Thursday, March 8, 2012

Some Like It Hot (1959) BUY 11 and up ( Read notes, first)

            Every human being here on Earth has their flaws. But at least, we are much better at our mistakes than the people in Some  Like It Hot, a 1959 comedy starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and the "sex goddess" herself, Marilyn Monroe. Along with its strong cast, and brilliant direction by the wonderful Billy Wilder, this movie has since become one of my favorite comedies of all time. But is it okay for kids? Let's take a look at one of the films condemned by the Catholic Church when first released.
              The story begins in 1929's Chicago, where gangsters ruled the streets with their whiskey and sadly before Roger Ebert was dueling with Gene Siskel. We find ourselves two struggling musicians, Joe and Jerry, (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon), who accidentally saw the St. Valentine's Day Massacre,(major/minor off-screen violence and historically inaccurate). Since they're witnesses who have to escape the mobsters in change, they get the first out-of -town job. Is it selling bananas or is it shoveling coal? Nah, for otherwise this wouldn't have been interesting as a comedy. Their new job is to be in an all-girl band. Wa-wa. It's also major wa-wa when Joe falls in love with the lead singer, Sugar. (You can't blame him, for she's played by Marilyn Monroe.) 
                 While they're on the job in sunny Florida, they turn out to be better women than men, since a millionaire gets engaged to Jerry, and they amazingly don't get fired. (Watch this movie, Adam Sandler!)  Joe decides to woo Marilyn by pretending to be a millionaire, but before wedding bells can ring, the gangsters arrive, leading to some high jinx.
                Now, you know why I love this movie! This has great performances by everyone. Tony proved that he could do cynical comedy well, and do a pitch-perfect Cary Grant imitation. Jack is a hoot as his comical self. My favorite scene is when he launches a party on board the ... wait, I'm not going to tell you. :)  The gangsters are spoofed wonderfully by the likes of George Raft, and others. Joe E. Brown is perhaps one of the greatest comical characters ever in a movie . But, Marilyn is so tragic and yet so full of grace that you care about her deeply. As she explains early in the film, she always seems to get "the fuzzy end of the lollipop". In real life, she got that, which makes it more heartbreaking, and more real than anything she has done. In my opinion, this is her best work ever.
          The scenes are just so humorous that I constantly laughed more than during the average comedy! And unlike Jack And Jill, everything in this movie works! Even the cross dressing scenes work in the subtext of laughter, which made me realize how luckily I am to be a male. Billy Wilder must have thought so too, for he constantly toys with sex and cynical wit. This is the reason why Some Like It Hot  was shocking for its time. It broke a lot of the rules at the time, because it keeps making comments about sex.  TCM host Robert Osborne once said that if the performances weren't great or if Billy Wilder was like Adam Sandler, then this movie would have been bad and it would be a really embarrassing movie just because of those issues that it addressed. Thank God that everything worked for the good of all.
           As mentioned in here, it has a lot of sexuality, which is somewhat tamed by today's standards. Yet, it may shock kids and some adults, because it also is wild for classics back then. You see, this really has a lot of sexual references in it. A lot. There's also two brutal, yet toned down gangster violence, with dead bodies visible, and since this is Prohibition, there's a lot of drinking! (Naughty America.) The gangsters are sadly stereotypically Italian, and there's a constant joke about Shell Oil in here that may be one of the first cases of product-placement. Despite all of these major concerns, (mostly about sex), this is actually the first Billy Wilder film that you should let them see, (along with Sabrina (1954) and possibly Witness For The Prosecution (1957). )
I look fabulous, don't I?
             The reason why is because just as Billy Wilder was perhaps cruel with his cynicism, he also offered great life lessons. Joe learns what it's like to be a woman from Sugar, and he realizes that what he has been doing is wrong, and that he should make it up to her. Sugar learns that true love can override marrying for money. Jerry learns that he can take control for himself as he gets engaged to a man, and all of the heroes are lovable and good-hearted.  But, my favorite character is Osgood played by Joe E. Brown. The reason why I love him is that he recognizes all of Jack's failures and yet, he still cares about him. This is just like what I said earlier about every one's flaws, and that even though we do major failures, we still have people who love us. Joe will still be loved by Sugar, and Jerry will still be loved by Osgood. "After all, nobody's perfect!"

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Google Images for letting us use images in our blogs! :) This is my first post to use images, and there will be more in the future.