This posting is my contribution to the CMBA Comedy Classics Blogathon which runs through Jan. 27th. You can find more contributors here.
Do you remember the first film you ever recorded? I do, it was Billy Wilder’s “Some Like it Hot” way back sometime in the 1960’s. “Wait a minute!” You say, “How can you have recorded it back in the 1960’s when VCR’s did not come out until the late 1970’s?” Well, it was simple, on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. I loved this film so much I recorded the entire soundtrack. I use to lay down in bed or on the couch with my headphones on and listen to the entire movie, visualizing all the scenes.
Crazy, weird? Probably, I am sure my parents thought so.
Needless to say, “Some Like it Hot” is one of my favorite movies, it has stood the test of time. Because of this film, I became a lifelong admirer of both director Billy Wilder and Jack Lemmon. It is a film I never get tired of watching.
Before and since its release in 1959, there have been many films that have used men in drag as a plot device (“I Was A Male War Bride”, “Tootsie”, “La Cage aux Folles”), even TV shows like “Bosom Buddies” got into the act, however none have come close or surpassed “Some Like it Hot” in its farcical humor. The well-known storyline is simple, it is 1929, two Chicago musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon), witness The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre after which they decide it might be best for their health if they leave town. The only jobs available are as musicians in an all girl band heading for Florida. It is at the train station they meet Sugar “Kane” Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe) a ukulele player and singer with the band.
Wilder opens the film with an old fashion 1930’s Warner Brothers style shootout. The police are hot in pursuit of a Hearst packed with members of Spats Columbo’s gang. Firepower is exploding from both sides with no concern for innocent passerby’s. The battle rages until the police car skids and smashes into a poll. Losing the cops, the hoodlums, in the back of the Hearst, open up the damaged coffin to find the bullet ridden remains of hundreds of bottles of bootleg booze.
Inside Mozerella’s Funeral Parlor, a front for a speakeasy, we meet Joe and Jerry, the two musicians whose lives are about to change drastically. Within moments, they will be out of work after a raid by the police thanks to a snitch named “Toothpick” Charlie (George E. Stone). Evading the police during the raid, the now out of work boys make the rounds of various music agencies only to find out the two available jobs for a sax and bass player are in an All Girls Band, or a $6 a piece gig some one hundred miles away. The boys opt for the long snowy drive, borrowing Nellie Wymers car which is parked in a garage, unknowingly to the boys, a hangout for local hoods. It is here they innocently witness the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Suddenly, the job dressed as women in an All Girls Band, more than a thousand miles away in Florida, does not seem so bad.
As they join the band at the train station, Joe and Jerry have transform into Josephine and Geraldine, who is soon to become Daphne (Jerry never liked the name Geraldine). The new girls, “brand new!” as Jerry comments, meet the rest of the band on the train including Sugar “Kane” (Marilyn Monroe) the beautiful, vulnerable singer/ukulele player.
Once in Florida, Joe adds a second disguise as Junior, the wealthy son of a millionaire (Shell Oil), who quickly attempts to seduce the sexy though naive Sugar. Meanwhile Jerry, I mean Daphne, is pursued by octogenarian Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown) who falls head over heels in love and wants to marry her.
Before long the Chicago gangsters show up for a “convention” of the Friends of Italian Opera and well, all hell breaks loose leading to the now classic closing line by Osgood after he proposes marriage to Daphne who reveals she’s a he!
“Well, nobody’s perfect.” Osgood responds.
At the time of its release, the Catholic Legion of Decency gave the film a condemned rating (in Kansas, they actually banned the film); subsequently “Some Like it Hot” joined a flock of notable films ruled objectionable to viewing by all Catholics. This included films like “The Outlaw”, “Black Narcissus”, Fritz Lang’s “M”, “And God Created Woman” and “Baby Doll.” The big “C” rating usually meant the large Catholic population would stay away from these films and boycott them into oblivion. However, by 1959, the Legion, along with the Motion Picture Production Code was beginning to lose their grip. Audiences, both Catholic and non-Catholic went to see “Some Like it Hot” turning it into one of the biggest hits of the year. So why was “Some Like it Hot” condemned? One three-letter word…sex!
