Sunday, June 5, 2011

30 Day Movie Meme: Day 23

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis as Daphne and Josephine

I've written about this 1959 classic a bunch of times already. My obsession with this film has continued, unabated, for more than a year now -- ever since I watched it twice in one week and wondered why it had taken me so long to watch it in the first place.

Sure, it may not constantly have laugh-out-loud moments and it may not be to everyone's personal tastes, but Some Like It Hot has one of the cleverest scripts to ever come out of Hollywood, thanks in large part to director Billy Wilder and co-screenplay writer I.A.L. Diamond. It's so ahead of its time it's unbelievable.

The film is an absolute farce, with a broad sense of humour that revolves around a simple plot involving two musicians who witness a Mob murder and go into hiding by dressing as women and joining an all-girl touring musical band. It has a manic, high-octane energy -- everything feels as though it's moving in fast forward. Devoid of any dull moments, Some Like It Hot is as intelligent as it is hilarious. The jokes are whip-smart, the social commentary is sharp and the starring cast of Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe are all impossibly perfect in their respective roles. The most startling thing about the film is that, to this very day, it remains as fresh and relevant as it was in 1959.

Marilyn Monroe as Sugar.
How many films of the 1950s and early-1960s openly challenged traditional gender roles and sexuality the way Some Like It Hot did so effectively? The first time I watched it I was blown away by the fact that it even managed to bypass the rigid Hollywood Motion Picture Production Code censorship guidelines. With it's jokes about gender identity, sex and Jack Lemmon's character openly embracing and revelling in his new life as Daphne (even going so far as to accept a marriage proposal from the millionaire Osgood Fielding III), it's amazing that the film even went on to become a monster hit in 1959. Hollywood executives were left reeling, but the film remains a classic -- one of those genuinely superb films that actually deserves the laurels and praise of being labelled a 'comedy classic.'

Some of my previous entries about Some Like It Hot:
(1) 30 Day Movie Meme Day 16: Favourite Quote
(2) Hollywood Tidbits: Some Like It Hot Part I.
(3) Hollywood Tidbits: Some Like It Hot Part II.