An anonymous staff writer for Variety magazine reviewing Some Like It Hot upon its initial release in 1959 said it succinctly:
“Some Like It Hot, directed in masterly style by Billy Wilder, is probably the funniest picture of recent memory. It’s a whacky, clever, farcical comedy that starts off like a firecracker and keeps on throwing off lively sparks till the very end.”
And how! I never saw Some Like It Hot—I wasn’t sure how good or even funny it would be after nearly 60 years. My expectations were zero. I’m happy to report that it most certainly is a blast—the humor still works well, and the whole thing is deliciously tongue in cheek. I loved it.
Chicago, 1929: musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) desperately need work. After inadvertently witnessing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, they reluctantly accept a gig playing in a female jazz band headed to Florida—as female musicians, of course. Yes, in drag. Who knew sultry party girl Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe) would be around, constantly threatening to blow their cover?
Loaded with sexual tension and humor, Some Like It Hot shows a side of the ’50s I didn’t realize existed: it’s brazen, offbeat, ardent, inspired, and totally original. Curtis, Lemmon, and Monroe are unstoppable together. The scene with Curtis and Monroe on the yacht is oddly hot. I definitely get the appeal of Monroe after seeing this—and I’ve seen in her other films, specifically Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Not the same effect at all. Joe E. Brown is unforgettable as cracker-barrel millionaire Osgood Fielding, who tries his damnedest to woo Daphne (Lemmon).
Some Like It Hot has the absolute best final scene—if not the absolute best final line—in film history. It’s a classic that everyone should see.
In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed Some Like It Hot “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry (https://www.loc.gov/programs/national-film-preservation-board/film-registry/complete-national-film-registry-listing/).
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