having sex; it’s also about sexual attitudes, sexual roles and, of course, sexual identity.” The relationship of Osgood and Daphne was probably the most criticized one because it becomes bigger and bigger to the point of them becoming engaged. It is so innocently done, without any homosexual sub-text, I might add. Then when Joe asks Jerry “Who’s the lucky girl?”, Jerry answers “Me!”

Jack Lemmon could never top his performance here as Jerry/Daphne. His portrayal as a woman with bad lipstick, ill-fitting dresses, and treacherous high heels is hysterical. Meanwhile, Tony Curtis is the scheming, womanizing straight man, ‘Josephine.’ He even talks like Cary Grant. Together they bring a chemistry that is surprisingly combustible.

The script does a good job of blending high- and low-brow comedy. There’s no shortage of snappy dialogue and farcical situations. Even gangland executions can’t put a damper on the proceedings. Although the men – in – drag situation is less funny today because we are so familiar with it.

BER13-SOME-LIKE-IT-HOTIt’s also a thriller, where we do not know what will happen and if someone will ever find out that they are dudes. It leaves the audience waiting for the climax. Finally, it is also considered a gangster film, because the Chicago mafia is trying to capture Joe and Jerry after they witness the infamous St Valentine’s Day Massacre.

As for the soundtrack, you get to hear Marilyn Monroe sing a number of songs: “Running Wild,” “I’m Through With Love” plus her classic signature tune “I Wanna Be Loved By You”.

When Marilyn first read the script she was apparently disgusted with it though. She felt it was too much of a dumb blonde role for her. As if she wouldn’t recognize two men for what they were. She reluctantly agreed to go along with it simply for the money.

As for her performance: she shimmies, she strolls, she sashays like all the great floozies do, giving the impression she’s letting the lucky voyeurs (I mean you-the-viewer) in on a naughty secret. She oozed girlish charm. She was a class act. Take a bow, Norma Jean.

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Comments

  1. This is a superb film. Thank you for reminding me of it. It has a great ending. Right this week I’m going to take the DVD off the shelf and watch it again. “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” is great but this is better!

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  2. We seem to be on similar wavelengths, Phil. Likewise, thank you for mentioning “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” That’s one I haven’t seen.

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  3. Very entertaining review, thanks for sharing! Although methinks that the last image is not a screenshot from the movie ha ha! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank goodness someone noticed! It was meant to reward the reader for getting to the end of the post. I’m sure the photographer said to her: “lets have one for the grandchildren”. It was 1953 after all, just innocent fun. 😎

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