Friday, February 11, 2011

Capsule Review: Some Like It Hot (1959)

Often cited as one of the funniest films of all time, Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot seems to openly mock the conventions of the genre, playing early scenes featuring gangster 'Spats' Columbo (George Raft) totally straight. However, soon things turn ridiculous with musicians Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon) forced to dress in drag in order to join an all-girl musical band that is heading to Florida. It's less convoluted than that sounds. While plenty of laughs are wrung out of having the two actors walk around uncomfortably in drag - with Joe trying to court "Sugar Kane" (Marilyn Monroe) at the same time - Wilder has full control over the proceedings and dictates things with his usual skill. He's assisted ably by a great collection of actors - especially Lemmon who is totally giving his all - and a screenplay by I. A. L. Diamond (and Wilder) that totally goes for broke. Its edge has been dulled by decades of farces that go further and faster, but there's still plenty here to enjoy.

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