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Some Like It Hot

review by Anthony D. and Zach B.

Not Rated

Studio: MGM

Running Time: 122 minutes

Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, Pat O'Brien Joe E. Brown

Screenplay by Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond

Directed by Billy Wilder

Retail Price: $14.98

Features: Theatrical Trailer

Specs: 1.66:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, English 5.1 Dolby Surround, English Mono, French Mono, Spanish Mono, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (16 Chapters)

In that tottering Mob-run town of Chicago, on a snowy February day, in those Rip-Roaring Twenties, two down on their luck musicians (one a saxophonist, the other plays bass) witness the notorious St. Valentine's Day Massacre. A mob hit in a garage, here initiated by 'Spats,' rather than 'Scarface' Al Capone. With a mob price on their heads, and no musical work in Chicago, Jerry and Joe (Tony Curtis in the career move of a lifetime) need to blow town with their few resources: their instruments, and the bullet-ridden cases those instruments are encased in. On the spur of a moment, Jerry (the always brilliant Jack Lemmon) assures an agent that to join a band with a Florida gig, they can dye their hair blond, whatever it takes - - until the agent announces that the gig is with Sweet Sue's Synchronaters, an all-girl band! The very next day, two new blonds arrive at the train depot - - Daphne and Josephine - - our heroes disguised in delightful drag. 'Daphne and Josie' pass themselves off as "Conservatory" girls to Sweet Sue (the late, great Joan Shawlee), and the band's ulcer-bound manager Beinstock (a great comedic turn from Dave Barry), who are thankful for the stroke of luck that sent them the musicians they needed.

Of course, posing as women, our heterosexual womanizers are gonna have problems (other than the price on their heads), and first and foremost is Sweet Sue's ukelele lady, Sugar Kane - - Marilyn Monroe's finest work on screen. Marilyn's Sugar is vulnerable, strong-willed and totally dedicated to settling down with Mister Right. With a tendency to end up with the fuzzy end of the lollipop in relationships, Sugar hopes to find herself a millionaire during their gig on Millionaire's Row in Florida.

Down among those sheltering palms, Sugar finds love, Joe finds love and Jerry finds love, but all this love comes from mistaken identities. Millionaire and momma's boy, Osgood Fileding III (rubber-faced clown Joe E. Brown) falls big time for "Daphne,' much to Jerry's chagrin. Joe of course finds love with Sugar, but only through a clever disguise as a Shell Oil millionaire. Sugar's seduction of this Cary Grant-inflected Joe is a thoroughly delightful scene, one of the finest pieces in director Billy Wilder's long, brilliant career. Osgood buys trinkets for "Daphne," culminating with a proposal of marriage!

But life cannot always be a bed of potted palms - - the mob shows up as a convention of Italian Opera lovers, and recognize the bullet-ridden instrument cases of Joe and Jerry. The goons want these guys rubbed out - - whether or not they're in women's clothing is beside the point. Poignantly, Joe's millionaire tells Sugar that he must go away. Sugar takes the bandstand in an outpouring of emotion sings a torch song guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye - - if said eye can stop looking at the barely there Orry-Kelly gown clinging to Sugar's frame. The battle of the sexes rages while the mob men are pursued by the cops and after many a laugh, the film fades out with the most memorable closing line in comedy history. The line is "Well, nobody's perfect;" and it's best not to say who delivers it and why for the benefit of those who have yet to experience "Some Like It Hot." Trust me, the last line will make you not only laugh, but force you to rethink the two hours that came before with a totally new outlook.

If there is any film that deserves a restoration, "Some Like It Hot" tops the list. Sadly, however, in an age where so many great, old movies become anamorphically encoded and become cleaned up to look like new, "Some Like It Hot" really looks it's age. The 1.66:1 non-anamorphic widescreen transfer (grr) is pretty bad. Noise is consntantly seen throughout it, not to mention the blemishes, grain and scratches. Images do look faded at times. It's quite disppointing to see such a great movie look so bad and not be restored.

MGM has remixed the film in 5.1 surround and included the original mono track (in English, French and Spanish). This remix is essentially mono. Fidelity and directional range is low and limited with this remix, and except for some things here and there you won't really notice a difference. French and Spanish subtitles are included.

MGM has only included the film's original theatrical trailer. But if you want extras, the special edition has them.

Billy Wilder once again pushed the envelop of sexuality's screen presentation with "Some Like It Hot." With his keen eye for talent - - he used Marilyn for a second time, despite her tardiness and lack of focus; and who else but Wilder could have brought Tony Curtis to this level of comedy? And of course, Lemmon began a long association with Wilder on this film - - and his finely-tuned dialogue, written with frequent collaborator I. A. L. Diamond, crafted this film that holds the American Film Institute honored position as being the favorite film comedy of all time. This deluxe special edition from MGM proves that "Some Like It Hot" is a film not just for yesterday, but for today and all the tomorrows yet to come.

(5/5 - NOT included in final score)

(2.5/5)

(2/5)

(.5/5)

(3/5, NOT an average)

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