Monday, November 22, 2010

30 Day Movie Meme: Day 16


This one wasn't as tough as I expected, given the love I have for Billy Wilder's 1959 comedy, Some Like It Hot. 

A few runners-up:
(1) "I am big! It's the pictures that got small."
(Sunset Blvd.)
(2) "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
(A Streetcar Named Desire)
(3) "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"
(4) The "patron saint of mediocrity" speech.
(5) "You keep your friends close, but your enemies closer."
(The Godfather Part II)

It all comes back, though, to the final scene (the final few seconds, to be exact) of Some Like It Hot. You've got Jack Lemmon, one of the masters of exaggerated facial reactions, dressed as a woman. On a speedboat. With a millionaire named Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown). Osgood is the one who utters the famous line: "Well, nobody's perfect."

Lemmon plays Jerry, a man on the run with his friend, Joe (Tony Curtis), after the two witness a mob murder. Lemmon's Jerry soon becomes Daphne, as the two friends decide to disguise themselves as women as a ruse to throw off the mobsters. While Curtis is off flirting with Marilyn Monroe's Sugar, Lemmon's subplot in the film involves being wooed (and proposed to) by Osgood. The two develop a charming bond (thanks in large part to the great chemistry between Lemmon and Brown), all of which culminates in a simple exchange at the very end of the film when "Daphne" reveals she's really a man.

Jerry: "Osgood, I'm gonna level with you. We can't get married at all."
Osgood: "Why not?"
Jerry: "Well, in the first place, I'm not a natural blonde."
Osgood: "Doesn't matter."
Jerry: "I smoke! I smoke all the time!"
Osgood: "I don't care."
Jerry: "Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I've been living with a saxophone player."
Osgood: "I forgive you."
Jerry: "I can never have children!"
Osgood: "We can adopt some."
Jerry: "But you don't understand, Osgood!"
*Jerry pulls off wig*
Jerry: "I'm a man!"
Osgood: "Well, nobody's perfect."

Why I Love This Quote: It's arguably one of the best fade-out lines in film history. Both actors are perfect in this scene, especially with Lemmon's growing exasperation as he gently tries to break his engagement to Brown without revealing the fact that he's a man. Brown's nonchalance and unconditional love is unwavering with each new shocking revelation. What is so incredible about the scene (and the Daphne/Osgood relationship, in general) is the suggestion that Jerry (as Daphne) was happy in his new role as a woman. This is evident in the scenes where Daphne is being wooed by her rich millionaire. Jerry, as Daphne, is thoroughly enjoying the attention. A later conversation between Jerry and Joe reveals that Jerry has accepted Osgood's marriage proposal and is smitten with his new beau and his big, shiny diamond ring. When Joe asks him why he'd want to marry a man, Jerry responds: "For security!" A movie that started out about two men evading gangsters turned into something much more interesting: Jerry embracing his new feminine way of life.

Interesting trivia: Co-screenwriter I.A.L. Diamond wrote the line the night before the scene was shot.