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.
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
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 website 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.
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.”
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!