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Some Like It Hot

October 1, 2010

Our review of Some Like It Hot is in tribute to Tony Curtis, who died on Wednesday aged 85.

341. Some Like It Hot
Directed by Billy Wilder
USA, 1959

IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Ally
Umpteenth viewing


Chicagoan speakeasy musicians Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) witness a mobster murder. In order to escape the gang, they disguise themselves as ‘Josephine’ and ‘Daphne’ and join an all-girl band travelling to Florida. They both take a shine to the band’s singer, Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), and having to maintain their disguises proves torturous.

The band arrives at their destination, a seaside resort. Joe assumes second disguise — bespectacled millionaire ‘Shell Oil Junior’ — and woos Sugar. Meanwhine, ‘Daphne’ attracts the attention of a real millionaire, Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown).

Essential Scene:

Jerry has spent the evening with Osgood as a favour to Joe, who needed to “borrow” Osgood’s yacht as part of his millionaire act. The ploy has worked, and Joe returns late from his date with Sugar. Jerry is lying on his bed, ecstatically shaking maracas and humming a tango.

Jerry: Have I got things to tell you!

Joe: What happened?

Jerry: I’m engaged.

Joe: Congratulations, who’s the lucky girl?

Jerry: I am!

Need I say more?


Some Like It Hot was one of a spate of late-’50s films to challenge Hollywood’s increasingly outdated Motion Picture Production Code — it was released without Production Code approval and was condemned by the National Legion of Decency. The film is unabashedly sexy, approaching sexuality and gender identity more directly than any preceding Hollywood film. Heaven forfend!

But, most importantly, it’s funny. Really funny. I find new giggleworthy things every time I watch it. For one thing, it’s densely packed with great dialogue and bits of shtick.

And besides, it’s easy to miss things when Marilyn Monroe is on screen. In the words of Osgood Fielding III: “Zowee!”

Reviewed by Rachel
Umpteenth viewing

Essential Scene:

The scene opens with a shot of two pairs of bare male legs walking in heels. They’re doing a much better job than I ever could. Joe and Jerry, now ‘Josephine’ and ‘Geraldine’ — who later becomes Daphne (“I never did like name Geraldine…”) — are at the train station, walking towards their train. Jerry’s ankle bends as he waddles along in his heels.

Jerry: Ow!

Joe: What’s the matter now?

Jerry: How *do* they walk in these things, huh? How do they keep their balance?

Joe: Must me the way the weight is distributed, now come on!

[They walk a short way]

Jerry: It is so draughty! They must be catching cold all the time!

Joe: Will you quit stalling, we’re gonna miss the train!

Jerry: I feel naked! I feel like everybody’s starin’ at me.

Joe: With those legs? Are you crazy? Come on!

They walk on and stop when they see the rest of the girl’s band boarding in the train. Jerry’s attention is taken by an approaching woman. Nudging Joe to turn around, they feast their eyes on Marilyn Monroe. She walks rhythmically past them and the train itself blows a wolf whistle.

Jerry: Look at that! Look how she moves! It’s like Jell-O on springs. Must have some built-in motor or something. I tell ya, it’s a whole different sex!

Joe: What are you afraid of, nobody’s asking you to have a baby. This is just to get us out of town, when we get to Florida we’ll blow this whole setup.

Jerry: Joe, this time I am not gonna let you talk me into..

Newspaper boy: [passing by] Extra, extra, seven slaughtered in North Side Garage, fear of bloody aftermath!

Jerry: You talked me into it. Let’s go Josephine.

Joe: Atta girl, Geraldine.


Some Like It Hot is one of my all-time favourite films. I can’t even remember when I first saw it, that’s how long it’s been in my life. That being said, I’m only just starting to see the value of the amazing supporting cast. Pat O’Brien, Joe E. Brown, George Raft and Joan Shawlee to name a few.

The best thing about the film, it has to be said, is the brilliant pairing of Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. With help from crisp dialogue and spot-on timing, they bounce off each other perfectly and are the reason I have seen this film an unbelievable amount of times.

It’s bloody funny, it is… See it, readers! All five of you! (I underestimate — I hope.)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Diane permalink
    October 1, 2010 4:58 pm

    This is a great film where every scene is a gem. I’ve watched it many times since childhood and it has always been one of my favorites. Perfect chemistry, great writing, and sharp editing that beautifully showcases the characters, timing of the gags and moves the plot along smoothly. I can’t say enough good things about this film!

    • October 1, 2010 9:33 pm

      I especially admire Billy Wilder’s dialogue writing (in all his films, not just Some Like It Hot). So many of his turns of phrase have ended up in my daily vocabulary — “the fuzzy end of the lollipop” from this, “that’s the way it crumbles, cookie-wise” from The Apartment…

  2. Jim Lawrence permalink
    December 22, 2010 4:24 pm

    It is conceivably the best film of all time. It’s in my top 5. But then, nobody’s perfect.

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