“Well, nobody’s perfect.” – Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown)
Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond base their script on a 1935 French film, Fanfare of Love. Problems finding the original script meant having to work off of the 1951 German remake, Fanfares of Love. While there’s also a strong push for original content these days, so many classics are based off of plays or foreign films. It’s certainly more than we would like to think. All you need to do is take one look at Ernst Lubitsch’s filmography! While both films focus on musicians, they create the gangster subplot that runs through the film.
The film’s opening draws on the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. “Spats” Colombo (George Raft) owns the speakeasy where Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) work. Joe plays saxophone while Jerry plays double bass. After witnessing the massacre, they go on the run. Terrified, they disguise themselves as Josephine and Daphne and join Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopators on the train to Miami. During this time, they also befriend Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), the band’s vocalist and ukulele player. While also disguising themselves, they also have to remember so as to not make passes at her while dressed as women.
Once they arrive in Miami, the film gets all the more hysterical. This isn’t only because they have more freedom to be their real selves but once again, they run into “Spats” Colombo and witness a crime during the Friends of Italian Opera conference. Before this, Joe wooed Sugar by way of a different disguise. A millionaire, Osgood Fielding III, starts pursuing “Daphne” but Jerry is having none of it. Even when Jerry reveals that he is actually a man before the credits roll, it still doesn’t matter to Osgood!
Even though this film is one of the greatest films ever made, the film is certainly not without struggles behind the scenes. This isn’t the first time Billy Wilder directed Marilyn Monroe but it would prove to be the last. Tony Curtis also wrote about it in his 2009 memoir on the making of the film. Anyway, Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond also co-wrote the the film with Mitzi Gaynor in mind for the role of Sugar. When Marilyn Monroe tells you she wants the part, things certainly go in a different direction.
In terms of differences between the 4K UHD and the Criterion Blu-ray, it comes down to the picture and different bonus features. For what it’s worth, the Criterion release was remastered in 4K and also improved from the picture for its 2011 release. Three behind-the-scenes featurettes also carry over from Criterion. If you already own the Criterion, it’s certainly worth making the upgrade to the new 4K UHD disc.
To absolutely nobody’s surprise, this film did not get the approval of the Hays Code. This is because the film includes cross-dressing and LGBTQ themes. Of course, the Hays Code was also on the way out heading into the 1960s with the rise of the MPAA. It didn’t matter anyway because the film grossed around $49 million to its nearly $3 million budget. How about that?
It isn’t just that Some Like It Hot defied box office expectations but the film made some news when the Oscar nominations were announced. Oscar nominations included Director, Actor (Jack Lemmon), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography (Black-and-White), Art Decoration (Black-and-White), and Costume Design (Black-and-White). The only win came for Costume Design.
Some Like It Hot is arguably one of the greatest comedy movies ever made.
- Audio Commentary by Film Historian Joseph McBride, Author of Billy Wilder: Dancing on the Edge (NEW)
- Audio Commentary by Paul Diamond (Son of I.A.L. Diamond) and Screenwriters Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel: Featuring Interviews with Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon
- The Making of SOME LIKE IT HOT (25:45)
- The Legacy of SOME LIKE IT HOT (20:22)
- Nostalgic Look Back: Documentary (31:13)
- Memories from the Sweet Sues: Featurette (12:03)
- Virtual Hall of Memories (21:04)
- Billy Wilder and Volker Schlöndorff Discuss SOME LIKE IT HOT (14:27)
- More with Billy Wilder and Volker Schlöndorff (6:02]
- Tribute to I.A.L. Diamond (2:01)
- Theatrical Trailer (2:20)
DIRECTOR: Billy Wilder
SCREENWRITERS: Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond
CAST: Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, George Raft, Pat O’Brien, Joe E. Brown, Nehemiah Persoff
United Artists released Some Like It Hot in theaters on March 29, 1959. The film is now available on 4K UHD.
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