Never let it be said that I’m not a man of action. Back in 2019, I wrote an article listing 10 of my cinematic new year’s resolutions – 10 films to tick off in the coming year that I really should have already seen. And boom, two years later, here we are with Some Like It Hot…
Cross dressing and cinema has forever been sullied for me due to its association with Eddie Murphy. Any film in which Murphy plays a woman is bad news for all involved. But before Murphy and the goddamn Klumps, there was Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon delivering a pair of intensely likeable and compelling performances in this 1959 classic.
When Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) accidentally witness a mob hit, they reinvent themselves as Josephine and Daphne and join a travelling all-female band in order to escape their wretched fate. This already difficult situation is complicated further by the appearance of Sugar Kane Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe) – the ultimate blonde bombshell.
That premise combined with the era in which it was released really does have the potential to be… pretty bad. The thing that makes it work here is master director Billy Wilder’s sharp script and an all in performance from the three leads. Curtis and Lemmon are superb throughout, throwing themselves into the role with such gusto that it’s hard to imagine that they didn’t reprise their female alter egos in the comfort of their own homes from time to time. As for Marilyn Monroe… well, there’s a reason why she is probably the most famous actress of all time. The camera loves her so much it probably spent the rest of its life listening to Elliott Smith and eating ice cream the second that filming wrapped. It would be ludicrous to say anything different but Monroe is simply irresistible here, winking and pouting to camera in a way that never feels anything other than utterly authentic. A true once-in-a-lifetime talent.
Some Like It Hot is over sixty years old and it still feels as fresh as a daisy. I’m embarrassed it has taken me this long to finally watch it.