Some Like It Hot - Film (Movie) Plot and Review





USA, 1959


Director: Billy Wilder

Production: Ashton Productions and the Mirisch Company; black and white, 35mm; running time: 120 minutes. Released 1959 by United Artists.


Producers: Billy Wilder with Doane Harrison and I. A. L. Diamond; screenplay: Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond, from an unpublished story by R. Thoeren and M. Logan; photography: Charles Lang; editor: Arthur Schmidt; sound: Fred Lau; art director: Ted Haworth; music: Adolph Deutsch; costume designer: Orry-Kelly.

Cast: Marilyn Monroe ( Sugar Kane ); Tony Curtis ( Joe/Josephine ); Jack Lemmon ( Jerry/Daphne ); George Raft ( Spats Colombo ); Pat

Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot
O'Brien ( Mulligan ); Joe E. Brown ( Osgood Fielding III ); Nehemiah Persoff ( Little Bonaparte ); John Shawlee ( Sweet Sue ); Billy Gray ( Sig Poliakoff ); George Stone ( Toothpick ); Dave Barry ( Beinstock ); Mike Mazurki and Harry Wilson ( Spats's henchmen ); Beverly Wills ( Dolores ); Barbara Drew ( Nellie ); Edward G. Robinson Jr. ( Paradise ); Tom Kennedy ( Bouncer ); John Indrisano ( Walter ).


Award: Oscar for Costume Design-Black and White, 1959.

Publications


Script:

Wilder, Billy, and I. A. L. Diamond, Some Like It Hot: A Screenplay , New York, 1959.

Books:

Conway, Michael, and Mark Ricci, editors, The Films of Marilyn Monroe , New York, 1964.

Madsen, Axel, Billy Wilder , Bloomington, Indiana, 1969.

Wood, Tom, The Bright Side of Billy Wilder, Primarily , New York, 1970.

Kobal, John, Marilyn Monroe: A Life on Film , New York, 1974.

Widenen, Don, Lemmon: A Biography , New York, 1975.

Parish, James R., and Michael Pitts, The Great Gangster Pictures , Metuchen, New Jersey, 1976.

Baltake, Joe, The Films of Jack Lemmon , Secaucus, New Jersey, 1977; revised edition, 1987.

Seidman, Steve, The Film Career of Billy Wilder , Boston, 1977.

Zolotow, Maurice, Billy Wilder in Hollywood , New York, 1977; reprinted, 1988.

Dick, Bernard F., Billy Wilder , Boston, 1980; revised edition, Cambridge, 1996.

Giannetti, Louis, Masters of the American Cinema , Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1981.

Freedland, Michael, Jack Lemmon , London, 1985.

Summers, Anthony, Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe , London, 1985.

Rollyson, Carl E., Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress , Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1986.

Dyer, Richard, Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society , London, 1987.

Jacob, Jerome, Billy Wilder , Paris, 1988.

Seidl, Claudius, Billy Wilder: Seine Filme, sein Leben , Munich, 1988.

Lally, Kevin, Wilder Times: The Life of Billy Wilder , New York, 1996.

Sikov, Ed, On Sunset Boulevard: The Life and Times of Billy Wilder , New York, 1998.

Crowe, Cameron, Conversations with Wilder , New York, 1999.

Leaming, Barbara, Marilyn Monroe , New York, 2000.


Articles:

Life (New York), 20 April 1959.

McVay, Douglas, "The Eye of a Cynic," in Films and Filming (London), January 1960.

Schumach, Murray, "The Wilder—and Funnier—Touch," in New York Times Magazine , 24 January 1960.

Lemmon, Jack, "Such Fun to Be Funny," in Films and Filming (London), November 1960.

Roman, Robert, "Marilyn Monroe," in Films in Review (New York), October 1962.

Higham, Charles, "Cast a Cold: The Films of Billy Wilder," in Sight and Sound (London), Spring 1963.

"The Films of Billy Wilder," in Film Comment (New York), Summer 1965.

Mundy, Robert, and Michael Wallington, "Interview with I. A. L. Diamond," in Cinema (London), October 1969.

Baltake, Joe, "Jack Lemmon," in Films in Review (New York), January 1970.

McBride, Joseph, and Michael Wilmington, "The Private Life of Billy Wilder," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Summer 1970.

Farber, Stephen, "The Films of Billy Wilder," in Film Comment (New York), Winter 1971.

Froug, William, "Interview with I. A. L. Diamond," in The Screenwriter Looks at the Screenwriter , New York, 1972.

