In Some Like it Hot musicians Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) witness a mob hit and 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.
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 of Some Like it Hot:
– 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.
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.
Read more about Marilyn Monroe’s life.