April 2, 1959 [Some Like It Hot]

Billy Wilder finally answers the question, How far will a man follow Marilyn Monroe? All the way out of his skin, it appears, as Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, ostensibly fleeing the aftermath of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, dress up like Uncle Milty and hightail it down to Florida with an all-girl band, Marilyn blowing little happy-pouty kisses all along the line.

Along the way, Joe E. Brown falls in love with Lemmon--or is it the other way around?--while Curtis falls for Monroe--or for himself, becoming Cary Grant with a yacht--the four of them at (ahem) cross-dress purposes, the whole process of satisfaction inverted and dismantled.

Listen: Joe E. Brown has the dough, and is easy to get along with; and Marilyn’s round bottom flicks in perfect Jackson Pollock curves, difficult but irresistible to follow, and she’s a real pal--and neither of them is averse to a little subterfuge--OK: a lot--in an affair of the heart (or wherever it’s located in a Wilder comedy); but I get the funny feeling the movie doesn’t really care who anybody is as much as what they want. We’re assured “nobody’s perfect”--which gives everybody all the leeway they need to don and doff whatever disguises gets them from one end of their desires to the other.


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