Some Like it Hot (1959)

Genre: Comedy

 

Description:
When musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) witness a mob hit they fear that they will be next. To flee the state, the two broke men create a disguise: as Josephine and Daphne they sign up to perform in Sweet Sue’s all girl orchestra. En route to Florida by train for a performance the two disguised men meet the band’s lead singer: Sugar Cane (Marilyn Monroe). Joe immediatly falls in love with her, but cannot let her know as that will blow their cover. Meanwhile in Florida, a billionaire falls in love with ‘Daphne’, causing even more problems.

 

Cast:
Marilyn Monroe                              –                                Sugar Kane Kowalczyk
Tony Curtis                                     –                                Joe/Josephine
Jack Lemmon                                   –                               Jerry/Daphne
George Raft                                     –                                Spats Colombo
Joe E. Brown                                     –                               Osgood Fielding III
Pat O’Brien                                      –                                Det. Mulligan
Joan Shwalee                                   –                                Sweet Sue
Nehemia Persoff                             –                                Little Bonaparte

The original trailer:

Trivia:
– Some Like it Hot is a remake of the 1935 French film Fanfare d’Amour, which was also remade by German director Kurt Hoffmann as Fanfare der Liebe in 1951.

– Many actors were considered for the three leads, such as Frank Sinatra, Danny Kaye and Bob Hope. Jerry Lewis was offered the role of Jerry/Daphne, but declined. Something he was to regret when the movie proved to be a huge succes. Mitzi Gaynor was supposed to play Sugar but when director Billy Wilder learned that Marilyn Monroe was available, he immediately offered the part to her.

– Although all involved in the film praised Marilyn’s comedic timing and acting ability, they were also very annoyed by her behavior on set. Marilyn had, as is now known, many personal demons. She drank and relied heavily on prescripted drugs. While shooting, she found out she was pregnant. An ecstatic Marilyn immediately stopped taking pills and alcohol, only to found out she had lost the baby a little while later. She quickly fell back into her old routine and had difficulty with many scenes. For instance, the line ‘It’s me, Sugar’ took her 47 takes to say correctly.

– Marilyn’s contract stipulated that all her movies were to be shot in colour. But because Tony Curtis and Jack Lemons’ make-up was so thick, director Billy Wilder was able to convince Marilyn to let him shoot it in black and white.

– The actor’s made some suggestions that were used for the film. Because she felt her character’s introduction was too ‘flat’, Marilyn suggested to let the train squirt hot steam and startle her as she walks passed. Tony and Jack were initially given lessons to learn how to walk in heels, before Jack suggested that it was funnier if they walk like men trying to walk in heels.

– The film was pretty risque for its time, because of the ‘cross-dressing’, Marilyn’s sexy outfits and the sexual references. Upon its release, Kansas banned the film because cross-dressing was ‘too disturbing for Kansas’. It was also one of the few American movies to be given a ‘condemned’ rating by the Roman Catholic Legion of Decency.

– The film had had two other titles before they settled on Some like it Hot: Fanfares of Love and Not Tonight, Josephine.

– The first sneak preview of the film did not go well: a lot of audience members walked out. But director, producer and writer Billy Wilder had faith and refused to change any of it. The second preview, with a younger audience, went much better: the audience gave the film a standing ovation.

– In 1972 the film was adapted to a stage musical called Sugar, which ran for 505 performances.
 

Awards
Wins: 
Best Costume Design- Orry Kelly- 1960 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Foreign Actor – Jack Lemmon- 1960 British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Best Picture-Comedy – Some Like it Hot – 1960 Golden Globes
Best Actor in a Comedy Picture – Jack Lemmon – 1960 Golden Globes
Best Actress in a Comedy Picture – Marilyn Monroe – 1960 Golden Globes
Best Written American Comedy – Billy Wilder – 1960 Writers Guild of America
Nominated:
Best Actor in a Leading Role – Jack Lemmon – 1960 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Art Direction – Ted Haworth and Edward G. Boyle – 1960 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Cinematography – Charles Lange – 1960 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Director – Billy Wilder – 1960 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Writing – Billy Wilder – 1960 Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
Best Film – Some Like it Hot – 1960 British Academy of Film and Television Arts
Outstanding Directorial Achievement – Billy Wilder – 1960 Directors Guild of America
Best Written American Comedy – Billy Wilder – 1960 Writers Guild of America

Influence:
Director, writer and producer Billy Wilder hit a homerun when he made Some Like it Hot. Not only was it the all-time highest-grossing comedy up to its time, it has become a popular classic ever since. The storyline and sense of humour are timeless and the talented actors bring the art of comedy to a new level. Some Like it Hot is perhaps best known as Marilyn Monroe’s most popular film. It is seen as her best work and a testimony to her acting talent and comedic ability to not only her huge fanbase but also many filmcritics. But Tony Curtis’ and Jack Lemmons’ performance should definitely not be underrated either, as they are the ones who make the premise of the film work.
But great actors would be nothing without great material. And after his succes with Sunset Boulevard and Sabrina, Billy Wilder once again proved that he was one of the most talented man in Hollywood when he delivered Some Like it Hot. In 2000, the American Film Institute listed Some Like it Hot as the greatest American comedy of all time and that is how it will go down in history. 




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