As Osgood would say, “Zowie!”
Billy Wilder and co-screenwriter I.A.L Diamond wrote a script that is not only funny but also loaded with sexual innuendo. The now classic train berth scene where Jerry/Daphne plans a private slumber party for just him and Sugar turns into an accidental wild bash with just about every female band member climbing into the berth ready to party hardy including one baby doll wearing blonde flaunting a large salami. The scene progresses into a sea of pajama clad female bodies climbing all over each other, reminiscent of the stateroom scene in The Marx Brothers, “A Night at the Opera,” with plenty of booze spilling, inappropriate hand movement and by the end of the scene a frustrated Jerry/Daphne in the middle of a male fantasy gone haywire. Later on, Joe’s seduction of Sugar aboard Osgood’s yacht where he pretends to be an impotent millionaire speaking with an obvious phony Cary Grant accent. Sugar’s attempts to “revive” the millionaire’s sleeping libido steams up not only his glasses but also the entire movie screen. Meanwhile on shore, Jerry/Daphne and lecherous millionaire Osgood Fielding III are steaming up the floor with a hot tango.
So where are we here? We have Joe posing as woman (Josephine) who then impersonates a guy (Junior) in an attempt to get Sugar into bed. Then there is Jerry as Geraldine who change “her” name to Daphne and is pursued by a dirty millionaire mama’s boy. Anyone familiar with Wilder’s work is aware that impersonation is a common theme in his films. In his very first directorial effort, “The Major and the Minor” he had Ginger Rogers posing as a 12-year-old girl. In “Irma La Douce”, Jack Lemmon is a French police officer who poses as an English Lord and then there was Kim Novak as Polly the Pistol, a hooker who poses as a married housewife in 1964’s “Kiss Me Stupid.”
Acting kudos belong to all three leads. Monroe was a limited actress but she had a gift for knowing what was right for Marilyn Monroe. A true movie star if not a great actress, she managed to offer a combination of strong overt womanly sexuality, yet maintaining a childlike innocence that manages to make the most explicit double entendres sound innocent. Sex with Marilyn is steamy and exciting but never threatening.
Jack Lemmon became a major star with this film and found a creative career partner in Billy Wilder with whom he would go on to make six more films. Lemmon was still under contract to Columbia when Wilder approached him for the role. In order to work with Wilder on this film, Lemmon had to agree to extend his contract with Columbia. Instead of the one film he then owed Harry Cohn, he agreed to make four more films for the studio.
Tony Curtis’ work as Joe has generally been overshadowed by Lemmon’s breakout performance, and Monroe’s sexuality, yet Curtis is an accomplished comedic actor who has been overlooked throughout his career, not just in comedy but in dramatic parts too (Sweet Smell of Success). His Cary Grant imitation in the film came about when Wilder asked him if there is anyone he could imitate. When Curtis said Cary Grant, Wilder was ecstatic; he always wanted to make a film with the debonair Mr. Grant, this would be as close as he would ever come. Curtis was also a victim of Marilyn’s bad work habits. Her performance would improve after multiple takes, while Tony was generally at his best in the early takes. Wilder usually went with Marilyn’s best sacrificing Tony’s performance. After all, most eyes were going to be on Monroe.
Wilder and Diamond’s dialogue just rolls off the tongues of his cast like an expensive bottle of wine. When Joe/Josephine and Jerry/Daphne first spot Sugar walking along the train platform, Jerry tells Joe, “It’s just like Jell-O on springs! Some sort of built in motor. I tell ya’ it’s a whole different sex.” The movie is filled with just about one classic scene after another. After Jerry announces to Joe that he is engaged.
