CMBA Blogathon: Fabulous Films of the ’50s – Some Like it Hot (1959)

This post is part of the CMBA Fabulous Films of the ’50s Blogathon hosted by the Classic Movie Blog Association. You can find a list of participating blogs and read all the great posts by visiting the CMBA website.

Some Like it Hot (1959)My apologies in advance for this post being somewhat scattered, but a recent death in the family has had me feeling down and preoccupied, so I’m not quite at my best this week. For what it’s worth, following are just a few of my thoughts on the classic comedy Some Like it Hot (1959), a movie about two male jazz musicians who after witnessing a mob hit, disguise themselves as women to “hide out” by traveling the country with an all female jazz band. The movie stars Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe and was directed by Billy Wilder.

I’m not sure what it is about me and covering an almost universally loved classic comedy for a blogathon, but much like the time I wrote about Bringing Up Baby (1938) for a TCM Summer Under the Stars blogathon a few years ago, I feel like I need to hang my head in shame for not loving the movie Some Like It Hot (1959) as much as it seems I “should.”

It’s number one on the AFI’s list of the 100 Funniest American Movies of All Time and a favorite of just about every classic film fan I’ve ever heard mention it, so I was surprised when I realized about halfway through the movie that I probably wasn’t going to share the same sentiment.

I’m not at all saying that I didn’t like the movie because I did, I just didn’t connect with it in a way that would put it near the top of my favorites list. I swear, I really do have a great sense of humor, but just going off of AFI’s list, I much prefer the comedy of films like The Philadelphia Story (1940), It Happened One Night (1934) or His Girl Friday (1940).

Anyway, much like I did for Bringing Up Baby, I’m not going to focus on the negative here. What I will be doing is discussing a few random items related to the movie, and my apologies again, I do mean random. :-)

Observations and Thoughts on the Movie Some Like it Hot

Some Like it Hot (1959)

Director Billy Wilder initially intended for Frank Sinatra and Mitzi Gaynor to star with Tony Curtis (who had already been cast) instead of Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. Not being much of a Marilyn Monroe fan, I wonder if I would have felt differently about the movie if Gaynor had been chosen. I love Jack Lemmon though so I was happy about that choice.

The story of how Orry-Kelly came to design the dresses worn by the three main stars of the movie is an interesting one, and you can read more about some of the movie’s fashions in the article “Some Like it Hot – Just Not in Kansas” which I found on the websiteĀ On This Day in Fashion.

Something to look out for if you happen to see publicity stills from the movie: Sandra Warner, who played one of the band members, participated in the shooting of the stills along with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in place of Marilyn Monroe who was pregnant at the time. The completed stills used Warner’s body but Monroe’s face.

Some Like It Hot (1959)

Scenes that were set in Florida in the movie were actually filmed at the Hotel del Coronado which is located near San Diego, California. Oh great, yet ANOTHER movie related place that I really want to visit to put on my ever expanding list!

I watched a lot of tv growing up, and I mean A LOT, so when Marilyn Monroe sang a rendition of the song, “I Wanna Be Loved By You,” the first thing I thought of was Ginger on Gilligan’s Island singing the same song while her fellow castaways looked on in admiration. Anyone else have this same memory? Related fun fact: Jack Lemmon recorded his own version of the song on an album called A Twist of Lemmon/Some Like It Hot.

I was just recently talking to someone on Twitter about how bummed I am when I discover that a DVD contains no special features, and thankfully the DVD of Some Like it Hot did not disappoint. It featured a delightful conversation between Tony Curtis and film critic Leonard Maltin filmed at the Formosa Cafe in California (Darnit, I wanna go there, too!!!). :-)

In the interview, Tony Curtis sort of echoed my thoughts about the value of special features when he said, “I like talking about the picture with you because it’s nice to examine all those subtleties that went on and tell you all of these amusing little incidences because they’re part of the movie. I’m sorry all actors didn’t do a little disertation after the movie was over and give you a little insight into what went on, what didn’t go on.”

SomeLikeItHot4

Tony Curtis wrote a book called The Making of Some Like It Hot: My Memories of Marilyn Monroe and the Classic American Movie. I’m really interested in checking that out now in light of how much I enjoyed Tony’s stories in his conversation with Leonard. Have any of you read it?

When the characters of Daphne and Josephine are asked what their musical background was, they mentioned that they attended the Sheboygan Conservatory of Music (in Wisconsin).

That reminded me of a funny video I found on YouTube highlighting various Wisconsin References in Movies. The video contains clips from a ton of great movies in which my home state of Wisconsin and many of its cities are mentioned. I never knew this rather unassuming state was so popular. :-)

So where does Some Like it Hot rank on your list of classic comedies or just classic movies in general? Love, like, dislike: I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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21 Responses
  1. FlickChick says:

    Sometimes the pressure of liking something that is universally loved it pretty daunting! While not my favorite comedy, you have to hand it to Daphne and Josephine. They totally make the film for me and it is that running gaga that carries it along. Without Lemmon, I can;t even imagine this film.

    • Ginny says:

      It sure is, especially when I feel this way about a few other massively popular movies. But then I find people who feel the same as me and remember that it’s okay to have a different opinion. The interview with Tony Curtis did make me appreciate the humor more after the fact though, so I will definitely be re-watching and I’m sure enjoying it more. I do love Jack Lemmon!

  2. I like the movie too, but probably wouldn’t name it as one of those “perfect” favorite movies I can watch 10 times in a row and still be game for more! I grew up in San Diego and I remember seeing the movie and chuckling at the supposed Florida locale. It’s gorgeous on the inside as well, if you ever make it down!

