During 1981, after the worldwide success of the French comedy La Cage aux Folles, United Artists re-released Some Like It Hot to theatres. In 2000, the American Film Institute listed Some Like It Hot as the greatest American comedy film of all time.
PlotTwo struggling musicians, Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon), witness what looks like the Saint Valentine's Day massacre of 1929. When the Chicago gangsters, led by 'Spats' Columbo (George Raft), see them, the duo flee for their lives. They escape and decide to leave town, taking a job that requires them to disguise themselves as women, playing in an all-girl musical band headed to Florida. Calling themselves Josephine and Geraldine (later Jerry changes his pseudonym to Daphne), they join the band and board a train. Joe and Jerry both become enamored of "Sugar Kane" (Marilyn Monroe), the band's vocalist and ukulele player, and struggle for her affection while maintaining their disguises.
In Florida, Joe woos Sugar by assuming a second disguise as a millionaire named "Junior", the heir to Shell Oil, while mimicking Cary Grant's voice. An actual millionaire, Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown), becomes enamored of Jerry in his Daphne guise. One night Osgood asks Daphne out to his yacht. Joe convinces Daphne to keep Osgood ashore while he goes on the yacht with Sugar. That night Osgood proposes to Daphne who, in a state of excitement, accepts, believing he can receive a large settlement from Osgood immediately following their wedding ceremony.
When the mobsters arrive at the same hotel for a conference honoring "Friends of Italian Opera", Spats and his gang see Joe and Jerry. After several humorous chases (and witnessing yet another mob murder, this time of Spats himself and his crew), Jerry, Joe, Sugar, and Osgood escape to the millionaire's yacht. Enroute, Joe reveals to Sugar his true identity and Sugar tells Joe that she's in love with him regardless. Joe tells her that he is not good enough for her, that she would be getting the "fuzzy end of the lollipop" yet again, but Sugar loves him anyway. Jerry, for his part, tries to explain to Osgood that he cannot marry him, but Osgood is oblivious to all of Jerry's objections and remains determined to go through with the marriage—he says that he already told his mother and that the wedding is on. Finally, becoming exasperated, Jerry removes his wig and yells, "I'm a man!", prompting Osgood to utter the film's memorable last line "Well, nobody's perfect."
- Marilyn Monroe as 'Sugar' Kane Kowalczyk
- Tony Curtis as Joe/"Josephine"/"Junior"
- Jack Lemmon as Jerry/"Geraldine"/"Daphne"
- George Raft as 'Spats' Colombo
- Pat O'Brien as Detective Mulligan
- Joe E. Brown as Osgood Fielding III
- Nehemiah Persoff as 'Little Bonaparte'
- Joan Shawlee as Sweet Sue
- Billy Gray as Sig Poliakoff
- George E. Stone as 'Toothpick' Charlie
- Dave Barry as Beinstock
- Mike Mazurki as Spats's henchman
- Harry Wilson as Spats's henchman
- Beverly Wills as Dolores
- Edward G. Robinson, Jr. as Johnny Paradise
ProductionThe film was planned originally to be filmed in color, but after several screen tests, it had to be changed to black and white because of a very obvious 'green tint' around the heavy make-up required by Curtis and Lemmon when portraying Josephine and Daphne. The Florida segment was filmed at the Hotel Del Coronado in Coronado, California.
Some Like It Hot received a "C" (Condemned) rating from the National Legion of Decency (formerly the Catholic Legion of Decency). The film, along with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and several other films, contributed to the end of the Production Code in the mid-1960s. It was released by United Artists without the MPAA logo in the credits or title sequence, since the film did not receive Production Code approval.
Tony Curtis is frequently quoted as saying that kissing Marilyn Monroe was like "kissing Hitler". During a 2001 interview with Leonard Maltin, Curtis stated that he never made this claim. In his 2008 autobiography, Curtis notes that he did make the statement to the film crew, but it was meant in a joking manner. During his appearance at the Jules Verne Festival in France (2008), Curtis revealed on the set of Laurent Ruquier's TV show that he and Monroe were lovers in the late 1940s when they were first struggling for recognition in films.
The film's title is a line in the nursery rhyme "Pease Porridge Hot". It also occurs as dialogue in the film when Joe, as "Junior", tells Sugar he prefers classical music over hot jazz. The film's working title was Not Tonight, Josephine.
Awards and honorsThe film was awarded an Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Black-and-White (Orry-Kelly) and was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Jack Lemmon), Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Ted Haworth, Edward G. Boyle), Best Cinematography, Black-and-White, Best Director and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
It won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture - Comedy. Marilyn Monroe won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in Musical or Comedy, and Jack Lemmon for Best Actor in Musical or Comedy.
The film has been acclaimed worldwide as one of the greatest films ever made. In 1989, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," going in on the first year of voting.
In 2000, readers of Total Film magazine voted it the eighth greatest comedy film of all time. In 2002, Channel 4 ranked Some Like It Hot as the fifth greatest film ever made in their 100 Greatest Films Poll.
American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies - #14
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs - #1
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Passions - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs:
- Runnin' Wild - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movie Quotes:
- "Well, nobody's perfect." - #48
- "Look at that! Look how she moves. That’s just like Jell-O on springs. She must have some sort of built-in motor. I tell you, it's a whole different sex!" - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - #22
- AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Gangster film
- "I'm Through With Love", by Gus Kahn, Matty Malneck, Jay Livingston. Performed by Marilyn Monroe.
- "I Wanna Be Loved By You", by Bert Kalmar, Herbert Stothart, Harry Ruby. Sung by Monroe.
- "Some Like It Hot", by Matty Malneck and I.A.L. Diamond. Performed by Monroe
- "Runnin' Wild", by A.H. Gibbs, Joe Grey, Leo Wood. Sung by Monroe.
- "Down Among the Sheltering Palms", by Olmar-Brockman.
- "Sugar Blues", by Williams-Fletcher.
- "By the Beautiful Sea", by Harry Carroll, Harold Atteridge.
- "Sweet Georgia Brown", by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard, Kenneth Casey.
- "La Cumparsita", written by Gerardo Matos Rodríguez.
- "Stairway to the Stars", music by Matt Malneck and Frank Signorelli.
- "Liebesträume" by Franz Liszt
AdaptationsAn unsold television pilot was filmed in by Mirisch Productions in 1961 featuring Vic Damone and Tina Louise. As a favour to the production company, Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis agreed to film cameo appearances, returning as their original characters, at the beginning of the pilot. Their appearance sees them in a hospital where Jerry (Lemmon) was being treated for his back tooth and Joe (Curtis) was the same blood type.
During 1972, a musical play based on the screenplay of the film, entitled Sugar, opened on Broadway, starring Elaine Joyce, Robert Morse, Tony Roberts and Cyril Ritchard, with book by Peter Stone, lyrics by Bob Merrill, and (all-new) music by Jule Styne. A 1991 production of this show in London featured Tommy Steele and retained the original title. In 2002, Tony Curtis performed in a stage production of the film. He portrayed the character originally played by Joe E. Brown.