Joe asks, “Who’s the lucky girl?”
“I am” Jerry replies. “Osgood proposed to me. We’re planning a June Wedding.”
“You can’t marry Osgood!” Joe tells him.
“Why? Do you think he’s too old for me?”
Joe tells Jerry he had better lie down.
Jerry replies, “Will you stop treating me like a child. I know there’s a problem.”
“I’ll say there is!” Joe said
“His mother! We need her approval. But I’m not worried, because I don’t smoke.”
“Jerry there is another problem. Like what are you going to do on your honeymoon?”
“We’ve been discussing that,” Jerry says, “He wants to go to the Riviera and I kinda lean toward Niagara Falls.”
Who else but Wilder, and he knew Marilyn’s childlike delivery could get away with it, would write a line like “That’s the story of my life; I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.”
A few years earlier, Wilder swore he would never work with Monroe again after making “The Seven Year Itch,” claiming life is too short. Yet, here he was with MM again because well, no one was like Marilyn. She was oblivious to others, not necessarily uncaring, just oblivious. Lemmon and Curtis would spend hours getting ready in makeup for their roles and then would have to sit around and wait until Marilyn came out of her trailer. Still, when you saw her on the screen, it was magical. Wilder compared her screen presence to Garbo. Speaking of Monroe, there is the scene where she sings “I Wanna Be Love By Love” while wearing what amounts to a see-through gown, so carefully lit that Wilder managed to get it passed the vigilant eyes of the censors.
Tony Curtis was pretty much signed up for the film from the start. Wilder originally planned on Frank Sinatra as Joe and Mitzi Gaynor as Sugar. Curtis was originally scheduled to play Jerry. Then Monroe signed on. Along the way, Sinatra was out and the young and upcoming Jack Lemmon signed on for the role of Jerry. Curtis switched over to the role of Joe. The film was originally to be shot in color, however, after a few screen tests of the boys dressed as girls were completed, it was decided they would be more believable in black and white. In truth, neither Lemmon nor Curtis are very convincing as women, unlike say Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie.” Watching the film recently, I keep getting the feeling that Lemmon looked at times like a deranged combination of Angela Lansbury’s Jessica Fletcher and Heath Ledger’s “The Joker.” They get away with it mainly because “Some Like it Hot” is a wild farce as opposed to a more straight comedic film with a message, like “Tootsie.”
The movie is not just Monroe, Lemmon and Curtis; Wilder pays loving tribute to the Warner Brothers gangster film with George Raft playing Spats Colombo and Pat O’Brien as Police Detective Mulligan. Wilder also used “Little Caesar” alumni George E. Stone in the role of “Toothpick” Charlie. There is also a wonderful scene with Raft and a young thug flipping a coin in the air, Raft’s trademark move from the original 1933 “Scarface.” He tells the thug, “Where did you get that cheap trick?” The thug is played by Edward G. Robinson Jr. Warner Brothers alumni Edward Robinson Sr. was originally supposed to play Little Bonaparte, a role ultimately performed by Nehemiah Peroff. Then there is Joe E. Brown whose pronunciation of Wilder and Diamonds dialogue is well, “Zowie,” thanks to a very large mouth. Also on board are Wilder favorite Joan Shawlee as Sweet Sue. Character actor Mike Mazurski (“Ain’t I had the pleasure of meeting you two broads before?”) is one of the not so brightly lit hoods.
The Florida scenes were filmed in San Diego at the famed Coronado Hotel. And I would be remiss if I did not mention Charles Lang’s beautiful black and white photography.
Not all critics at the time were bowled over by “Some Like it Hot.” Some were shocked by the risqué humor (Judith Crist for one), still the film was a monumental hit. Today, it is considered arguably one of the funniest films ever put on celluloid. The American Film Institute named it the funniest film ever made, for what that is worth. Is it Wilder’s best film? Many would argue so, and with a filmography consisting of such works like “The Apartment”, “Double Indemnity”, “Sunset Blvd”, “Ace in the Hole” and others it is tough to make a definitive choice. For me, as I stated in the beginning, it was the first film I ever recorded and one of my all-time favorites, I consider it up there with “City Lights,” “The Gold Rush,” “Duck Soup” and “The Producers” as one of the greatest comedies ever made, and a sentimental favorite to say the least.