    • Ginny says:

      Thanks for the comment Emily! That is a good way to evaluate how much you like a movie – could you watch it over and over? I can’t see this as one of those movies either, which I guess is obvious. That’s great to know about the hotel! I have a cousin who used to live in San Diego and our plan is to one day make it over there together. If we do, I’ll definitely be checking it out.

  3. Next to Arsenic And Old Lace, Some Like It Hot is my favorite classic comedy of all time. It is perfect on so many levels. Upon saying that I love your take of it not being as perfect as everyone says. That is what makes this world great…so many different and valid viewpoints. Thanks for a great article and my sympathy go out to you on the death in your family.

    • Ginny says:

      Thanks so much David for stopping by and for every part of your comment. It’s good to hear from both sides and to know you love the movie. It definitely has some great qualities. You’re right, it would certainly be a boring world if everyone felt the same about everything.

  4. I know that feeling about Billy Wilder’s movies – I find that I’m not crazy about ‘The Apartment,’ though just about everyone else I’ve read on it adores it. But Jack Lemmon was a brilliant casting choice for ‘Some Like It Hot,’ and I really think he makes the film. Fascinating info about the photo still being done with another model but using Marilyn’s face (a little strange, too).

    • Ginny says:

      I am one of those people who loved The Apartment, which is another example of why discussions about movies like this can be so interesting. I was actually quite surprised that I liked it as much as I did, because for some reason I wasn’t expecting that going in. I definitely agree about Jack Lemmon. I can’t quite picture Frank Sinatra in the role.

  5. I quite like “Some Like it Hot”, although it’s not a film I would purchase. The casting is good and the script is funny… My fave scenes are of Tony Curtis impersonating Cary Grant.

    Sorry to hear about the death in your family. I hope things are as OK as can be.

    • Ginny says:

      Thanks so much, Ruth! And thanks for sharing your thoughts on the movie. I agree those scenes with Tony Curtis are funny. My favorite scene is probably when Jack Lemmon is shaking the maracas while telling Josephine about his engagement. Good stuff!

  6. The Lady Eve says:

    Well…I’m a big fan of “Some Like it Hot,” it just tickles me – that’s the only way to put it, and I’m awfully glad Frank Sinatra and Mitzi Gaynor weren’t cast (was Wilder serious?!?!) – and personally think the trio of co-stars is magic. I’m a fan of most of Wilder’s films, though I’ve never warmed up much to “A Foreign Affair” (boring male lead, Jean Arthur weak opposite Marlene Dietrich).

    • Ginny says:

      Despite my personal feelings about Marilyn, I do agree the three had great chemistry. I don’t know enough about Mitzi Gaynor to know what she would have been like, but I definitely cannot see Frank Sinatra in Jack Lemmon’s role. I’m a fan of just about every Billy Wilder film I’ve seen, with Double Indemnity being a huge favorite.

  7. Aubyn Eli says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss, I wish your family all the sympathy and support in the world. Interesting that Some Like it Hot didn’t do it for you, but then, the world would be a very boring place if we all laughed at the same comedies. Judging by the list of alternative comedies you mention, you’d be better off with something that’s faster-paced, more verbal, and more screwball. I can’t watch Some Like it Hot twice in a row but if I give it a few years in between viewings, it can still make me crack up.

    • Ginny says:

      Thanks so much Aubyn!

      Funny, I just said the same thing to another commenter, the world would be boring if we all had the same opinions! Tony Curtis and Leonard Maltin did help me see and appreciate some things differently after the fact, so I am looking forward to watching it again some day with a new set of eyes.

  8. Page says:

    Ginny,
    God speed to you and your family. It’s admirable that you put your heart and time into getting us this very entertaining review.

    First off, Billy Wilder, what a genius. I’m so glad he’s getting so much love during this Blogathon. Well deserved. His dedication to getting every shot perfect. And SLIT is so much different than Sunset Blvd, the list goes on. He really could do any genre and do it to perfection, couldn’t he?

    So much to love about SLIT. My favorite role for Curtis and Lemmon could do no wrong in my eyes. I’m not the biggest fan of Monroe’s work but she was very entertaining here. A fun film!

    You’ve given us the perfect review of this film, Ginny and it certainly deserved to be included in the 50s Blogathon.

    All the best!
    Page

    • Ginny says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words Page! I really appreciate it. I just looked over the entire list of Billy Wilder’s films and all I can say is, wow. I didn’t even realize how many of his movies I loved, with Double Indemnity topping the list. I’m looking forward to reading the other posts about his films. Thanks again for your comment!

  9. Page says:

    You know, I really do think I needed a bit more sleep last night since I said SLIT not once but twice. ha ha Uhnmm not sure why. SLIH. Okay, fixed.
    Page

  10. Cameron says:

    Thanks for this review! I think my favorite part of this movie are the Lemmon/Curtis scenes where the jokes fly back and forth! I’m going to have to check out Tony Curtis’ book–thanks! Hope you are feeling better, and thanks again for a fun post!

    • Ginny says:

      You’re welcome Cameron, and thanks for stopping by and for the kind well wishes! I plan on checking out that book, too. I bet it will make watching the movie again more interesting after getting more of the inside scoop on how it was made.

  11. Tam Francis says:

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this movie, too. It’s so funny, because my fictional characters in my novel do a “vintage photo shoot” at the Hotel Del where, as you know, some of this movie was filmed! How fun! Love your fun facts. I’m thrilled to find your blog!

    ~Tam Francis~
    http://www.girlinthejitterbugdress.com

  12. Ginny says:

    Thanks Tam! I’m glad I found your blog as well, and look forward to reading about your characters’ experience at the hotel!

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