“Nobody’s perfect.” Maybe Osgood Fielding III had it right. Or maybe not. When it comes to “Some Like It Hot,” that clichéd platitude just doesn’t hold water. Directed by Billy Wilder and starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, this 1959 film is a perfect example of a genre-buster. There’s something for everyone.
The story: Chicago, 1929. Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon), two down-on-their luck musicians, witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and find themselves on the run. They elude Spats Colombo and his mob by skipping town disguised as women in an all-girl band. That’s right, folks. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon in drag! ZOWIE!
So what kind of movie is “Some Like It Hot”? A comedy, of course. But more than a comedy. Much more.
It’s a Buddy Film: Joe (aka Josephine) and Jerry (aka Daphne) are best friends. They even share the same blood type (type “O”). But when the omelet hits the fan, they change from guys to gals faster than you can say “Pass the lipstick.”
It’s a Musical: Monroe as Sugar Kane “boop boopy doo’s” herself into Joe’s heart while Jerry and Osgood dance a sizzling tango with such elegance that they make Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers look like a couple of chimpanzees on roller skates.
It’s an Action Movie: Car chases, machine guns and a birthday cake. Danger lurks around every corner as men in skirts and high heels run for their lives on slick linoleum.
It’s a Romance: Flowers, diamond bracelets, booze. Love is in the air. Joe loves Sugar…Sugar loves Junior…Osgood loves Daphne…the bell boy loves Josephine…Spats loves buttermilk.
It’s an Art Film: Shot in black-and-white, it’s a hard-hitting social commentary about the politics of Prohibition, trans-gender issues and the universal truth that blondes really do have more fun.
It’s a Family Movie: Okay, maybe not.
It’s a Drama: Just try to hold back your tears when Sugar tells about her obsession with saxophone players and how she’s always getting the fuzzy end of the lollypop. Not to mention the squeezed-out tube of toothpaste.
It’s a Suspense: Does Jerry’s wig fall off while swimming with the girls? Will too much Sugar put Joe in a diabetic coma? And what’s the significance of the bicycle? Is it derivative of “Citizen Kane” and the mysterious “rosebud”?
Perhaps the genre that best describes “Some Like It Hot” is the Chick Flick. Sig at the talent agency summed it up nicely: “Ya gotta be under 25…ya gotta be blonde…and ya gotta be girls.” SNAP!
There’s Sweet Sue, the hard-nosed career woman who rules her all-girl band, the Society Syncopaters, with a rod of iron…Hillary Clinton of the Jazz Age. On the other side of the spectrum is Sugar, the voluptuous ukulele player who wants to marry a millionaire. Men go ga-ga over her despite the fact that she is so NOT a size four.
One of the fun things about chick flicks is watching the fashions. You won’t be disappointed. Joe’s adorable faux fur collar is to die for, and Jerry’s chic evening gown will make you downright jealous. And while it’s true that Joe has sexier legs, Jerry’s hair style is way cuter.
But it gets better. As women, Joe and Jerry have no trouble attracting the opposite sex (uh…meaning men, not women…I think). Joe is pursued by the bell boy, while Jerry catches the eye of Osgood, who even proposes marriage! If Joe and Jerry can snag a guy, there’s hope for single ladies…and gents…everywhere.
In this movie appearances can be deceiving. Women are men. Men are women. Seams are straight. But one thing is certain. Everybody likes it hot.