Fritzi from Movies Silently is up to her tricks again! This time, she has paired up with Janet from Sister Celluloid to host the “Try it, you’ll like it” Blogathon. Each film in the blogathon fulfills two requirements: 1) they were made in or before 1965, and 2) they must work as an addictive introduction to newcomers to old, classic films. There is an impressive range of films in the blogathon. Check out all the entries for yourself here. Now, for my entry, I chose a film that I always see regarded as one of the best comedies of all time: Some Like It Hot. As a huge fan of comedies, I thought this was the perfect time to finally check out this classic for myself.
After Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), two struggling musicians from Chicago, witness a gang hit, they go on the run disguised as members of an all-girl jazz ensemble.
Whenever I start a movie that is constantly on “Best Of” lists, I’m always leery. I’m leery because on multiple occasions, I haven’t enjoyed a movie that is on these types of lists. I have a similar feeling watching films that I am so far removed from; sometimes I just can’t get into them. Some Like It Hot falls into both of these categories. It is regularly on best of comedies lists and it was made over 55 years ago. Comedy is one of my favorite movie genres so I have been eager to watch it for some time but I did still go in with some reservations. I am very pleased to say these reservations were unnecessary.
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are one of the funniest comedy pairs I have ever seen. Curtis does fantastic transitioning between his female alter ego, Josephine, and other alter ego, Junior, millionaire heir to the Shell oil company. It’s actually quite impressive how well he can play essentially three roles. Shining equally as bright is Lemmon, who only has one alter ego, Daphne, but he has to deal with being courted by real millionaire Osgood Fielding III. As great as they are individually, their scenes together are even better. They had this natural chemistry that isn’t seen very often between two actors. The small things they add, like Jerry focusing so much on Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), the jazz ensemble’s singer, that he doesn’t realize he is playing the wrong side of his bass for a second, make the movie even more enjoyable.
Although Curtis and Lemmon were an absolute delight, they were able to excel because of the amazing script, written by director Billy Wilder and IAL Diamond. I haven’t laughed so hard at a movie in a very long time. The set up of having two guys dress in drag and hide among an all-women jazz ensemble can easily fall into the pitfall of relying on crude jokes and uncomfortable situations, which I enjoy but I know turns others away. Some Like It Hot never goes for the low hanging fruit. Instead, it artfully crafts unique and inventive situations for the characters to find themselves in. Each laugh is genuinely earned.
So far I haven’t even mentioned Marilyn Monroe. As big a star as she was, this is the first film I have watched of hers, so I can’t compare her performance here with her other movies. However, I can say she is good here. Although she doesn’t have the comedic presence of Curtis or Lemmon, she manages to hold her own. Joe E. Brown as Osgood was an absolute surprise to me. He didn’t have a ton of screen time but when he was on screen, he made the most of it. Brown’s comedic timing was perfect and outside of the two leads, he is my favorite actor in the film.
Some Like It Hot has found its way into my favorite comedies. Every scene is filled to the brim with laughs. It’s too bad this is the only film Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon made together (that I know of anyway) because they are one of comedy’s greatest movie duos.
Cast & Crew
Billy Wilder – Director / Writer
IAL Diamond – Writer
Adolph Deutsch – Composer
Tony Curtis – Joey
Jack Lemmon – Jerry
Marilyn Monroe – Sugar
George Raft – Spats Colombo
Pat O’Brian – Det. Mulligan
Joe E. Brown – Osgood Fielding III
Nehemiah Persoff – Little Bonaparte
Joan Shawlee – Sweet Sue
Billy Gray – Sig Poliakoff
George E. Stone – Toothpick Charlie