Some Like It Hot is a light-hearted comic romp that mixes several different types of comedy into fantastically funny situations.

What makes something funny? To answer such a question is difficult… and attempts to come up with a response have been wide and varied throughout history. With as vast and diverse a population as humankind it is only right that different cultures have developed their own comic tastes and therefore created different sorts of comedy – physical comedy, satire, dark comedy, sarcasm, puns, parody, black comedy, cringe comedy, spoofs and general wit are to name just a few sub-genres that come under the comedy umbrella. Therefore it’s impossible to please everyone?

Wrong. Some Like It Hot (and perhaps early episodes of The Simpsons) takes almost every type of joke available and shoves it in a blender. The output being a comic cocktail that is perfect for everybody. I honestly believe that every person could watch this film and find something funny about it (even if they don’t enjoy it in its entirety). Most obvious in the film are the theatrical situational gags of men dressing up as women and Marilyn Monroe playing a dumb blonde; assisted by the satire and parody of rich people, large corporations, gangsters, alcoholism, sex, homosexuality and the music industry. And that’s all from the situation alone.

The dialogue in the film is fantastically worked with jokes consistently coming thick, fast and hilariously. With so many one-liners crammed in the film a second watch of the film reveals dozens of jokes you missed on the first viewing because you where laughing so hard. This prompts a third viewing in which you remember how funny the jokes you heard first time where and forget the jokes you noticed second time. Leading to vicious circle of re-watching that it is hard to get out of (I worked out that I’ve seen the film six – or maybe seven times – but three of those happened in the same week).

All of this is underpinned by fantastic performances by the cast particularly the three leads Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Monroe. Each of them comes across perfectly in well-formed comic characters. Particularly shown in the gruff contrast between Curtis’s masculine sax player ‘Joe’, feminine good listener ‘Josephine’ and self-created Cary Grant-esque millionaire ‘Shell-Oil Junior’.

Marilyn Monroe also performs the ‘dumb, beautiful blonde’ role with everything you’d expect. Sure the film had many production problems because of her inability to learn lines (59 takes to say ‘Where’s the bourbon?’ apparently) but that doesn’t matter if the performance is captured correctly and that it is.

 

As discussed on yesterdays review of Wilder’s more dramatic ‘The Apartment’ the main reason I decided to watch this film was in an attempt to decide my favourite film by Billy Wilder. And therefore which one could take its place on my unprestigious all Time Top 20 list. And the result is in. Whilst The Apartment is a thoroughly entertaining film I could watch anytime of the year, Some Like It Hot is just plain funnier and therefore gets the win. I know that this may seem unfair as the Apartment doesn’t try to be an out-and-out comedy its focus being  more dramatic… but Some Like It Hot is so perfectly funny it cannot be beaten.

‘Nobodies perfect’ the famous ending line of Some Like It Hot comes across even more ironic when I consider it a ‘perfect’ comedy. Seriously the film has jokes for everybody and is a true example of a must see film. But for those who don’t want to watch a black and white movie it’s also worth checking out the colour remake White Chicks (2004) by the esteemed Wayan’s brothers, that I hear is equally hilarious*.

10/10

*I take no responsibility for any person who takes these comments about White Chicks seriously and actually watches that dismal movie.