Why Some Like It Hot hasn’t gone lukewarm

In a time where movies are disposable and often formulaic, how is one of the greatest movies of all time fairing in the cut throat world of Netflix and binge watching?

“Story of my life. I always get the fuzzy end of the lollipop.”

That’s how it all started for Sugar Kane Kowalczyk, and how one of the greatest comedies of all time began, but the audience certainly does not get the fuzzy end of the theatrical lollipop. The picture follows two musicians who witness a Mafia murder and flee town disguised as women so that they can join a band travelling to Florida.

However, Joe (Tony Curtis) falls in love with Marilyn Monroe’s Sugar Kane and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) acquires a male admirer too. Their days in paradise are numbered though, as the Mafia comes to Florida to attend a conference and they see right through their disguises.

Some Like It Hot captured the hearts of film lovers the world over and continues to do so to this day. In fact, the film is celebrating a milestone birthday – 60 years old – and it’s still going strong, featuring on some of the biggest streaming sites including Netflix.

But how has it aged in a world that doesn’t necessarily ‘get’ the movie? Although it features on all the online viewing platforms, do younger viewers want to watch a movie that’s shot in black and white and features three leading ladies who have since passed away?

Well they should, and here’s why – because those three leading ladies are legends, even if the average 15-year-old can’t name them. They were Marilyn Monroe, who died only a few years after the film was released, Tony Curtis, who appeared in over 100 films and had a career spanning six decades (he was also the father of actress Jamie Lee Curtis) and Jack Lemmon, who won two Oscars from eight nominations over his career.


Some like it hot-2

Infographic by Jade du Preez for EN4News


But for their performances alone, they each shine in what was one of their best works. Witty and charming, Some Like It Hot has everything a good comedy should have and holds them dear, almost like it could foresee the formulaic production-line comedies of the 2000s and how they would mostly end up devoid of true, thought out humour.

Jack Lemmon sparkles in the film, often the butt of the joke but he always has a brilliant one-liner to show up Tony Curtis – like when he asks him why he’d consider marrying his admirer (another man), a thinly veiled homophobic sign of the times for the movie, snatched away when Jack Lemmon answers with ‘security!’

His attempts to dodge his admirer (who has no idea he is a man in disguise) is a highlight, which ends with the pair dancing the night away as he continues to lead and not dance like a woman. Jack Lemmon takes the challenge of playing a woman and gets lost in it over the duration of the film, and it is magical.

However, Tony Curtis seems like the leading man, the guy with all the charm and dashing good looks, but his venture into the female psyche is short lived when he also fronts as a very rich man so that he can win over Miss Monroe (when he’s actually pretending to be Jack Lemmon’s rich admirer).

Over the course of the picture, he plays three characters – Joe, Josephine (his female alter ego) and his millionaire trying to sweep Sugar Kane off her feet. And boy does he do them justice – you don’t really like any of his characters, to be honest, they’re all dimwitted and arrogant, but at the same time, you want him to get the girl and save the day. He somehow doesn’t let you dislike him enough to make you wish ill of him, and that might be because of his friendship with Jack Lemmon’s character.

But the absolute star of the show was Marilyn Monroe, she dazzled in her naïve showgirl character – but she knew so much more than she let on. Her line, “I don’t care how rich he is, as long as he has a yacht, his own private railroad car, and his own toothpaste” is what every girl is thinking.

So witty, yet so demure, you can see where the sex symbol comes out in her, but you can see this smart side to her. She’s clearly been cast as the dumb blonde, but she is so much more than that – she’s every beautifully flawed woman in film and literature, a real Rose Buchanan from The Great Gatsby. Don’t take this character at face value, dig deeper and remember the time.

A film like this one doesn’t just disappear, it’s remembered for all it’s smart one-liners and zest for comedy. It doesn’t fall flat, but maybe you should actually watch this one and not stare at your iPhone instead.

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