SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) B/W widescreen 122m dir: Billy Wilder
w/Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown,, Nehemiah Persoff, Joan Shawlee, Billy Gray, George E. Stone, Mike Mazurki
Director Wilder puts a flawless cast through improbable, riotous capers in this gender-bending comedy. Curtis and Lemmon play two musicians on the lam from Chicago mobsters after witnessing a gangland rubout. Monroe is wonderful as Sugar Kane; Brown delivers the last line, which is a classic topper.
From The Movie Guide: "SOME LIKE IT HOT expands a one-joke premise with hysterical results, due in no small part to the contributions of the near-perfect ensemble, with each of the major characters shining like a perfect jewel. Lemmon and Curtis are marvelous as the men-turned-women , creating believable characters and generally eschewing the lower forms of camp. Monroe is at her best, delightfully spoofing her dizzy blonde image. Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond's witty script is full of clever twists, throwing in unexpected turns at a frantic pace. The script was written with Lemmon in mind, but at one point Frank Sinatra was considered as a possible replacement. Fortunately, this alternative casting fell through when Monroe expressed interest in doing the film. Although Monroe's presence was welcomed, both cast and crew learned to regret it as she lived up to her reputation as a 'difficult' performer, consistently showing up late, forgetting her lines, and spending endless time in her dressing room. Wilder took to writing her lines on furniture in the hope that it would help the legendary actress to get through her scenes, but even this drastic effort failed. What's more, the other actors resented Monroe's antics, and Curtis compared kissing her to kissing Hitler. Nevertheless, Monroe still demonstrates her marvelous comic touch and sings three songs: 'I Wanna Be Loved By You,' 'Running Wild,' and 'I'm Through with Love.'
"Ironically, Monroe's constant absences led to the creation of the film's classic exit line. Knowing Monroe's unreliability, Wilder took to shooting around her. It was decided that the film would end on a closeup of Lemmon and Joe E. Brown, as Daphne/Jerry explains to the lovesick Osgood E. Fielding III why s/he can't marry him. 'We wrote it the night before we had to shoot it,' Diamond explained in an interview, 'and I mentioned a line I'd considered using at some earlier point. ... Billy said,"Do you think it's strong enough for the tag of the picture?" And I said, 'I don't know.' But it was getting to be eleven o'clock at night, so we wrote it that way, and he said, "Well, maybe we'll think of something better on the set." Fortunately, we didn't think of anything better on the set.'
"Monroe, unpopular on the set, wasn't invited to the wrap party. But she may have had the last laugh since she received 10 percent of the film's gross; the film made over $8 million on its initial release and would make several million more over the next few years. Said Wilder after the difficult shoot: 'You have to be orderly to shoot disorder; this was the best disorder we ever had.'"
SOME LIKE IT HOT received an Oscar for Best Costume Design (Orry-Kelly) and was also nominated for Best Director, Actor (Lemmon), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography (Charles Lang Jr.), and Art Direction (Ted Haworth, Edward G. Boyle).
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