Stay Classy: Some Like it Hot

Maybe you’ve never heard of it. Maybe you’ve always wanted to see it. Or maybe you’re just tired of the new. Whatever your reason, the classics are always worth a nod. Every Friday in Stay Classy, we look some of the films that started it all and how they hold up today. So sit back while we reel through the past.

Photo: imdb.com

Was there really once a time when tap dancing women in full-piece, glittery bathing suits was considered naughty? Things sure have come a long way. Imagine what they'd have thought of a dirrty Christina or a slavish Britney.

What do most of us really know about Marilyn Monroe? She had short blonde hair, she wore a white dress over a wind vent, she sang Happy Birthday to a president and she starred in Some Like it Hot, and chances are, most of us haven't seen this 1959 classic.

Some Like it Hot isn't even about Monroe's character, it's about Daphne (Jack Lemmon) and Josephine (Tony Curtis). While hunting for gigs, struggling musicians Joe (Curtis) and Jerry (Lemmon) find only one and if doesn't seem like they fit the bill: the call for two women in an all-girl travelling band. Jerry suggests they dress in drag as Josephine and Geraldine but Joe won't have it. That is until one day when they witness a gang murdering and are caught on the scene. They manage to sneak away, instruments in tow, but need to devise a way to hide from the gang on their trail.

They decide to take the band gig as Josephine and Daphne, because Jerry doesn't like the name Geraldine anymore. So in their silk stockings and red lipstick, they hop on board the bus to Florida with the girls. That's where they meet Sugar Kane (Monroe) and in light of her playful and childish ways, Josephine and Daphne need some reminding that they're still disguised as women.

If it sounds familiar, that's because it is. After all, it's a classic, where better to turn for inspiration? One uncanny resemblance is Connie and Carla, where out title heroines witness a murder and dress as men dressing in drag and perform cabaret, without stepping on the toes of Some Like it Hot.

I'm not sure why this film is so often tagged as a Monroe film. She's plays more of a pawn in this film than a character of her own. She's there to tell the story of Joe and Jerry and as an actor, she isn't anything to rave about. To be blunt, we couldn't do without Sugar Kane but we could do without Monroe. It's Lemmon we need most. He's too brilliant at being a silly airhead. Curtis helps too but there's no humour in sanity. He's the grounder of the two, but still charming in his ways.

The characters and story are so quirky and fresh, more than 50 years later, that it's easy to get wrapped up in this film, dare I say, more so than some modern comedies. It's exciting and unpredictable, not to mention hilarious. Really, have you ever heard someone describe a woman's walk as "Jello on legs"? Lemmon, you've made a fan out me. When your grandparents talk about "the good old movies," these are the films they're talking about. And believe me, they're right.

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