A Review of: Some Like it Hot (1959) Directed by Billy Wilder

Perhaps my favourite film of Marilyn Monroe‘s (together with The Prince and The Showgirl, I can never choose), Some Like it Hot is a timeless comedy.

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(photos I use in this blog are obviously not mine, but were found on google) 

I first watched this film at seventeen years old.

Coming in at just under two hours long, this legendary comedy is a great example of Marilyn‘s ability in comedy. It’s full of wit, gags and humour that is still as funny today as it was upon its first release, and it’s probably the only film out of my whole collection of ‘classics’ that my other half likes. Which says something!

Star of the film Marilyn was at the height of her success in Some Like it Hot, and she sizzles on-screen in her role as Sugar, a band singer and ukulele player, although she was battling her own difficulties at the time, in terms of health and personal troubles. This was apparent in her ability to give her lines on set, with over eighty takes needed for some of her scenes, before she could deliver a usable take. Her eccentricities during filming became notorious, but studios put up with her behaviour for much longer than they would have done any other actor or actress, simply because what she eventually gave them, was mesmerising and it’s what the paying public came to see. She reportedly drove many people involved in the film mad, and had a turbulent relationship with Tony Curtis, who played her onscreen admirer and love interest. Kissing Marilyn, Curtis famously said, was like kissing Hitler.

However, despite the difficulties during production, the film was a big hit and still is, with critics today still praising all cast members’ performances.

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Marilyn portrays a more complex character, who, despite being somewhat similar to her past ‘dumb blonde’ roles, was still an improvement on those two dimensional characters. Sugar in Some Like it Hot is witty, determined and feisty. She’s funny and, although ditsy at times, knows what she wants. There are still some pretty sexist lines from other characters, as well as lingering camera shots that sexualise her body, but perhaps not as much as her older films. Marilyn worked this though, living up to her persona, perhaps at times reluctantly, but in a role that would cement her iconic status.

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The plot is a classic screwball comedy plot, with actors Curtis and Lemmon portraying the roles of musicians who, after witnessing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, flee and disguise themselves as women to avoid being killed themselves. Dressed as women, they join an all-female orchestra, with Marilyn’s character, Candy, as the singer. Curtis’ character, Joe, lusts for Candy and so, later on in the film, disguises himself as a millionaire as well, to attempt to win her over. Lemmon’s character, Jerry, becomes engaged, but with hilarious effect. You just don’t see it coming, especially when it’s a comedy of the 1950’s. I love the ending of the film, but I don’t want to give too much away.

Marilyn  has a few singing numbers which, although she didn’t have the strongest voice, is delightful to watch for her charisma and ability to sell you whatever she’s singing. She oozes sex appeal. She’s simply fabulous.

And although Curtis and Lemmon were the lead roles in Some Like it Hot, Marilyn steals it for me. Whenever she’s on screen, I can’t help but be mesmerised by her presence. And when she’s not, I’m waiting for her to pop back up again.

Some Like it Hot is a perfect example of Marilyn’s comedic ability, charismatic persona and is a timeless classic that’s just as funny today, as it was back in 1959.

Read my recent blog on Marilyn here

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KG Strawberry Limeade Regular
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