Last night we watched “Some Like It Hot”… it is still one of the funniest, wittiest, wackiest, sexiest movies ever made! It felt as fresh as the first time I saw it.
Roger Ebert’s reviewed the 1959 film again in 2000, calling the plot “classic screwball”.
What a work of art and nature is Marilyn Monroe. She hasn’t aged into an icon, some citizen of the past, but still seems to be inventing herself as we watch her. She has the gift of appearing to hit on her lines of dialogue by happy inspiration, and there are passages in Billy Wilder‘s “Some Like It Hot” where she and Tony Curtis exchange one-liners like hot potatoes.
Poured into a dress that offers her breasts like jolly treats for needy boys, she seems totally oblivious to sex while at the same time melting men into helpless desire. “Look at that!” Jack Lemmon tells Curtis as he watches her adoringly. “Look how she moves. Like Jell-O on springs. She must have some sort of built-in motor. I tell you, it’s a whole different sex.”
Wilder’s 1959 comedy is one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft, a movie that’s about nothing but sex and yet pretends it’s about crime and greed. It is underwired with Wilder’s cheerful cynicism, so that no time is lost to soppiness and everyone behaves according to basic Darwinian drives. When sincere emotion strikes these characters, it blindsides them: Curtis thinks he wants only sex, Monroe thinks she wants only money, and they are as astonished as delighted to find they want only each other.
To-day marks the 50th anniversary of her death at age 36… after all these years still not explained to the satisfaction of her fans. Maureen Dowd, writing in the New York Times this weekend, pays tribute to the “love goddess who keeps right on seducing” includes the following quotation:
Lois Banner, a professor of history and gender studies at the University of Southern California, hails the star in her new book, “Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox,” as a proto-feminist who had to swim upstream past a mentally ill mother, 12 foster homes, a stutter, sexual abuse as a child, sexism as a star, manic-depressive cycles, addiction, Joe DiMaggio’s abuse and Arthur Miller’s condescension. “She is the child in all of us,” Banner writes, “the child we want to forget but can’t dismiss.”
You can watch the whole movie here. It will be a refreshing break from the Olympics!