Some Like it HOT!

Who's the prettiest? I know not.

I’m sweating. Some Like it Hot was one of the first movies my mother told me was important. It’s the cornerstone of my childhood film education. One becomes reluctant to write about one’s most oneness with one film. I had no idea as a child, that it was weird for people to parade around in drag. I mean, why not? My Catholic uniform was definitely drag. My father was an out and proud gay man, and my mother… earthy. Drag is daily wear.

Marilyn on ukelele... what's hotter than that? James Dean on accordion?

So imagine. It’s prohibition. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon are beat down jazz musicians in a secret speakeasy. The front for this speakeasy is a funeral home. I love the rough mob beginnings of this movie. There’s gunfire, and a guy named Toothpick Charlie betraying some crooked mobsters to the cops. Crooked mobsters? Yes. They don’t take care of their fellow mafioso.

Osgood and Daphne... convincing drag? WHO CARES?

Joe and Jerry, now witnesses to a mob killing have to go on the run. Now… what would be a good cover? Oh, I know… dressing in drag and joining an all girls jazz band. That’s the ticket. Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators is traveling from Chicago to Florida, and two dames new to girlhood are along for the ride. And who is the at the front of the band? Marilyn Monroe of Course! Let me say, that the world knows she isn’t the most gifted singer, but that doesn’t matter. She’s charming, and incredibly fragile. She’s amazing.

So, there’s this scene. They’re on the train to Florida, and drinking and men are against the rules. Jack Lemmon as Daphne is already taken with Sugar (Marilyn), and invites her to her bunk for a drink. Well, that turns into an all girl drunken jazz party. There’s ice down shirts, booziness, giggling, and Jack Lemmon shines as a good time gal. Daphne… is the life of the party. It’s amazing to watch her, because her character is effing goofy, but her sincerity is not.

Tony Curtis has a full suit on under those bubbles... and it's soggy.

Here’s the usual rub. Neither Tony Curtis or Jack Lemmon are believable ladies. I mean, they’re amazing queens, but in no way do they pass. Instead of that being annoying, it’s awesome! Why pass? Who cares? What’s the definition of a woman anyway? This stirs my inner feminism into beautiful sweet meringue. They believe they’re sexy women, and the millionaires in Florida agree with them! That’s America. That’s down home Matriatism… in the Matriarchy.

"I'm a man!" ... ... ... so?

Sugar confesses that she always falls in love with loser musicians. It’s a damn shame that Tony Curtis (Joe and Josephine) is a saxophone player, and is already in love with her. So, he decides to pursue her anyway. Daphne tries to talk Josephine out of it, but is dealing with her own BS. A millionaire named,  Osgood Fielding III, has fallen in love with her. There’s some interesting objectification there, where Jack Lemmon’s character acknowledges how awful being panted over and pinched in the elevator is. Joe is undergoing his own transformation. He regrets mistreating the women in his past, and changes. He also decides to pursue Sugar, stealing Osgood’s millionaire identity. I love that he fakes a Cary Grant accent when doing this. I wonder if it’s a stab or a compliment?


Of course, the mob catches up to them. They always do. Perhaps, the most enchanting bit is that Jack Lemmon’s character, Daphne, has actually fallen for the millionaire pursing her. They have a late night tango date that ends in roses and a proposal. So, Joe is really in love with Sugar, and is of course reluctant to runaway and leave her. He does the noble thing, and breaks up with her… but doesn’t tell her the truth. Meanwhile, the mob has gotten wise to their identities. There’s this great scene with a guy jumping out of a cake with a tommy gun. It’s so much wilder than naked lady, don’t you think?

Pretty ladies! Tony Curtis was actually Marilyn's lover for a bit...

I won’t spoil the end. Okay, I’ll spoil it a little. Jack Lemmon does tell his millionaire boyfriend that he’s man… and he really DOESN’T CARE! End of story… yet another coming out story with a happy ending. Yeah… this movie is AMAZING. It won’t surprise you that the National Legion of Decency tried to shut this picture down. This picture was actually key to ending Production Code. People were finally understanding that censorship doesn’t create much, except boring art.

And boring art is reason to start taking lives.

The director, Billy Wilder is noteworthy. He was a brilliant German screenplay writer, until Hitler took power. He relocated to the United States, and we’re lucky to be part of his career. He wrote many amazing films, including the original Ocean’s Eleven, and Witness for the Prosecution. I’ll be writing about that one soon. This movie is brave, and shone as a beacon of hope for queer people. Their hetero idols gave them a distinguished nod. It’s a movie that could have been mocking, and full of ridicule… comes off graceful and is credited by most film critics as one of the greatest movies ever made.

Here is the only place online to watch this movie!

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