AFInity: Some Like It Hot
By Kim Hollis
July 24, 2009
The trifecta is completed with Marilyn Monroe as Sugar. Though she was notoriously difficult to work with at times (she had a bad habit of never showing up on schedule), there's no question that her presence on screen was larger-than-life. She was more than just a buxom babe in a showy dress. Her singing is sultry, even when she's singing something as slight as "I Wanna Be Loved by You". Best of all, Monroe has a true instinct for understanding where the laughs are in the script. Her awareness as she plays off her co-stars is keen, and considering that she's one of the most iconic pin-up stars ever, she comes off as surprisingly down-to-earth. "They've tried to manufacture other Marilyn Monroes and they will undoubtedly keep trying. But it won't work. She was an original," said Wilder.
I really can't find a single thing to complain about with regards to Some Like It Hot. Some might believe that the mobsters are a little too far over-the-top (even Wilder said "There was something slightly ridiculous about the gangsters...I'll grant you that."), I found George Raft's scenery chewing to fit perfectly in place with the character he was playing. I especially giggled every time we were reminded that his character was called Spats Columbo - he even had the footwear to match the name. There's a great bit where the mobsters gather at a hotel for a "Friends of Italian Opera" convention, which is of course a clever front to allow them to plan their more nefarious activities (I do wonder if in today's environment, they would declare "crime.org" to be their Web site).
It's a fine example of all of the pieces coming together to become something nearly perfect. I'm most impressed by how timeless Some Like It Hot is. Its humor is so universal that it still resonates today. This can be attributed to Wilder's constant quest to make his story and characters seem true. We believe that Jerry and Joe would be desperate enough to resort to extreme (though hilarious) measures to escape the mafia, and we believe that Sugar is the kind of girl either of them could fall in love with. All comedies should strive to be so consistently funny. It's a classic of the genre, and clearly deserving of its position on the AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies list. It's the kind of movie I can foresee myself watching again and again, with potential to become a favorite.
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