John, it’s been literally years since I saw SOME LIKE IT HOT (forgive me, I’ve been busy :-)), but your excellent review brings it all back, hitting the film’s greatest high notes! I had to smile at your reminiscence of making an audio tape recording of SLIH, because I used to record my favorite movies and TV shows on my portable cassette player before technology started changing, and DVD/Blu-Ray and TiVo came into our lives. 🙂 The whole cast was a delight, in my opinion; I agree that Tony Curtis was never quite as appreciated as he should have been, especially with all those multiple roles that he (and Jack Lemmon, of course!) played, with the Cary Grant-accented Junior being my favorite. (Having done most of my growing up in the Bronx, I applaud anyone who can put on a convincing Grant-like accent! :-))
You and I discussed Marilyn Monroe over at TALES OF THE EASILY DISTRACTED, and once again, Marilyn proved that nobody played Marilyn like Marilyn! Though she may have been high-maintenance, it was worth it for her one-of-a-kind screen presence. And how awesome were those character actors? I’m still laughing over Mike Mazurski playing, as you put it, “one of the not so brightly lit hoods.” Take a bow for your superb post, John!.
Dorian, thanks very much. I love this film, which is plainly evident in my review. The script, the cast, the 1920’s atmosphere are just perfect. Lemmon is superb! And the tribute to the 1930’s Warner Brothers gangster era with George Raft, Pat O’Brien and George E. Stone is a nice touch from Wilder.
Wondering if you have seen MY WEEK WITH MARILYN with Michele Williams. She did an amazing job transforming herself in the 50’s sex symbol. You need to see this if you have not.
I can’t believe I was not the only one to be recording movies prior to the home video age. It’s make me feel better knowing I was not the only one out there! (LOL)
I loved reading your fond remembrance of this movie. To me, there are few comedies that surpass Some Like It Hot. I wouldn’t call it Wilder’s masterpiece (I think that title was secured by Sunset Blvd.), but it’s right up there with his very best. That scene in which “Daphne” reveals “her” engagement to Osgood is a virtual master class in comedy!
Brandie – You and I are on the same page here. SOME LIKE IT HOT is one of the greatest comedies, though I know a few people who do not think so. As for Wilder’s masterpiece, wow! I think he has a few, of course SUNSE BLVD which you mention. I would also throw in DOUBLE INDEMNITY, probably ACE IN THE HOLE and THE APARTMENT with this film here not far behind. Ask me tomorrow and I may change my mind. I love the scene you mention as well as the train compartment scene and the film’s ending. The script is filled with wonderful lines, puns and in jokes. Thanks very much!!!
I agree with you about MM’s limited talent (range) but she got lucky, so lucky in the scripts that were handed to her! Childlike is the perfect description.
Such interesting info you’ve included about Wilder and how SLIH affecting everyone’s careers. This film is silly from beginning to end but you can’t deny Lemmon, Curtis and MM chemistry, screen presence carrying the film into our memories as a good comedy and a classic. It certainly is one we won’t soon forget. Thanks to Wilder’s talent and vision.
Interesting info on Wilder not wanting to work with MM. And thanks for sharing your first memory of this film. That’s what makes these Blogathon choices so interesting.
Wonderfully written John!
Page – As Dorian mentioned in her comment, she and I have discussed Marilyn on a post over at her blog. I made the statement she was limited as an actress, but nobody played Marilyn like Marilyn. Sexual yet so innocent and childlike. A great blend. She really did not have to be a great actress, she just had the look, the charisma, whatever it was that when the camera was on her she is pretty much all you saw. In a similar repect, John Wayne was the same way. Limited actor but John Wayne plays John Wayne better than anybody. That’s the way it is with Marilyn. When either one is on the screen there is a magic light that goes on. Their personality, style, karma just takes over. It’s magical. I guess that’s what made them real stars.
