Tuesday, January 18, 2011
#34: Some Like it Hot
It's probably not going to find too many takers but I have to say that a movie like Some Like it Hot is the kind that doesn't age well. Billy Wilder, one of the most accomplished of all directors, made this movie in 1959 at the peak of his career right after he finished the fantastic court drama Witness for the Prosecution.
In an extra on the Stalag 17 DVD, someone once mentioned about how Billy Wilder has made the most definitive movie in every genre that there is in cinema. In that sense Some Like it Hot was Billy's definitive movie in the genre of screwball comedy. Why I said that still is a movie that doesn't age well, is because by the time I caught it, I had seen the all-too-familiar gag of men dressed as women and the jokes that it could possibly evoke about hairly legs and unshapely boobs in far too many movies like Mrs. Doubtfire.
That said, it is perfectly understandable why a movie with a cast of Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis would be lapped up by audiences worldwide. For one, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are irreprisible as Joe and Jerry- two musicians out of job, who witness a mob killing and have to run away from Chicago. Their best chance is to dress up as women and join an all-girl band headed to Florida and that's where they meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe). The movie from there on is their story of how they both fall for Sugar and how they manage to dodge the mobsters who are on their chase. It does have a few funny moments but nothing that could qualify as a laugh-out-loud one. The special thing about it has to be the chemistry between Joe and Jerry. In all the scenes that they are in together, they do a wonderful job, particularly Jack Lemmon, who plays a slightly more elevated role of what is traditionally called a 'sidekick' to the main character of Tony Curtis.
I'll have to stick my neck out in saying that Some Like it Hot wouldn't be a hot favorite of mine when I list down my favorite all-time funny movies. It is funny alright but at the time I saw it, it had outlived it's gags. It still is a must-watch to appreciate the range and versatility of one man and that is Billy Wilder. One has to be a genius to make movies like Ace in the Hole, Stalag 17, Sunset Boulevard and follow them up with a Some Like it Hot.