Review of 'Some Like It Hot'

some_like_it_hot.jpg In prohibition era Chicago two down-on-their-luck musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) witness a mob hit. After escaping, they join a woman's band travelling to Florida for a series of concerts dressing up in woman's clothing and calling themselves Josephine (Joe) and Daphne (Jerry). As Josephine, Joe quickly finds himself attracted to the band's attractive singer (and banjo player) Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe) while Daphne (Jerry) is distracted by the attentions of quirky millionaire Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown). Joe takes on the persona of another millionaire, emotionally deficient “Shell Oil Junior” (with his yacht) in an attempt to woo Sugar. But, it is only a matter of time before the mob catch up to them…

This classic film is still very funny and entertaining with some excellent music and compelling performances from the cast, particularly Marilyn Monroe who throws herself utterly into the role and dominates any scene she appears in. It is great to see an actor who at the time must have been there simply as “eye candy” actually proving she can act and elevate herself above being simply a (very pretty) face. Having said that, there is still a good amount of flesh on show which is surprising considering the era in which the film was made. Despite their comic genius Curtis and Lemmon were always going to be second fiddle to Monroe but they are exceptionally good back-up with impeccable timing and perfect delivery of their fantastically witty lines. Curtis' character really comes into life when playing Shell Oil Junior, who quite cunningly plays off Sugar's compassion by pretending to be lacking in any himself. These are not normal relationships yet they are all, humorously, made believable by the cast. This is more sophisticated humour than you might expect. Sure, there are some slapstick elements but the actual relationships are portrayed with such sincerity (at least on one side of it) that draws the viewer in to see how it all turns out. It is worth sticking around to find out as there is a bit of a stinger in the end…

Is the film sexist? In terms of modern sensibilities I think this is probably true but I should think at the time the film was made it was quite progressive with the female roles much more than simply “damsel in distress”, indeed, the scene on the train where the members of the band all get together to have an impromptu party in Jerry's bunk is quite a real feeling scene that shows these are real adults who are more than just pretty looking. The idea that a female band would actually consist of real musicians performing music for a paying crowd I should think is a bit unusual for the time also (though the occasional quip from the band leader is a bit over the top). There is the rather shallow depth of feeling of Monroe but this is probably true of all of the relationships here so it is not particularly targeted at one particular sex. Having said that, there is a good amount of female flesh on display (particularly from Monroe) but there no lewdness as “Some Like it Hot” is, at the end of the day, a family friendly film.

A great bit of classic comedy from some of the best in Hollywood including a compelling performance from the one and only Marilyn Monroe. Really enjoyable with a surprising ending.

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2020-06-20

Directed by: Billy Wilder

Studio: Ashton Productions

Year: 1959

Length: 121 minutes

Genre: Comedy