Billy Wilder, director; Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, actors

Some Like It Hot, 1959

Modern copy of publicity still

 

Set in the late 1920s, the film opens in Chicago, where two musicians (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) are spotted after witnessing a murder and have to get out of town in a hurry to elude the killers.  They decide to disguise themselves as women to join an all-girl band that is leaving for a gig in Florida.  Josephine (Curtis) and Daphne (Lemmon) are befriended by one of the band members (Sugar, played by Marilyn Monroe), but when Curtis falls for her, he has to disguise himself again as a rich oil baron to woo her.  Daphne is courted by an aging playboy named Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown), and even agrees to marry him.  In the final scene, Daphne tries in vain to explain to Osgood why their relationship will never work.  Finally, Lemmon pulls off his wig, lowers his voice, and exclaims “I’m a man!”  Without a pause, Osgood replies “Well, nobody’s perfect,” an unexpected response in 1959 and one that today makes the film seem far ahead of its time.

 

Some Like It Hot received a "C" (Condemned) rating from the Catholic Legion of Decency. As it did not meet the requirements of the Production Code, United Artists had to release the film without the approval of the Motion Picture Association of America.  The movie was a hit with audiences and won an Academy Award and three Golden Globes.  In 2000, the American Film Institute selected Some Like It Hot as the #1 American comedy of all time.

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