May is Classic 50s Movie month. Today’s guest post comes from Will King.
Movie Title: Some Like It Hot
Writers: Screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, suggested by a story by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan
Lead Actors: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, Joe E. Brown.
Director: Billy Wilder
IMDb Plot Summary: When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.
Why I Think This Is A Classic 50s Movie: Coming at the end of the decade, Some Like It Hot gives a taste of the cultural attitude changes that were beginning to take place and that would upend American society in the coming decade. It’s hard to imagine such a comedic story with leading men in drag being released ten years earlier just after the end of World War II. A long list of films would follow including everything from Tootsie, Mrs. Doubtfire and Victor/Victoria to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, but Some Like It Hot really opened the gates for this style of story.
It was the decade of Marilyn Monroe which saw her starring or featured in ten films. Some Like It Hot is probably her most memorable along with The Seven Year Itch.
My Favorite Moment in the Movie: After spending so much time playing the part, Jerry succumbs to believing in his ruse. After a night out for dinner and dancing with millionaire Osgood Fielding III he returns to his hotel room in blissful reverie and Joe has to try to bring him back to earth.
My Favorite Dialogue In the Movie:
This movie is a wonderful study in the use of double entendre and subtext. There is a constant tension between Joe and Jerry as they try to live the lie of being female band members while fighting their male attraction and rivalry for the affections of Sugar.
Daphne: [after meeting the all-girl band they’ll be traveling with] How about that talent, huh? It’s like falling into a tub of butter.
Josephine: Watch it, Daphne!
Daphne: When I was a kid, Joe, I used to have a dream. I was locked up overnight in a pastry shop, and there was goodies all around. There was jelly rolls, and mocha eclairs, and sponge cake and Boston cream pie…
Josephine: Look, Stoop…
Daphne: And cherry tart…
Josephine: Stoop, listen to me! No butter, no pastry. We’re on a diet!
When the band arrives at the hotel, millionaire Osgood Fielding III takes a fancy to Daphne and makes his first overture.
Osgood: You know, I’ve always been fascinated by show business.
Daphne: Is that so?
Osgood: Yes. As a matter of fact it’s cost my family quite a bit of money.
Daphne: Oh, you invest in shows?
Osgood: Showgirls. I’ve been married seven or eight times.
Daphne: You’re not sure?
Osgood: Mama is keeping score. Frankly, she’s getting rather annoyed with me.
Daphne: Wouldn’t wonder.
Osgood: So, this year when the George White’s Scandals opened she packed me off to Florida. Right now she thinks I’m out there on my yacht, deep sea fishing.
Daphne: Well, pull in your reel, Mr. Fielding, you’re barking up the wrong fish!
Osgood: If I promise not to be a naughty boy, how about dinner tonight?
Daphne: I’m sorry, I’ll be on the bandstand.
Osgood: Of course. Which of these instruments do you play?
Daphne: Bull fiddle.
Osgood: Fascinating. Do you use a bow or do you just pluck it?
Daphne: Most of the time I slap it.
Osgood: You must be quite a girl.
Daphne: Wanna bet?
Key Things You Should Look For When Watching This Movie: While actors in drag have been around throughout theatrical history, it was unusual (up to this point in Hollywood) to have the two starring roles perform most of their on-screen time in drag. It was even more unusual in the case of one Hollywood’s most alluring leading men, Tony Curtis.
The settings underscore the dramatic moods of the situations. The early scenes in chicago are set in snowy, wintry weather. The gangster shooting takes place in a dark parking garage. One gets a sense of foreboding, danger and threat. Once the story moves to Florida the outdoor weather is sunny, the interiors are brightly lit, giving a sense of hope, relief, a new lease on life. However, when the mob kills Spats Columbo at the hotel, it again takes place in the dark.
When Joe/Josephine decides to make a play for Sugar, he puts on the airs of one of the millionaires whie carrying on the conversation using a fake Cary Grant accent.
Jerry later chides Joe for the way he played the millionaire with the line, “And where did you get that phony accent? Nobody ‘talks loike thet’!”
Although the primary setting is in Florida, the actual shooting location used the posh Hotel del Coronado located on Coronado Island near San Diego, California, for both exterior and interior shots. Opened in 1887, the all-wood Victorian Hotel Del has figured in several other films. Just as in Some Like It Hot, it played a prominent visual role in The Stunt Man (1980) which starred Peter O’Toole and Steve Railsback. You can see how the hotel developed in the intervening years between the two films. When the bus arrives in Some Like It Hot, the open beach is clearly visible beyond the driveway and palm trees, and the millionaires are all lined up on the open veranda next to the front entrance. By the time The Stunt Man was filmed, the open beach had been developed into additional hotel structures and the veranda enclosed and made part of the hotel’s lobby.
In 1961 Mirisch Productions filmed a television pilot for a proposed series based on the movie for United Artists Television, which was to star Vic Damone and Tina Louise. Though that series never aired, Tina would later perform a Marilyn Monroe impression of “I Want to Be Loved By You” in an episode of Gilligan’s Island (“The Second Ginger Grant” — S3 E24).
Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon would again be paired in the 1965 Blake Edwards film The Great Race. While in Some Like It Hot Curtis plays the quick-thinking schemer Joe and Lemmon the conscientious Jerry, in The Great Race they would reverse roles with Lemmon playing the scheming Professor Fate opposite Curtis as the squeaky-clean hero The Great Leslie.
Thanks, Will! To show our gratitude for your guest post, here’s a dash of creative juju for you. Whoosh!
We already have a set of classic 60s Movies, 70s movies, 80s Movies and 90s Movies. This month, we’re working on 50s movies. And thanks to the GITS community, we’ve got 31 movies in the works! Those who I put in bold have already sent me their posts. If you haven’t sent yours to me, please do so as soon as you can!!!
12 Angry Men – Ipsita Barik
A Place in the Sun – Zach Jansen
A Star is Born – Melinda Mahaffey
A Touch of Evil – David Joyner
All About Eve – Ricardo Bravo
American in Paris – stefani1601
Bridge on the River Kwai – Tom Peterson
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – uncgym44
Commando Cody: Sky Marshall of the Universe – J Nilsson-Acosta
File on Thelma Jordon, The – David Joyner
Harvey – Felicity Flesher
High Noon – Jeff Messerman
Invasion of the Body Snatchers – Rick Dyke
Kiss Me Deadly – John Henderson
Marty – jetwillie69
Night of the Demon – David Hutchison
Night of the Hunter – Mark Twain
On the Beach – Liz Warner
On the Waterfront – Bilbo Poynter
Pickpocket – Zach Jansen
Pick Up on South Street – Vincent Martini
Quiet Man, The – Traci Nell Peterson
Rear Window – Roy Gordon
Rebel Without a Cause – Jack McDonald
Searchers, The – mkm28
Seven Samurai, The – Paul Graunke
Singin’ in the Rain – Maegan Kelly
Some Like It Hot – Will King
Stalag 17 – James Schramm
Sunset Blvd. – Lisa Byrd
Tokyo Story – Jeff Messerman
Vertigo – Jason Pates
Thanks to everyone!
For the original post explaining the series, go here.
For all of the 50s movies featured in the series, go here.