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T500FC, 449th: Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)

March.11.2011

This film is considered as one of the heavyweights in the history of comedy. With the numerous best lists that you’d find in the Internet, you’d certainly see this movie and it is usually in the higher parts of the list. And putting the icing on the cake, the American Film Institute listed Some Like It Hot as the greatest American comedy of all time. Aside from that it also boasts of heavyweight actors with the likes of Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and the Marilyn Monroe.

The story goes when two musicians, played by Curtis and Lemmon, encounter a gangster killing. It places them in a spot where they need to hide from the said goons. They end up wearing women’s clothes and were able to join an all-woman traveling band. The zany antics and mayhem pursue on how they’ll able to keep their secret and shying away from their raging libido. Much more that they want to garner affection from the band’s va-va-voom singer played by Monroe.

I was first impressed with Billy Wilder’s, the director, The Apartment when I first saw it a few years ago. And as time goes by, I eventually found myself watching his other greats such as The Lost Weekend, a story about alcoholism, Sabrina, the wonderful film that starred Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, and Sunset Boulevard, a powerful film on murders and has-been. And with that, I was so keen in grabbing a copy of this film as lists were really inserting this film in near and the top spot of the comedy greats of the century. As I have this thing about polarizing directors, if they can be diverse with the genres of their films, then these kinds of directors are truly blessed with the art.

Apart from this film having nostalgia of films like the Robin Williams starrer Mrs. Doubtfire or the Dustin Hoffman starrer Tootsie, I instantly remember its gist having been used by our local films decade after decade after decade. As I am referring to the initial scenes with the protagonists witnessing the scene of the crime and then the next setting gives us a place where they need to hide from the perpetrators.

This is the first time I see Monroe’s beauty on the big screen, I do not doubt the gossip that spread out during JFK’s presidency that he had a relationship with the screen goddess. She was really seductive and it was effortless on her part too. Though I am not quite sure if she is a versatile actress but Wilder made sure that her characters in the film go well with her personality.

One thing that made me watch this film is I want to see Lemmon on the brighter side of the spectra. It was heartache for me seeing his character in The Apartment. Thank God for this light-hearted comedy, I was able to see him differently. He was still effective in his character as a fake transvestite. I am sure it could’ve collected a number of tilting heads as presented with the premise of the film, nevertheless the movie didn’t look as cheap as, maybe, Stephan Elliott’s The Adventure Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert. Besides, it was probably different before and it was probably a big deal to show such film nationwide.

I definitely enjoyed the film though the problem in this lies with this film as a benchmark of numerous films that we have today. I am not saying that watching this was tiring, maybe I wasn’t that impressed but I still enjoyed it, as I already said.

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