MGM has just released a new Collector’s Edition DVD of Billy Wilder’s classic 1958 comedy Some Like It Hot, which starred Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon in a brilliantly farcical story set in the Roaring ’20s.
Curtis and Lemmon play two penniless Chicago dance-hall jazz musicians who accidentally witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and hotfoot it out of town to escape the gangsters who are out to silence them by means of a hail of bullets. Naturally, the only way out of town
is as musicians in an all-girl band on its way to Florida, and they transform themselves into Josephine and Dapne and join the band on a train ride to Florida. Just as naturally, they run into beautiful Sugar, played by Marilyn Monroe, and naturally Josephine, er, Joe, falls in love with her.
Once arrived safely in sunny Florida, Joe woos Sugar in the guise of a rich oil heir who speaks in a very poor imitation of Cary Grant—of whom, incidentally, no one had ever heard at the time of the film’s setting, February 1929. Just as naturally, a real millionaire, played by Joe E. Brown, falls in love with Daphne, aka Jerry. And to top it all off, it just so happens that the very gangsters who are looking for Joe and Jerry are in town at the time for a gang powwow, and are staying in the same hotel at which the disguised witnesses’ band is playing.
It’s truly one of the funniest movies ever made. It’s also intelligent, occasionally moving, and full of wicked satire. Plus, it has the funniest closing of any film, ever. Wilder was one of the greatest of all writers of film comedies, and he directed most of the films he wrote, as in the present case. In fact, Wilder was a rather sophisticated thinker, as I note in the post below.
Some Like It Hot is a must-see and a must-have for all serious film enthusiasts.