Billy Wilder didn’t speak English when he first came to the United States, yet he went on to be one of the wittiest scriptwriters Hollywood had ever seen. He is remembered as the man behind famous film noir detective movies such as Sunset Blvd., but he was also the creator of the movie at the top of AFI’s “The 100 Funniest American Movies Of All Time” list.
That movie is Some Like It Hot
, a 1959 comedy starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. The film begins with two struggling musicians, Joe and Jerry (Curtis and Lemmon), who unfortunately witness the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. With the mob out to get them, they flee the city to survive. The comedy begins when in order to disguise themselves and get out of town they dress up as women, change their names to Josephine and Daphne, and join an all-female band headed to Florida. On the train to Florida, they meet Sugar (Monroe), band’s the singer. She’s a bit of a partier, a bit of a loner, and a bit of a wayward soul. They both instantly fall in love with her.
The hijinks ramps up once the band gets to Florida. Jerry/Daphne fights off the advances of an old and rich yacht owner while Joe dons yet another persona in order to win the affections of Sugar. When the gang they’re running from catches up with them, it’s all-out mayhem. There’s a laugh around every corner and unforgettably wonderful characters.
Many consider Some Like It Hot ahead of its time and if the preview reactions were anything to go by, it definitely was. However Wilder refused to make the changes the studio suggested based on the audience reactions and the film was a huge hit. He believed in it through and through, and now the film is considered a classic work of cinema. If you’ve never seen this truly magical gem of a movie, you’re missing out on one of the true classics.