Last week I began a list of the Top 5 movies to watch when it’s just too sweltering to go outside (choice number five here). Continuing my quest to introduce you to the best movies to watch when you want to sit inside and vegetate, I bring to you to film number four:
No. 4: "Some Like It Hot" (Billy Wilder, 1959, USA)
Yes, traditional Hollywood cinema at its best. At least in terms of comedy. At the time of its release the film caused a storm. It grossed $25 million in the United States alone, collected three Golden Globe awards, one Grammy, and won the 1960 Oscar for best costume design, and was also nominated in five other categories. This light hearted comedy is arguably one of Marilyn Monroe's most memorable works, and probably one of Billy Wilder's most successful.
The plot revolves around two friends: Joe, the cynical wise guy, (played by Tony Curtis) and Jerry, the naive yet well meaning friend (played by Jack Lemmon). Joe and Jerry are jazz band musicians in Prohibition era Chicago. The duo finds themselves the sole witnesses of the St. Valentine's Day massacre (an actual event that occurred in 1929: seven Chicago mobsters were murdered as part of an ongoing rivalry between two mobster gangs) and have to run away to protect themselves from retaliation. In their mission to disappear from Chicago they both decide to join an all women's jazz band headed for Florida, which naturally will require them to dress and act like ladies. Joe becomes Josephine, and Jerry becomes Daphne (although it was originally agreed on that his name was to be Geraldine, in a moment of panic Jerry blurts out a different name to Sweet Sue, the girl band's manager).
In their fabulous new attire and with their instruments in tow, Josephine and Daphne get on the train with the rest of the band and head for Florida. Sugar (the ever lovely and deceptively innocent Marilyn Monroe) is the lead singer of the band. Both immediately fall for her, but both have trouble pursuing her while posing as women. Sugar decides to befriend Daphne, placing Jerry in the friend zone for the rest of the film. Joe has a different approach: he learns that Sugar wants a rich husband for herself, so once they make it to Florida he puts on the guise of an emotionally detached oil heir. Monroe falls for it, and meanwhile a real millionaire falls for the enchanting beauty of Daphne.
Comedy ensues as Joe and Jerry simultaneously pursue, reject, and eventually accept love, while performing as women on stage and also trying to keep a low profile so the mob doesn't find out where they are.
"Some Like it Hot" transcends any decade. Its humour is still relevant, and the performances remain just as fresh with each viewing. One of Hollywood's gems, this movie has a fun and easy-to-follow plot, with lots of visual appeal. On a day when you would rather stay indoors, this movie is a portal into a different time which you will gleefully allow yourself to be sucked into.
The article was originally written in English.
Illustration: Carine Brancowitz
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