#22 Some Like It Hot (1959)
Running Time-121 Minutes
“Well, nobody’s perfect.”
Is it the funniest movie of all time? That certainly seems to be the general consensus. After all, what makes a movie funny in the first place? Ridiculous “screwball” plot? Check. Everyone falling in love, even if it’s based on a lie? Check. Physical stunts? Check. Cross-dressing? Check. Screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. (“Iz”) Diamond. Check. Well, maybe its no surprise this movie is so funny after all.
The story is about two musicians named Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon). They are the only witnesses to the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre”, and are now being hunted by “Spats” Colombo (George Raft). In order to get out of town, they join an all girl’s band and head down to Florida.
What they didn’t expect was the lead singer of the band, Sugar “Kane” (Marilyn Monroe). Instantly Jerry (aka, Geraldine) is attracted to her, and it doesn’t take long for Joe (aka Josephine) to want her as well. Luckily there are plenty of girls to go around.
When they reach Florida things really get crazy. Joe/Josephine pretends to be a millionaire (Junior) in order to empress Sugar. Then a real millionaire, Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown) falls for Jerry/ Geraldine. And finally, the same hotel where they are performing with the band, is holding the “Friends Of Italian Opera” meetings (aka a mob boss meetings).
Anyone who says that the screwball comedy died out in the 1940’s obviously never saw Some Like It Hot. The entire movie is so out of control that all you can do is laugh, from beginning to end. Billy Wilder has taken the screwball genre and moved it into a new era of filmmaking.
“Look at that! Look how she moves. That’s just like Jell-O on springs. She must have some sort of built-in motor. I tell you, it’s a whole different sex!”
Billy Wilder and “Iz” Diamond were so incredibly talented, and their movies together will always rank among the best that have ever been written. “Iz” had written a couple of screenplays early in his career, that had included Marilyn Monroe, such as Love Nest, Let’s Make It Legal and Monkey Business (another 1950’s screwball comedy). Then he teamed up with Billy Wilder on 12 different screenplays, including The Apartment (1960), Love In The Afternoon (1957), The Fortune Cookie (1966) and their most popular, Some Like It Hot. One of the best writing duos in motion picture history, and they hit a home run with this one for sure.
We all know that Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are perfect together. Their chemistry is one of the most important aspects of this movie. Without their ability to play off of each other, this movie could have been a total disaster. These two brilliant comedic actors truly seem like two guys who have been friends their entire lives, and that is exactly what Wilder needed.
When it comes to Marilyn Monroe, everybody already has an opinion of her. Usually there is nothing that I can say to change an already formed opinion of her, so I won’t try (at least not too much). Whether or not you enjoy her, the role of Sugar is one of the best examples of her talents. She acts the part of the ditsy girl, singing her songs and shaking her tail feathers along the way. So often you hear that Marilyn just exploited her sexuality, but in reality she (along with her sexuality) is exactly what this part needed. With any other actress this movie would be less believable, not to mention way less fun to watch.
O.K. everyone, it’s time to admit that the real reason we love this movie so much is because of the incredible love story. You know what I mean, the love story between Geraldine and Osgood. Jack Lemmon and Joe Brown could have spent their entire careers as a comedy team. And how did they ever film those dancing scenes without laughing? I have seen this movie 20 times in my life, and I can’t stop laughing every time.
Some Like It Hot is a groundbreaking movie that will forever be considered one of the funniest movies, as well as best-made movies in existence. It is a must see for everyone, because it somehow speaks to all different people in all different ways, but they all agree that it is hilarious.