Ask any film fan to list their top 10 comedies and it would be surprising if ‘Some Like it Hot’ didn’t at least make it in to their top five.
An absolute gem of a movie, it brings together a combination of acting talent and filmstar glamour in the shapes of Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon; top that off with a crackling script and Billy Wilder, one of the most successful directors of his generation, and you’ve got a formula that can’t fail.
Jazz musicians Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) go on the run after witnessing the St Valentine’s Day massacre at the Chicago speakeasy in which they’re playing and, with mob boss ‘Spats’ Colombo (George Raft) in pursuit, they can’t run fast or far enough.
They come up with the idea of joining a girl’s jazz band, Sweet Sue and Her Society Syncopators, which is on its way to Miami. Disguised as women and calling themselves Josephine and Daphne, they join the group in Chicago and head south. During the journey they both become enamoured with Sugar Kane (Monroe) the band’s ukelele player and vocalist and try in their different ways to discreetly romance her. Knowing that Sugar’s keen to ensnare one of the many millionaires wintering in Florida, Joe tries to win her affections by masquerading as ‘Junior’, heir to the Shell Oil empire.
Jerry, meanwhile, attracts the unwanted attentions of genuine millionaire Osgood Fielding III (Joe E Brown), but the duo’s troubles worsen when Spats and his henchmen arrive at their hotel. Ostensibly attending a conference for Friends of Italian Opera, the event is actually a get-together for mobsters from across the country.
With the obvious comedy potential from Curtis and Lemmon’s situation, George Raft sending up the gangster roles that made him a star and top-notch performances from Marilyn Monroe and Joe E Brown, ‘Some Like it Hot’ should be on everyone’s lists.