Some Like It Hot

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Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byBilly Wilder
Produced byBilly Wilder
Screenplay byBilly Wilder
I. A. L. Diamond
Story byRobert Thoeren
Michael Logan
StarringMarilyn Monroe
Tony Curtis
Jack Lemmon
George Raft
Joe E. Brown
Pat O'Brien
Music byAdolph Deutsch
CinematographyCharles Lang
Editing byArthur P. Schmidt
StudioMirisch Company
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • March 29, 1959 (1959-03-29)
Running time122 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2,883,848
Box office$25 million
 
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Some Like It Hot
Some Like It Hot poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byBilly Wilder
Produced byBilly Wilder
Screenplay byBilly Wilder
I. A. L. Diamond
Story byRobert Thoeren
Michael Logan
StarringMarilyn Monroe
Tony Curtis
Jack Lemmon
George Raft
Joe E. Brown
Pat O'Brien
Music byAdolph Deutsch
CinematographyCharles Lang
Editing byArthur P. Schmidt
StudioMirisch Company
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • March 29, 1959 (1959-03-29)
Running time122 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$2,883,848
Box office$25 million

Some Like It Hot is an American comedy film, made during 1958 and released during 1959, which was directed by Billy Wilder and featured Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft and Marilyn Monroe.

The supporting cast includes Joe E. Brown, Pat O'Brien, Joan Shawlee and Nehemiah Persoff.

The film is a remake by Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond of a 1935 French movie, Fanfare d'Amour, from a story by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan, which was also remade in 1951 by German director Kurt Hoffmann as Fanfaren der Liebe. However, the plots of the French and German films did not include the gangster motif, which is an integral part of the drama in Some Like It Hot. Wilder's working titles for his film were Fanfares of Love and Not Tonight, Josephine before he decided on Some Like It Hot as its release title.

In 1981, after the worldwide success of the French drag comedy La Cage aux Folles, United Artists re-released Some Like It Hot to theatres. In 2000, the American Film Institute listed Some Like It Hot as the greatest American comedy film of all time.

Plot[edit]

It is February 1929 in the city of Chicago. Joe (Tony Curtis) is a jazz saxophone player, irresponsible gambler and ladies' man; his friend Jerry (Jack Lemmon) is a sensible jazz double-bass player. Together they accidentally witness the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre. When the gangsters, led by "Spats" Colombo (George Raft), spot them, the two have to run for their lives.

Penniless, freezing cold, and in a rush to get out of town, the two musicians take a job with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators, an all-female band headed to Miami. Disguised as women and calling themselves Josephine and Daphne, they board a train with the band and their male manager, Bienstock. Before they board the train, Joe and Jerry have already noticed Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), the band's vocalist and ukulele player, marveling over how she walks "like Jell-O on springs", as they struggle along in their high heels not at all sure they will be able to pass as women. As they board the train, however, Daphne (Jerry) experiences the kind of sexual harassment common to women when Bienstock feels "her" up.

Both Joe and Jerry become enamored of Sugar and compete for her affection while maintaining their disguises. Sugar confides that she has sworn off male saxophone players, who have stolen her heart in the past and left her with "the fuzzy end of the lollipop". She has now set her sights on finding a sweet, bespectacled millionaire in Florida. During the forbidden drinking and partying on the train with all the women in the band, Josephine and Daphne become intimate friends with Sugar, and continually have to struggle to remember that they are girls and cannot make a pass at her.

Once in Miami, Joe woos Sugar by assuming a second disguise as a millionaire named Junior, the heir to Shell Oil, while mimicking Cary Grant's voice and feigning disinterest in Sugar. An actual millionaire, an aging mama's boy, the much-married Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown), tries repeatedly to pick up Daphne, who repeatedly rebuffs him. One night Osgood invites Daphne for a champagne supper on his yacht. Joe convinces Daphne to keep Osgood occupied onshore, so that Junior can take Sugar to Osgood's yacht, passing it off as his. Once on the yacht, Junior uses metaphors to explain to Sugar that unfortunately, due to psychological trauma, he is impotent and frigid, but that he would certainly marry anyone who could change that. Sugar tries desperately to arouse some sexual response in Junior, and begins to succeed. Meanwhile, Daphne and Osgood dance the tango till dawn.

When Joe and Jerry get back to the hotel, Jerry happily explains that Osgood has proposed marriage to Daphne and that he, as Daphne, has accepted, anticipating an instant divorce and huge cash settlement when his ruse is revealed. Joe finally convinces Jerry that he can't actually marry Osgood. The two men realize they must quit the band and leave the hotel. Sadly, Joe then breaks Sugar's heart by telling her that he, Junior, has to marry a woman of his father's choosing and move to Venezuela.

The hotel hosts a conference for "Friends of Italian Opera", who are actually mobsters. Spats and his gang from Chicago recognize Joe and Jerry as the witnesses to the Valentine's Day murders. After several humorous but potentially lethal chases, Joe and Jerry end up witnessing additional mob killings, this time of Spats and his crew. Once again Joe and Jerry have to run for their lives. Joe, dressed as Josephine, sees Sugar onstage singing sadly that she will never love again. He kisses her before he leaves, and Sugar suddenly understands that Joe is both Josephine and Junior.

