Writer / Director Billy Wilder's "Some Like It
Hot," takes place during the roaring 1920's in winter-time Chicago,
during a time of prohibition, and mob-run gin joints, that were hidden
hidden from the law. Two musicians, Joe (Tony Curtis) who plays a
sax, and Jerry (Jack Lemon) who plays a base fiddle find themselves
playing in a band in an illegal gin joint, run by mobster Spats Columbo
(George Raft). They find themselves out of work suddenly when Toothpick
Charlie (George E. Stone) tells the detective, Mulligan (Pat O'Brian)
where this illicit night club is located; in a secret room at a mortuary.
Penniless, because Joe likes to gamble, they manage
to get a gig, and manage to borrow a car of the secretary of their
agent. While picking up her car in the garage, they witness Spatz
Columbo and his Scuzzy henchmen (Mike Mazurki, Harry Wilson, Pat Comisky)
blow away Toothpick Charlie and his associates right there in the
garage. This mass killing was called the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.
They themselves escape certain death by the skin of their teeth, and
find themselves on the run from both the mob and the police.
Lucky for them, Joe gets wind of a gig in an all girls
band, that will take them out of state to a resort hotel in Florida,
and out of harms way. So in fear for their lives, Joe becomes Josephine,
and Jerry becomes Daphne, and they join an all- girl band, that is
heading for Florida, run by Sweet Sue (Joan Shawlee). Things go well
for Joe and Jerry, until some unexpected circumstances produce some
squirmy moments and hilarious consequences, that delight the audience.
Joe falls in love with Sugar, and tries to pretend to be a millionaire
to impress her. Jerry is pursued by Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown).
And to really heat things up, guess where the mobster convention is
While the entire cast did a terrific job bringing the comedy and excitement
of the screenplay alive, sparkling performances by Lemmon, Curtis,
and Monroe really carry the movie.
Curtis and Lemmon are a blast, particularly in their
men disguised as women sequences.
Marilyn was perfectly cast as the free-spirited, bubbly
Sugar, who is the band's lead singer / ukelele player, who treats
her friends well. She has the goal of marrying someone with money,
but has a weakness for sax players and booze, which nearly gets her
kicked out of the band, when Sweet Sue catches her with it on the
train. Daphne (Lemon) quickly says it is his flask of booze, earning
the gratitude of Sugar.
A favorite scene sequence is when Sugar
Kane has a spontaneous party with Daphne and the girls in the band
on Daphne's train bunk. (Jerry has to remind Daphne that he is a
girl, to not blow their cover.)
Monroe gives a great comic / dramatic performance
as Sugar Kane, as well as treating the audience to three songs;
"Running Wild," "I'm Through With Love," and
her signature "boop-boop-a-doop song, "I Wanna Be Loved
Another favorite scene is when Daphne and Osgood
(Lemmon and Joe E. Brown) go calypso dancing until dawn at a local
dance club, so his buddy, Jerry and Sugar Kane can spend some
time on Osgood's yacht. How they kept a straight face through
it all is amazing to this reviewer. Afterwards Joe (Curtis) has
to remind Jerry (Lemmon) that he isn't a girl, and can't marry
this guy, when Jerry (Daphne) comes home on cloud nine, because
Osgood had proposed and given him a diamond.
To interrupt these budding romances, reality checks
into the hotel, when Spatz and his gang, along with other mobsters
arrive for their mob banquet and meeting. Spatz and his thugs
of course run into Joe and Jerry when they panic after seeing
these gangsters in the lobby. A great cat and mouse game ensues,
as mobsters discover them and chase them about, with Jerry and
Joe just barely escaping. Then, Jerry and Joe find themselves
getting a little too close for comfort to Spatz, and then have
another unperceived problem, after the bullets fly. Decisions
must be made as Jerry and Joe find themselves once more real close
to "sleeping with the fishes." The action is suspenseful
and hilarious at the same time.
George Raft is convincing as mobster Spatz Columbo.
Raft made a successful career playing hard-boiled gangsters /detectives
in many films, such as "Scarface," "Johnny Allgero,"
"Johnny Angel," and "A Dangerous Profession."
Pat O'Brian gives a fine performance as Detective
Mulligan, who comes along as well, hoping to get the goods on
these mobsters, and of course would love to get a hold of these
two witnesses, Jerry and Joe. O'Brian, known as Hollywood's "Irishman
in Residence," often played priests and cops in various dramatic
productions, such as "Angels With Dirty Faces." He enjoys
himself in this role of detective Mulligan, which pokes fun at
the serious cop roles he had through the years.
The producers couldn't have picked a better place that the Hotel
Del Coronado to provide such a terrific scenic back drop and location
site for this fine, hilarious screenplay, by Robert Thoeren, I.A.L.
Diamond & Billy Wilder, who got the idea from a German farce,
called "Fanfares of Love." "Some Like It Hot"
makes great use of its Hotel Del Coronado location. The Hotel
Del, near San Diego, has provided lush lodging for politicians,
movie stars, and others for many decades, and has an impressive
lobby, a grand exterior, a lovely interior, and a glorious beach.
Oscar winning costumes, that really gave the film
the flapper- mobster feel of the era, were by Orgy-Kelly
"Some Like It Hot" later served as the
basis for the Broadway musical, "Sugar," which had a
long run on Broadway.