Glad you enjoyed the review. Thanks!!!
John, wow, what a fantastic review of SOME LIKE IT HOT! I learned much that I didn’t know about the film and its release. Love that you recorded the sountrack on a reel-to-reel (i used to record TV themes on my trusty reel-to-reel in the 60s, but i digress). SOME LIKE IT HOT ranks with Wilder’s best and may be my favorite film starring Tony or Marilyn. But, of course, my favorite performance is Jack Lemmon’s (though he also got much of the best dialogue). It’s funny how often the female impersonation plot has been tried with middling results. It goes to show that even a oft-used plot can be magic in the hands of a master.
Thanks Rick! Lemmon did have the best lines, but I think he also had the best delivery. Some lines as written are not funny until they come out of his mouth and then sound funnier. The only female impersonation that is in the same ball park or maybe even better is Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie.” In most other cases the performances are way too broad, maybe purposely done that way just for the laughs.
Great review of one of my favorite films! While Marilyn is hard to ignore and Jack Lemmon is aces, I’m so glad you threw some roses at Tony Curtis. He was fantastic here – one of his very best performances. I also liked your comment that the opening was as homage of sorts to those of Warner Brothers gangster films – George Raft and Pat O’Brien, too! You couldn’t have picked a better film.
I thought Curtis was great here. Like you say, one of his best performances. Have you seen SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS? He is truly sensational in it. I still need to get over to your blog. THE PRODUCERS is one of my top comedies. Thanks!!!
Curtis does get looked over her, while Lemmon and Monroe are always touted as the stars. I thought the film was really funny and that everybody did a great job. Liked reading all the background information your provide.
Thanks Kim. Everyone did do a great job including the superb supporting cast. George Raft plays his part straight which adds a nice menacing touch.
A great review for one of my favorite fast moving comedies, a gem from start to finish. I agree.. Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon are at their very best. Sometimes.. I think Jack Lemmon, over acts.. but some how, it works for him..
My favorite scenes is when Lemmon is courted by Osgood Fielding and seems to forget he’s a boy and has so much fun with Fielding and really treasures the things he buys him and when Curtis starts talking like Cary Grant. I love Marilyn Monroe and most of her performances..
Great scenes you mention. There are so many great scenes in this film that it is hard to select just one or two. I love the scene in the train berth with Lemmon and a slew of women where he has to remind himself that he’s a “girl,” Thanks as always!
John, a wonderful post on, as you say, one of the funniest movies ever made and one of the great Wilder’s absolute best. When I think of Wilder’s other great and near-great films, the thing that strikes me is how different they are from each other. He never settled into an identifiable thematic preoccupation (aside from his dim view of human nature and ruses to get sexual innuendo past the censors) or stuck with one visual style. And he seemed to delight in an unpredictable mixture of seriousness and humor–often at the same time! As you say, there have been similar movies but nothing exactly like this one. “Tootsie” is to me in the same league but with a modern take on gender roles at its center is really in a different category. Those two films may be the last great screwball comedies ever made, years after the genre had gone out of fashion or become degraded into childishness.
I found lots of fascinating details in your post–the casting changes, the decision to shoot in b&w, for example. I certainly agree that the film rests on a triumvirate of masterful performances that seem in perfect harmony with one another. I like the way you point out how this film incorporates so many details from previous movies but synthesizes them into something unique. Finally, I just want to repeat what a tremendous post this is–your vivid descriptions did bring it all back to me too–and how much it adds to the blogathon, with its combination of little-known treasures and undisputed classics like “Some Like It Hot.”
