Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Signal Watch (Finally) Watches: Some Like It Hot (1959)

While your faithful blogger has seen many, many movies and some movies many, many times, we also have huge holes in our mental inventory of flicks.  Not the least of these areas I need to take care of is pretty much everything directed by Billy Wilder.  No, I don't know why.

I especially don't know how I missed something starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.  Anyhoo, I finally watched Wilder's Some Like it Hot.

Yes, this is the one where Lemmon and Curtis (in terms of the film) successfully pass as women for an extended amount of time, and which spawned a million knock-offs like Bosom Buddies or Tootsie.

The pair play down on their luck musicians in 1929 Chicago who become accidental witnesses to (spoiler alert) the St. Valentine's Day Massacre (/spoiler alert).  Fleeing Chicago to avoid the mob, the two find work in disguise in an all-girl band.

Of course Monroe is the ukulele player/ vocalist in the band, and that's just going to be a problem when you're trying to keep anyone from figuring out that you're a dude.

The movie more than earns its reputation, and I can see why its a favorite.  I suspect that when this hit, it pushed as many buttons and was as "edgy" as current comedies like The Hangover that play with social mores and steps just enough outside of the expectations of an audience that the laughs come from the sheer surprise.  Of course, some of that's dated now (there's a bit about "why would a man want to marry a man?"), but actually very little, which is part of why I think the movie holds up well.  Its also plenty risque.

I suspect most of you have seen the movie, but I said I'd talk about every movie I watched in 2012.   I won't go on too long, but if you haven't seen it, I recommend.  Lots of great performances, and an oddball of a happy ending.  Frankly, Tony Curtis isn't someone whose work I know terribly well, mostly just a few viewings of Spartacus, so it was great to see him in top form here, and I'll be trying to learn his accent (you know the one) just to annoy Jamie.  And special props to Joe E. Brown.  He is terrific in this movie.

Monroe is particularly hilarious in this movie, and you can see how (aside from the visual cues) she was at the top of her game in this movie.  But, man, some of the dresses...  I don't know how they pulled that off.  Billy Wilder, you mad, mad genius.

Great movie.

Late edit:  San Diego's famous Coronado hotel does exteriors for a good part of the film, doubling for Florida.  J__Swift reminded me of this.  If in San Diego, I highly recommend a visit out there. 


Matt A. said...

The Coronado has some plaques around it that tell where scenes in Some Like It Hot was filmed.

But, in an odd twist, The Grand Floridian, at Disney World in Florida, was modeled after the Coronado. So you can go to Florida to see a hotel that was made to look like the hotel in San Diego that was a backdrop for a movie supposed to be in Florida.

The League said...

That is absolutely hilarious.