003797Reviews & Counting
Some Like It Hot (SE)
DVD disk
08.07.2006 By: Jason Coleman
Some Like It Hot (SE) order
Billy Wilder

Marilyn Monroe
Tony Curtis
Jack Lemmon


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When a couple of out of work musicians accidentally witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, they find themselves on the lamb. In order to escape, the two head out of town as new members of a traveling jazz band - an all FEMALE jazz band. Comedy and a little Marilyn ensue.
It’s funny to think that in its heyday, Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT was considered very controversial. The taboo tale of men in drag, which some claimed promoted both homosexuality and transvestitism, was certainly ahead of it’s time and was one of the first films to dare to get laughs from its cross dressing leads. Of course by today’s standards a lot of the film seems rather tame and highly farcical; an unfortunate side effect of age. So one has to look to the film itself for the source of what holds the test of time and for SOME LIKE IT HOT, it’s the performances that stand out. The rest of the film, including the uneven nature of the script (meshing vicious gangster scenes with over the top comedic bits), the inclusion of sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, and anti-climactic ending, may have been fresh back in 1959, but now seem like a bit of a chaotic mess. Not to say the film isn’t funny, but there are times when it drifts from amusing to annoying.

As previously stated, the performances here are what make the film a true classic. The late, legendary actor’s actor Jack Lemmon manages to outshine even Monroe, showing that there was no limit to his genius. His work here is both real and inspired; just what makes a comedic performance great. Curtis is also in fine form when he dons the female garb, though loses some of his luster whenever he goes back to being a man. (That Cary Grant accent might have been a hoot back in the day, not anymore!) And though Monroe does serve well as the film’s eye candy, let’s just say that funny wasn’t exactly her strong suit. Even the small roles stand out; Joe E. Brown almost steals the show as Osgood Fielding III. (What a name!) I understand that my humble review will have little significance to those who adore this film – to them it’s a classic, with great stars, great laughs, and great fun. But for those first experiencing it, try to get past the rather vaudevillian feel of the picture – it’s the performances that give SOME LIKE IT HOT its eternal flame.
This Collector’s Edition (should be called Royal Edition!) is a wet dream for fans of the film, with a High Def remastering and a two disc set filled with so many extras (including a set of 4 postcards inside!) that your head will explode! (And not just from seeing Monroe in that voluptuous dress!)

Disc One:

Commentary (with Paul Diamond – son of co-writer I.A.L Diamond, Lowell Ganz & Babaloo Mandel with interview sounds from both Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon): With so much going on in this commentary, it could have easily been another too-many-in-the-room disaster tracks. Instead we get a very easy to follow and thoroughly interesting track with everything you ever wanted to know about the film. The creators of this one, who have edited in comments from both Curtis and Lemmon have really done one outstanding job. Curtis is candid as always, Lemmon is insightful and both come clean about working with Marilyn. (Need more stuff like that on today’s politically correct commentary tracks!) On the flip side, Diamond, along with screenwriting duo Ganz and Mandel are both insightful and funny, making watching the film with them a joy, not a pain. This one is good for both fans and non-fans alike, nice job!

Disc Two:

The Making Of Some Like It Hot (25:44): A thorough making of with most of the players involved, including late great Lemmon, Curtis and Wilder. (An impressive feat, considering most of the key players are no longer with us!) They all dish tons of dirt, from doing a film about guys in drag, to the exploits of Marilyn. (She had a problem saying the bourbon line and broke down!) Hell, this one even has on set footage, a real rare treat especially from a film that was made way back in 1959!

The Legacy Of Some Like It Hot (20:21): Again, more great original stuff, with talk about how the film was received back in the day. Loved hearing about the missing scene that Wilder cut out to make the film less racy! (Would have just been damn funny if you ask me!) Plus this one has a tour of the studio where it was conceived and shot by none other then…L.A. CONFIDENTIAL director Curtis Hanson, score!

Nostalgic Look Back Documentary (31:13): Despite the fact that the interview is being conducted by professional ass-kisser Leonard Maltin, this interview with Curtis is very cool. And even though we have heard some of it in the previous commentary and min-docs, it’s good to see.

Memories From The Sweet Sues Featurette (12:03): A look back at the film through the eyes of four actresses of the all-girl jazz band in the film. Some fun stories, if a bit fluffy, but a treat for fans. (Although that Betty the saxophone player is giving off some weird looks during the interviews!)

There is also an Original Pressbook Gallery, which features the many ads taken out for promotion of the film and a really cool Virtual Hall Of Memories, where you can go down a hall, stop on a picture of Monroe, Curtis, Lemmon, Director Wilder, or even behind the scenes and presto…it comes to life with images, super cool. Plus there’s an Original Theatrical Trailer, as well as Previews for THE PRINCESS BRIDE and WEST SIDE STORY.
Some things get better with age, while others don’t. In the case of SOME LIKE IT HOT, the over the top chaotic and jerky style of the film feels somewhat phony by today’s standards, but is saved by the still brilliant performances of actors like Lemmon and Curtis. Add to that an insightful commentary track and second disc filled with terrific extras and you’ve got a Collector’s DVD, hot or not, worth getting.
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