Sugar runs from the stage at the end of her performance and is able to jump into the launch from Osgood's yacht just as it is leaving the dock with Joe, Jerry, and Osgood in it. Joe tells Sugar that he is not good enough for her, that she would be getting the "fuzzy end of the lollipop" yet again, but Sugar wants him anyway. Jerry, for his part, comes up with a list of objections for why he and Osgood cannot get married, ranging from a smoking habit to infertility. Osgood dismisses them all; he loves Daphne and is determined to go through with the marriage. Exasperated, Jerry removes his wig and shouts, "I'm a man!" Osgood simply responds, "Well, nobody's perfect."

Cast[edit]

All credited cast members

Production[edit]

Marilyn Monroe worked for 10% of the gross in excess of $4 million, Tony Curtis for 5% of the gross over $2 million and Billy Wilder 17.5% of the first million after breakeven and 20% thereafter.[1]

The Florida segment, at the fictitious "Seminole Ritz", was filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California.[2]

The studio hired famed aerielist and female impersonator Barbette to coach Lemmon and Curtis on gender illusion for the film.[3]

Some Like It Hot received a "C" (Condemned) rating from the National Legion of Decency (formerly the Catholic Legion of Decency). The film, along with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and several other films, contributed to the end of the Production Code in the mid-1960s. It was released by United Artists without the MPAA logo in the credits or title sequence, since the film did not receive Production Code approval.

Tony Curtis is frequently quoted as saying that kissing Marilyn Monroe was like "kissing Hitler". However, during a 2001 interview with Leonard Maltin, Curtis stated that he had never made this claim.[4] In his 2008 autobiography, Curtis notes that he did make the statement to the film crew, but it was meant in a joking manner.[5] During his appearance at the Jules Verne Festival in France in 2008, Curtis claimed on the set of Laurent Ruquier's TV show that he and Monroe were lovers in the late 1940s when they were first struggling for recognition in films.

The film's title is a line from the nursery rhyme "Pease Porridge Hot". It also occurs as dialogue in the film when Joe, as "Junior", tells Sugar he prefers classical music over hot jazz. The film's working title was Fanfares of Love, then Not Tonight, Josephine, before the release title was finally decided as Some Like It Hot.

Reception[edit]

Some Like it Hot received widespread critical acclaim. Rotten Tomatoes reports a score of 98%, with an average score of 8.9 out of 10. Roger Ebert says about the movie, "Wilder's 1959 comedy is one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft."

The film earned an estimated $7.2 million in rentals in the US and Canada during its first year of release, making it one of the biggest hits of the year.[6] However because so much of the profits were given away to key participants, UA only made $500,000 during the first year (compared to Wilder who earned $1.2 million, Monroe $800,000 and Curtis $500,000).[1]

Awards and honors[edit]

The film was awarded an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Orry-Kelly) and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jack Lemmon), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Ted Haworth, Edward G. Boyle), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Academy Award for Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.[7]

It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy. Marilyn Monroe won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in Musical or Comedy, and Jack Lemmon for Best Actor in Musical or Comedy.

The film has been acclaimed worldwide as one of the greatest films ever made. In 1989, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," going in on the first year of voting.

In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted it the eighth greatest comedy film of all time. In 2002, Channel 4 ranked Some Like It Hot as the fifth greatest film ever made in their 100 Greatest Films Poll.

American Film Institute lists

In 2011, ABC aired a primetime special, Best in Film: The Greatest Movies of Our Time, that counted down the best films chosen by fans based on results of a poll conducted by ABC and People. Some Like it Hot was selected as the #3 Best Comedy.

Soundtrack[edit]

Adaptations[edit]

An unsold television pilot was filmed by Mirisch Productions in 1961 featuring Vic Damone and Tina Louise. As a favor to the production company, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis agreed to film cameo appearances, returning as their original characters, Daphne and Josephine, at the beginning of the pilot. Their appearance sees them in a hospital where Jerry (Lemmon) is being treated for his impacted back tooth and Joe (Curtis) is the same O blood type.[8]

In 1972, a musical play based on the screenplay of the film, entitled Sugar, opened on Broadway, starring Elaine Joyce, Robert Morse, Tony Roberts and Cyril Ritchard, with book by Peter Stone, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and (all-new) music by Jule Styne. A 1991 production of this show in London featured Tommy Steele and retained the original title. In 2002, Tony Curtis performed in a stage production of the film. He portrayed the character originally played by Joe E. Brown.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Tino Balio, United Artists: The Company The Changed the Film Industry, Uni of Wisconsin Press, 1987 p 170
  2. ^ Lucas, Kate (January 17, 2010). "Locations, Locations, Locations". The Orange County Register. p. Travel 2. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  3. ^ Liner, Elaine (2002-06-13). "Swingers: Barbette soars to greatness with the tragic tale of a trapeze artist". Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  4. ^ This interview is contained in DVD editions of the film.
  5. ^ American Prince, published by Harmony Books, ISBN 978-1-905264-34-6
  6. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
  7. ^ "NY Times: Some Like It Hot". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  8. ^ http://ftvdb.bfi.org.uk/sift/title/805149

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]