Kaufmann, Stanley, in Horizon (Los Angeles), Winter 1973.

"Dialogue on Film: Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond," in American Film (Washington, DC), July-August 1976.

Broeske, Pat H., in Magill's Survey of Cinema 4 , Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1980.

"Billy Wilder Issue" of Filmcritica (Rome), November-December 1982.

Frank, Sam, "I. A. L. Diamond," in American Screenwriters , edited by Robert E. Morsberger, Stephen O. Lesser, and Randall Clark, Detroit, 1984.

Cinema Novo (Porto), May-August 1984.

Buckley, M., "Jack Lemmon," in Films in Review (New York), December 1984 and January and February 1985.

Columbus, C., "Wilder Times," in American Film (Washington, DC), March 1986.

Palmer, J., "Enunciation and Comedy: Kind Hearts and Coronets ," in Screen (Oxford), vol. 30, no. 1/2, 1989.

Hommel, Michel, "Woman's Director," in Skrien (Amsterdam), no. 176, February-March 1991.

Cohan, S., "Cary Grant in the Fifties: Indiscretions of the Bachelor's Masquerade," in Screen (Oxford), vol. 33, no. 4, 1992.

Straayer, C., "Redressing the 'Natural': The Temporary Transvestite Film," in Wide Angle (Baltimore), no. 1, 1992.

Wilmington, Michael, "Saint Jack," in Film Comment (New York), vol. 29, no. 2, March-April 1993.

Thomson, D., "Ten Movies That Showed Hollywood How to Live," in Movieline (Escondido), vol. 8, July 1997.

Premiere (Boulder), vol. 11, February 1998.

Rothman, Cliff, "A 40-Year-Old Comedy That Hasn't Grown Stale," in The New York Times , section 2, AR24, 1 August 1999.


* * *


If there is a candidate for the funniest closing line in cinema history, it must surely be Osgood's declaration "Nobody's perfect!" at the end of Billy Wilder's spoof on sexual role playing, Some Like It Hot . Utterly unshakeable in his love for Daphne and trusting of his passionate instincts, Osgood overlooks all, including gender.

Men masquerading as women have been the source of great comic scenes and characters throughout the history of entertainment, whether the sexual identity beneath the garments and makeup was straight or gay. Until recently, men in women's clothes have found acceptance on the screen only when their sexual identity was either ambiguous or categorically heterosexual: dressing up was only an extension of the act of performance. While sexual politics were not the focus of Wilder and Diamond's script, audiences were left with a closing line which was a non-resolution of the issue at hand. Of the two men whose lives were saved by dressing as women, one found love by maintaining that persona: Jerry's acceptance of Osgood's proposal was the best single example of l'amour fou since Buñuel. Many years later Hollywood is still putting straight men in dresses and then confirming their heterosexuality (albeit with a greater understanding of what it means to be a woman, as in Tootsie .)

While many of the comic scenes from Some Like it Hot revolve around a spoof of the gangster era (the film begins in Chicago in 1929 with Joe and Jerry witnessing a Valentine's Day-like massacre) and its screen incarnations (George Raft parodies his coin flip from Scarface ), much of the best comedy results from an examination of sexual identity. In the beginning of the film, the all-girl band which Jerry and Joe have joined is bedding down for the night in their train berths. Having erased their masculinity to avoid being erased by gangsters, Joe and Jerry (now Josephine and Daphne) participate in an evening of "berth rights." When Joe tries to assert his masculinity with Sugar, Jerry insists he maintain his female identity. Aware of their dilemma, our pleasure becomes dependent on the ramifications of gender identification and sexual exposure. In the course of the film Joe re-asserts his masculinity and finds love with Sugar while Jerry pursues his femininity and finds love with Osgood.

Legendary in Hollywood for the trouble Marilyn Monroe caused Wilder on the set, the film was a great commercial success and escalated Wilder's position in Hollywood. His esteem hit its peak with his next release, The Apartment . These two films signalled the beginning of one of the most successful director/actor teams in the history of American cinema. Until 1959 Jack Lemmon had been a talent in search of expansion; with Wilder he unleashed his neurotic mannerisms and became the director's favourite performer, appearing in seven Wilder films.

With Some Like It Hot , Billy Wilder and his writing partner, I. A. L. Diamond, combined the physicality of the Mack Sennett era with the wit and complications of 1930s screwball comedy to make the funniest American film of the 1950s and one of the greatest of the genre.

—Doug Tomlinson

Also read article about Some Like it Hot from Wikipedia

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