I think you hit it correctly when you state that the only thematic consistency in Wilder’s films is his “dim view of human nature” along with “ruses to get sexual innuendo past the censors ,” though I would say quite a few directors liked pushing the censors buttons, Preminger and Hitchcock to name two. I think it was his cynical look at life that has always attracted me to his films along with the great stories. What also attracts me to Wilder is the intelligence in his scripts, something that is clearly missing in many of today’s films. It seems funny now, but some critics at the time found the film smutty, which I think just goes to show how much things have changed over the years.
Monroe, Curtis and Lemmon were certainly in synch with each other. It is hard to imagine others in these roles. BTW, I read the script for this many years ago and it is just hilarious to read.
And I want to thank you for the very kind words
John ~ I’m sorry I missed your post on Thursday, but it certainly was worth the wait. I’m a fan of pre-code comedies and I find it interesting how much “Some Like It Hot” has in common with the era’s sensibilities. The obvious place and time depicted in an America of the late 1920s, but also the somewhat playfully risqué depiction of alcohol, crime, gender, murder and sex. The reaction to the film is also reminiscent to the outrage that brought about the enforcement of the code (should I say, the more things changed the more they stayed the same). I agree with your observation that both Curtis and Lemmon show the range of their careers by their performances in “Some Like It Hot,” which were followed by “Sweet Smell Of Success” for Curtis and “The Apartment” for Lemmon. Thank you for this excellent addition to the blogathon, and a wonderful reminder of Wilder’s genius and the madness that is a classic film fan (a “convention” of the Friends of Italian Opera, hilarious).
I find your comparison to the pre-code era interesting as SOME LIKE IT HOT was one of those films from the 1950’s that began to chip away at the production code. I am a big fan of the pre-code era finding a certain honesty in them that was lacking in later films plus many of them are just a lot of fun!. Thanks for your thoughtful comment here!
John – “Some Like it Hot” is also one of my favorite films. I have no idea how many times I have seen it, but I can tell you that if it happens to be on TCM and I’m in the house, I’ll watch it. It is one of the very best of Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond (my personal favorite) – not to mention Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe and Tony Curtis (definitely the best Joe E. Brown I’ve seen).
There was a time when I was quite fascinated by Marilyn Monroe. Most women of a certain age probably have had the same experience. She was so incredibly beautiful and yet so completely vulnerable and unstable – or at least that was her onscreen persona. She didn’t need Lee Strasberg or the Actors’ Studio to hone her craft, as you point out, she knew what worked for MM – and that ineffably dreamy persona of hers did the rest.
I hadn’t thought about Billy Wilder in relation to an impersonation theme. Fascinating. In different ways it seems that impersonation or mistaken identity comes up everywhere in his work. In “Double Indemnity,” Walter Neff sees Phyllis as a dissatisfied wife but learns she may be a woman who has killed before (her husband’s late wife). Neff himself is mistaken by Keyes as a dedicated insurance man impervious to fraud (let alone murder). In “Sunset Blvd.” Norma Desmond initially mistakes Joe Gillis for a pet embalmer and Max, her servant, turns out to have been her husband. In “The Apartment,” C.C. Baxter sees Fran Kubelik as wholesome and is deeply disillusioned when he realizes she is the mistress of Mr. Sheldrake. And C.C. Baxter’s neighbor, the doctor, believes Baxter is quite the ladies man – when Baxter is, in reality, simply letting office executives use his apt. for their trysts. Great point!
You’re right, Monroe did not need the Actor’s Studio, she was MARILYN MONROE! She was more than an actress she was a icon, a movie star, a screen presence, something that cannot be taught. You either have it or you don’t. It’s like John Wayne, or Gary Cooper, neither great thespians, like say Brando or Olivier, but all were screen giants with that certain commanding presence that wipes everyone else off the screen. Olivier was a great actor, and wonderful to watch, but he never truly made it as a movie star like the others mentioned here. He didn’t have that certain “IT.”
