Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

My pick for this Valentine's Day movie -- the delightful Some Like It Hot (1959). Ranked Number 22 in the AFI's 100 Years.. 100 Movies list -- Some Like It Hot (1959) is a clever and sophisticated farcical comedy directed by Billy Wilder. Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond spent a year developing the script which was based on a 1951 German film, Fanfaren das Liebe.

Brilliant casting by Wilder -- the film stars Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and George Raft with a fantastic supporting cast including Pat O'Brien, and a delightful Joe E. Brown. The story of two jazz musicians (Curtis and Lemmon) who witness the St. Valentine's Day massacre and have to escape the threat of being killed from "Spats" Columbo (George Raft). They dress like women and join an all-girl's band. Here is where the fun begins. Joe E. Brown provides one of the most quoted closing lines from a film, "Nobody's Perfect" --Jack Lemmon gives one of his most brilliant comedic performances in the first of seven films he would make with Wilder. Tony Curtis has fun mimicking Cary Grant in one of three roles he has in the film and Marilyn Monroe demonstrates her natural comic timing and sexual allure. She is irresistible as Sugar Kane Kowalcyzki.

The National Catholic Legion of Decency found the film seriously offensive -- with subject matter that played with gender roles suggesting homosexuality. They failed to acknowledge that girls dressed as men and men dressed like women is a theatrical plot device that dates back centuries.

Orry-Kelly designed Miss Monroe's gowns. The film was awarded an Academy Award for Best Costume Design and received nominations for Best Actor (Lemmon), Best Director and Best Screenplay.

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