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Some Like It Hot (1959)

The movie too HOT for words!

Directed by:

Billy Wilder

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

“I tell you, it’s a whole different sex,” quoth Jack Lemmon as he watches slinky Marilyn Monroe wiggle her way onto a train a quarter of the way through ‘Some Like It Hot’. He’s right, of course – men and women are completely different, hence the separate toilets.

It’s fair to say though that the boundaries become a tad blurred in this classic gender-crossing comedy, what with Lemmon and buddy Tony Curtis going about dressed as real-life womenfolk. It’s all part of a plan to escape some Mafia henchmen who didn’t take too kindly to the hapless duo’s witnessing of a shoot-out – but both end up with a little more than safety from da mob on their minds when they meet up with sexy singer Monroe. The temptress!

Directed and co-written by the prolific Billy Wilder, you’ll be hard-pushed to find a negative write-up of this terrific screwball-fest. Both Curtis and Lemmon are on the very top of their game, bouncing one-liners off of each other as if they’re made of some sort of bizarre verbal rubber.

Of course a big part of the joke is that nobody seems to realise this couple of dames (or “broads”, if you prefer) are blatant hair-sprouting crotch-scratching toilet-seat-leaving-open blokes – but there’s much more to it than that. The dialogue is marvellous, the performances right on the button (even from Monroe who, let’s face it, is incredible to look at but isn’t exactly the greatest actress ever to walk the face of the Earth), and the comic timing on display is as good as you’ll get.

Of course, now almost half a century old, it’s inevitable that the film has dated. You could in fact say that comedy tends to date far more than other genres, such is the ever-changing nature of what people find funny from one generation to the next. But you can’t fail to appreciate what Curtis and Lemmon in particular are doing here – it’s comic gold, and a pox of weeping pustules on anyone who says otherwise. Not that I have the power to enforce that pox, of course. But you get the picture.

It's Got: Men in stockings.

It Needs: To be loved by you alone, boo-boo-bee-do.

DVD Extras An impressive range of goodies for a film so old, including two documentaries, the original trailer, an assortment of other Billy Wilder trailers, a press cuttings gallery, and a “Virtual Hall of Memories” - which, strangely, is EXACTLY what it sounds like. It’s a virtual hallway, full of memories. Not my memories obviously, because I’m far too young to remember 1959. But I assume they are genuinely someone’s memories. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

Mrs Doubtfire, The Birdcage, Tootsie

Summary

It’s getting on a bit now, but it’s still one of the greatest out-and-out comedies you can find. So go find it!

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