Wilder, along with Hitchcock and Blake Edwards were my first introductions to film directors. I wasn’t sure what a director did in those days but their names seemed to be on all the films I liked. It was actually with the first two PINK PANTHER films back ’64 when I noticed Edwards name as director and screenwriter. That’s when I started paying attention to screen credits and who did what.
Good points on the other Wilder films you mention where nobody seems to be who they really are. It seems like everyone’s got something to hide.
I hope I didn’t come across as too harsh on MM. I do think she was very talented, she knew what fit her and luckily so did her directors since she was cast in some memorable films. SLIH being my second favorite with Misfits, IMO being her best. I re-watched it recently and the scene with her in the bar playing that ball and paddle game is both hysterical and precious.
Had she lived on I would hope we would have seen more performances as good as if not better than her last.
No Page, not at all. As I mentioned in my comment to Eve, Monroe was more a charismatic star who shined on the screen. What she had, in some ways was better. I do think she was good at light comedy within her range. As for “The Misfits,” that is one I need to rewatch again. Have not seen it in way too many years. I know it pops up on TCM occasionally. That film also has one of my favorite actors in it, Montgomery Clift.
John, in your response to Brandie you noted there were “a few people who do not think SOME LIKE IT HOT is one of the greatest comedies.” You may indeed remember that I fit the bill on that count, not that I am bragging or am delighting in crashing the party. I have long since resigned myself to the fact that it me and nothing to do with the film which is universally revered as a classic, and even the greatest of all comedies by a good number. The film’s humor never really hit me like it did and does so many others, though I love the stars adore the director and have liked this theme. Anyway let’s not talk about my missing the boat anymore, let’s focus in on a marvelously written essay which lays out the evidence for all to see.
Great and exhaustive piece, John, that lays out a lot of interesting backstage info I hadn’t known before. I like this movie a lot, it has some flaws but for the most part it’s hilarious, with fantastic comedic performances from the whole central trio, and dialogue that’s just dripping with sex. At times it seems like an exercise in seeing how much coded sex they could sneak past the censors, and that illicit, wink-wink-nudge-nudge attitude is a big part of what makes it so delightful. A lot of the best classic Hollywood comedies are based around that kind of censor-dodging evasiveness, and Wilder managed to sneak in more dirtiness than most with this film’s exceptionally clever dialogue.
Yeah, Wilder loved pushing the censors buttons and he really went full tilt here but it’s more than that, the dialogue, as you say, is so cleaver. That’s something that cannot be said of too many comedies, especially today’s. Thanks for stopping by and happy we are in the same camp with this film.
All I can say is “Zowie” to your post. A true classic and truly funny no matter how many times you watch it. And now I wish I had used my brother’s reel-to-reel tape player to record movie soundtracks. 🙂
Ha!. My old Webcor reel to reel served its purpose.I think I recorded a few TV shows but for the life of me cannot remember what they were. But honestly, SOME LIKE IT HOT was the one I held on to and listened too more than anything else. Thanks!
It’s a long time since I’ve seen this film, but I do love it and your review brings it all back. On top of the main stars, I also think Joe E Brown is excellent as Osgood! Very interesting to hear that Sinatra was originally being considered for a part in this – and also I hadn’t realised about the homage to Warner gangster movies in the early scenes. Fascinating stuff.
JUST saw your review of S.L.I.H., as I was googling Joe E. Brown and ‘Zowie’. I saw the film in the theater – I think I was about 4 years old. And what an impression it made on me. MM’s near-there dresses, the hotel in ‘Florida’ – which when I was at The Coronado in the 80’s – I realized was the hotel in the film. The performances, music, dialogue are burned in my brain and are just splendid. I still watch it every time it’s on tv and think I own a copy as well. Thanks.
Thanks, I’ m glad you enjoyed my review. SLIH is one of the films that made me fall in love with film. One of the best scripts ever with performances to match.
I want another cup of coffee!