Saturday, February 19, 2011

Some Like It Hot

After seeing just a couple minutes of Marilyn Monroe in All About Eve, I was pretty interested in seeing Some Like It Hot even if it wasn't any good. Of course it's a Billy Wilder movie so it was good anyway, and it also stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, two solid comic actors of the era who play off each other really well. Some Like It Hot is a cross-dressing movie, which is an idea that usually spells disaster in the modern film world but works well here, as two musicians witness a mob execution in Chicago and then go on the run as women so they can join an all-girl band and get a free trip to Florida. On the way though they both become attached to Monroe's Sugar, the band's singer who has problems with drinking and throwing herself at men. There are some wacky scenarios and a bit of competition between the two friends, but Lemmon's Jerry sort of falls in the running when all his attentions turn toward the overly forward and notably wealthy Osgood, who takes a liking to him.

So while he's stringing Osgood along since he likes being treated nicely, Curtis' Joe balances multiple personas as he plays a woman in the band and a wealthy heir to try to seduce Sugar. Of course he develops deeper feelings for her, and things get even messier when the mob shows up in their hotel for a party and figures out what's going on. It's all pretty over the top, but it works because it's just witty and likable enough to skirt over issues like the unbelievability of Sugar not noticing Josephine and Junior are the same person and the likelihood of the bad guys just happening to show up right where the heroes are. Really, the whole organized crime subplot could have totally flopped, but it ends up working both as a way to set up the extraordinary circumstances that force the cross-dressing in the first place and because of the goofy bad-guy banter that happens whenever they show up. It's a funny madcap adventure, with a bit of heart as well in all the right places. Monroe looks stunning through the whole movie, and of course the final line is an undeniable classic. Not my favorite Billy Wilder movie, but certainly a very good one.

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