I keep hearing it referred to as a great movie but I have not watched Some Like It Hot since the days when you could only choose which channel to watch. These days you can see almost any film at any time and it is time to see it again.
I have to double check that I am watching the right movie. It is in black and white. I also double check that I remember the year, 1959, correctly. I then check to see where Marilyn was in her career. I later learn that it was fairly big budget film and that Tony Curtis‘ and Jack Lemmon‘s makeup looked grotesque in colour.
The opening scene makes me think of the Keystone Cops. I am still distracted from my research. I am more forgiving when the context, Chicago 1929, is given.
Jack Lemmon’s lecherous jokes put me back into a critical mode. I don’t think they need the era as an excuse (I’m too old to be sure) but, regardless, I find them cheap.
I congratulate myself for catching the blues term jelly roll, knowing that I didn’t know what it meant the first time I saw the movie and knowing that most people today would not know its meaning. I groan at the salami while recognizing it would have been extremely racy for the times. I am not enjoying the innuendo—it feels adolescent.
It is when the movie moves away from the slapstick that the movie shines. Usually it is the opposite, I like Woody Allen‘s early slapstick a lot more than his critically acclaimed movies.
There is the genius of Marilyn calling herself dumb for repeating the same mistakes. The questioning of the standards when, after unwanted contact in an elevator, Jack Lemmon slips back into male-hood to say he now understands what it’s like to be on the receiving end.
More than the innuendo or Marilyn’s outfits, it is the handling of the cross-dressing that was the most daring for the times and it leads to the best scenes of the movie. Instead of taking the easy way out and camping it up, it is played straight, with scenes like the one where Jack Lemmon is overjoyed at getting engaged. I cannot help but think that there must have been an alternate ending just in case the finale did not make it past the morality police.
Great? Well…, there are few moments when it is only good.